I have worked with both the cynefin framework [Dave Snowden – Cognitive Edge] and Oxford TRIZ [Karen Gadd of Oxford Creativity has spent years making TRIZ more understandable and teachable, hence my use of ‘Oxford TRIZ’] for more than 12 years and have become intrigued as to why complexity work does not embrace TRIZ and visa versa.
For this first post I have summarised six ways in which I believe Oxford TRIZ might be the missing ‘x-factor’ when working with complex systems that makes it easier to generate oblique probes, feedback loops and amplify and dampen, by way of more stories like this and fewer like that.
– In a complex situation we need to generate multiple diverse and oblique interventions/probes. The TRIZ 40 principles are perfect for this.
– the whole Oxford TRIZ emphasis on ‘concepts’ is the ultimate example of exaptation. Altshuller, the father of TRIZ, discovered previously unrecognised patterns in the body of registered patents. How to take an idea from one scientific discipline/business domain and exapt conceptually similar solutions for use in another.
– interventions that are “safe to fail”. The Oxford TRIZ Standard Solutions were purposefully derived to reduce costs and harms.
– TRIZ 9 box thinking triggers ideas at different scales within the system and before, during and after activity. This ensures a more diverse, divergent, less constrained portfolio of experiments.
– The Oxford TRIZ evolutionary trends which include S-curves can help ‘guide’ new and exciting cynefin dynamics/paths through the landscape.
– Finally, the Oxford TRIZ Standard Solutions include measurements which can help greatly in building feedback loops for each of the multiple ‘safe to fail’ experiments.
TRIZ may have its origins in the search for an algorithmic systematic approach to engineering problems in the cynefin ‘Complicated Domain’, but inadvertantly and beneficially its use of concepts, principles, metaphors and the more recent Oxford TRIZ use of cartoons has made it a perfect sherpa guide for expeditions into more complex ecosystems.
Next post will look at this ‘the other way round’, TRIZ principle 13, why cynefin and PNI are needed in TRIZ.