Design Contradiction As A New Educational Tool

21st-century pedagogy has been integrated into higher education institutions, particularly engineering education. 

The focus of this new setting is to design a student-centered and technology-supported pedagogy to foster innovative teaching and learning that can improve students’ hard and soft skills, which are the key to students’ readiness in their future workplace. 

In this respect, a problem-solving based approach was introduced in the engineering program aimed at creating an industry ecosystem during the students ‘course of study. 

This initiative inspired students’ innovative and creative thinking to produce graduates expected to have high competency in applying the content knowledge to real-world problems (hard skills) and strong communication skills, information technology skills, numeric skills, problem-solving skills, and teamwork (soft skills). 

What are the Inventive Principles of TRIZ?

TRIZ is the Russian abbreviation for “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving,” a worldwide method of creativity established by engineer and scientist Genrich S. Altshuller and his colleagues in the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1985.

Universal principles of creativity, according to TRIZ, are the foundation of invention. These concepts are identified and coded by TRIZ, and they are used to make the creative process more predictable.

To put it simply, whatever problem you’re dealing with has most likely previously been addressed by someone someplace. Finding that answer and applying it to your challenge is what creative problem solving entails.

Product development, design engineering, and process management are all areas where TRIZ comes in handy. TRIZ is frequently used in Six Sigma quality improvement methods, for example.

Key tools of TRIZ

Here are the main two tools of the TRIZ principles:

1. Eliminating contradiction

An important TRIZ principle is that most issues are rooted in fundamental contradictions. Therefore, in many circumstances, eliminating these inconsistencies is a reliable method to address a problem.

TRIZ distinguishes between two types of inconsistencies:

  • Technical inconsistencies: These are classic engineering “trade-offs,” in which you can’t attain the desired state because something else in the system is preventing you from doing so. In other words, while something improves, something else deteriorates.
  • Physical inconsistencies: These are circumstances in which an object or system is subjected to opposing, conflicting needs.

2. Generalising problems and solutions

The following are the main discoveries of TRIZ research:

  • The same problems and answers may be found in various sectors and sciences. You may forecast innovative solutions to a trial by describing it as a “contradiction”.
  • Technical evolution patterns tend to replicate themselves across sectors and disciplines.
  • Outside of the discipline where they were produced, creative inventions frequently incorporate scientific effects.

Learning these repeated patterns of issues and solutions, comprehending the contradictions existing in a situation, and discovering new methods of employing scientific effects are all part of the TRIZ process.

You then apply the generic TRIZ patterns to the unique scenario you’re dealing with and develop a generalised solution.

Benefits of TRIZ

TRIZ is most effective when other Six Sigma tools have failed to complete the assignment. It gives another approach to identify solutions throughout the DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) or DMADV (design, measure, analyse, design, verify) phases of the Six Sigma process.

Project teams can use TRIZ to globalise an issue and look for how others have overcome similar problems. 

Teams will likely not need to design their solution because one has already been developed. Knowing the many combinations of the 40 categories that may apply to a given situation, on the other hand, can help you come up with new solutions.

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How is this principle helping students?

The Inventive Principles of TRIZ was developed to help students generate innovative concepts for product development in the design process. 

Inventive Principles of TRIZ has been widely applied to conceptualise the initial design phase of a new product. Engineers are trained to solve complex problems using systematic methods such as TRIZ to improve productivity

In addition to that, they are also trained to be aware of the possible solutions to particular sets of problems that can enhance innovation in product design. 

The Inventive Principles of TRIZ is a powerful method in problem-solving because it can provide various tools such as Engineering Contradiction and Physical Contradiction. The role of contradiction is aimed at enhancing innovation for product design. 

The core concept of contradiction is about a situation in which conflict could happen to improve a system’s parameter leading to the worsening of another.

Although contradiction is a powerful tool in problem-solving, the use of Engineering Contradiction or Physical Contradiction alone cannot help develop novel ideas for new products. 

However, the contradiction matrix must be used to find the worsening and improvement parameter that forms from the contradiction statement to derive the related Inventive Principles. 

Therefore, the first step to start in a contradiction matrix is to transform the worsening and improvement parameters into a typical one by referring to the 39 system parameters. 

Then, the recommended Inventive Principles from the contradiction matrix are identified. These Inventive Principles are the general recommendations. Then, the engineers had to interpret it into specific technical ideas to solve the original problem. 

Basically, various types of systematic problem-solving methods have been proposed to increase creativity in product design. Based on the Inventive Principles of TRIZ, some novel design ideas can be generated by using Engineering contradiction and Physical contradiction analysis into product research and development. 

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Final remarks

TRIZ as a 21st-century pedagogy can be promoted as a project-based and active learning activity to increase an individual’s involvement in real-world problems to inspire one mentality and improve their competency. In addition, it also helps to develop one’s creative design thinking skills. 

Get exposed to this world class teaching technique at UOW Malaysia KDU’s Engineering Programmes that are taught by professionals who strive to create students who are both smart and innovative. Get more information on the various engineering courses we have by dropping your enquiries here!


31 January 2022


Science and Technology