TRIZ-Box in Design Education - A Study on Supporting Creativity
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Albers, Albert; Lohmeyer, Quentin; Schmalenbach, Hannes
Section: Creativity in Design Education
Creativity is an essential part of innovative product development and the origin of successful products. Several methods support activities in developing innovative products, one of them is TRIZ. A central principle of creativity methods is to depart from the identified problem by means of abstraction. In TRIZ the problem is formulated by an abstract contradiction. Using the matrix of contradictions, general solution principles that may resolve the contradiction are represented within Altschuller’s forty inventive principles. Based on these principles, the designer shall be inspired and enabled to create ideas for specific solutions addressing the original problem. The method used in this paper bases on conventional TRIZ. It is called TRIZ-Box. It systematically supports the step of concretizing the abstract solution principle to a specific technical solution. Its key concept is to connect the inventive principles of TRIZ and artifacts that represent those specific principles in a functional, technical or physical way. Integration of these artifacts into creativ group work adds to auditory and visual reception and other sensory ways for giving impulses to the designer resulting in more excited associations and analogies. The realization of the TRIZ-Box follows a two-fold approach comprising a virtual and a physical collection of artifacts. The virtual collection is used for the retrieval of appropriate artifacts. This is enabled by a web-based information system. This system allows users to easily share, store, retrieve and access information about available artifacts. Having chosen artifacts that seem to be appropriate to solve the problem in the virtual TRIZ-Box, the user accesses the physical artifacts and deploys them as the method proposes, e.g. in brainstorming sessions. The physical TRIZ-Box contains artifacts, like metal foam, sandwich structures, shape-memory alloy and technical toys. The study presented in this paper considers the utilization of the TRIZ-Box within three half-day tutorial sessions of an educational product development project. In each session the students are first taught the theory of TRIZ and the way the TRIZ-Box is to be used. In a second step they apply the method to find new solutions to a given product development problem. In a last step the students had to evaluate their generated solutions and present them to their fellow students. The study focuses on the research of supporting creativity. For that purpose the 42 participant students have been asked about the quality (novelty, feasibility) and the quantity of their solutions. Furthermore the results of the study give information about the practicability of TRIZ-Box in education and evaluate the benefit-to-effort ratio of the method.