22 February 2011

Trimming Tool

Genrich Altschuller's Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (aka TRIZ - pronounced trees) is a brilliant framework that designers and engineers should all be familiar with.

One of the many tools included in the TRIZ methodology is an approach called trimming. Basically it involves arbitrarily removing one element from a design, then trying to make the system perform all the necessary functions without that piece.

I put together this little flowchart to help explain how Trimming works. To quote John Hodgeman, you're welcome.


Ellen Domb said...

You are being "Tweeted" by TRIZ experts! One minor tweak to your flow chart is that sometimes you can make a very minor tweak to one of the parts, to have the system work with the trimmed part out of the system, but that's outside the spirit of simplicity of your chart. Thanks for the elegance of your posting!

The Dan Ward said...

Thanks for the heads up! Glad you like the diagram.

And thanks too for the observation that sometimes the system-minus-one-part just needs a little tweaking to make it work, rather than automatically replacing the part. I'll have to redo the diagram and post it again sometime (for now, I'll let readers check out the comments section to learn that nugget).

Jose Miguel said...

Nice and simple model. Congrats. Maybe you can see it as if the singer in the middle of the party left off. Is there anyone else in the party who can entertain us ? yes? then let's try. NO by any mean? then lets move to another party.

The Dan Ward said...

@Jose - Thanks! And nice example... I hadn't thought about it in those terms but that's a great metaphor.