TRVZ and TGS, what do they have in common in the theory of solving inventive tasks and the theory of limiting systems?
In this article, I want to tell how TOC (Theory of System Constraints) and TRVZ (Theory of Solving Inventive Tasks) are related or not.
If you are not familiar with TRVZ, then on Habre there is my article What is TRVZ?
There are fables in the Trizov community that TGS was developed on the basis of TRVZ. Some people even believe that the foundations of TVZ were “stolen” from TZH, while others, on the contrary, believe that the foundations of TVZ were taken from TRVZ.
Let me start by saying that both of these assumptions are completely wrong.
The fact is that TRVZ was developed to build a theory of invention and was developed as a scientific method and based on a scientific approach. Its basis was primarily the detection of patterns and templates of already known strong inventions. This is the main thing from which TRVZ started.
Below, I will review the basics of TOC and draw parallels between the tools of these methods
TGS – the theory of constraints of systems, was originally developed by Eliyahu Goldratt, for business and had nothing to do with technology.
Although the creator of TOS received a bachelor’s degree in physics, and then a doctorate, in the early eighties he worked for a company that produced software for automating production processes. His company constantly worked with customers who were engaged in production processes.
Goldratt noted that many of the companies’ clients are operating inefficiently. He set himself the task of finding out why this is happening.
The first thing he started with was the analysis of production cycles at the enterprise. And he came to the conclusion that any production can grow indefinitely if there are no restrictions or so-called “bottlenecks”.
Let’s say we have a juice company. And it can produce a hundred liters of juice per day. But at the same time, a juice box can produce or receive from somewhere only fifty. And lids for boxes, only twenty. Together, it is clear that in fact the enterprise will be able to produce only twenty liter boxes of juice. This is a limitation or “bottle neck”.
At TRVZ, we would call this a contradiction and denote it as – the company can produce one hundred liters of juice, but pack and prepare for sale, only twenty. And they would begin to solve it with the help of TRVZ tools.
In this, the similarity of the methods is to find a contradiction or limitation and begin to solve it.
Just like TRVZ, TGS works gradually. People who resort to this or that method, at the first stages, often do not understand where they are limitations or contradictions. TRVZ works on this problem systematically, restructuring thinking in such a way as to combat the effect of psychological inertia. This is how we learn to look for new answers to tasks that no one has yet applied.
But TGS also works a lot with thinking.
In his first book, The Purpose, published in 1984, Goldratt introduced the business concept of the mental process. He claimed that the management of the enterprise should think. And not just to carry out a plan or task using already proven methods. And it was a revolutionary breakthrough. Just think, before that no one said that management should think, and not just perform some function!
At TRVZ, we go towards finding strong solutions through certain algorithms, using well-tested tools. And we move from level to level, first solving the priority tasks that prevent the business from growing, and then we analyze further prospects.
And the TSC has a certain algorithm of actions:
Step 1: Find the constraint
Step 2: Decide how to make the most of the constraints
Step 3: Manage through constraints
Step 4: Expand the constraints
Step 5: Go back to step one
And each step uses its own tools, just as TRVZ uses its own tools at each level. This also makes both methods similar.
Goldratt’s first book was published in 1984, as was Altshuller’s first book published abroad in 1984. We can say that in the English language, two fundamental, offering new concepts, works appeared at the same time.
But no one compared them, because TGS was aimed at increasing the efficiency of production from a business point of view, and Altshuller’s work was aimed at improving the method of invention. Therefore, it is fundamentally wrong to say that someone “stole” something from someone.
But the methods have really very overlapping tools.
For example, causal conflict analysis is a method of identifying contradictions. This tool, developed by Valery Sushkov, appeared much later than Altshuller created TRVZ. At the time when TRVZ appeared directly for business. And the method of its operation in many respects copies the method of operation of the TOS tool – the Tree of Current Reality.
And although TSH is mostly not concerned with identifying contradictions, the essence of the Tree of Current Reality tool boils down to the fact that at its top it describes undesirable phenomena, and then with the help of cause-and-effect chains, it reveals the root cause of this phenomenon. This is very similar to how we find the root contradiction through TRVZ.
But the PSA method itself – cause-and-effect chains – is not Goldratt’s innovation. This method was developed and used more than sixty years ago in the American defense industry. Initially, it was used to analyze the causes of various conflicts.
There is another concept in TGS – Thunderstorm cloud, it defines the conflict. And if you look at the TRVZ diagrams describing the conflict, they will also be practically identical.
It is interesting that the concept of a Thunderstorm appeared in the TGS in the mid-nineties, and a diagram of this concept was made by a TGS specialist who at that time was interested in the TRVZ.
And the interpenetration of the two methods of TGS and TRVZ in the West, namely, in America, began precisely in the mid-nineties of the last century. At that time, TGS was already a recognized methodology, and interest in Altshuller’s method was just beginning.
Then the people of Triziv learned about TZH, the people of Tosov learned about TRIZ, and active interaction began: studying, publishing in magazines, and implementing TRIZ in TZH and vice versa, in companies and concerns.
But private business in Russia at that time was gaining momentum, scaling up and demanding new solutions to production and management tasks. And along with other methodologies for business, both methods – TRVZ and TGS came to our country. At the same time, TRVZ, one can say, “returned to the Motherland”, experiencing its next round of regeneration – business TRVZ was born.
Why do I think that TRVZ and TGS should, at least, complement each other?
The fact is that when any business, sale or release of any product is organized, all business processes are first prescribed and built in it. But the vast majority of problems almost always arise outside of these business processes. Therefore, companies that never set aside time to solve them.
This approach leads to the fact that problems remain unresolved, not only for years, but even for decades. And all measures to solve them are limited to short brainstorms.
Yes, this approach can solve most superficial tasks. But there are always 20 percent more difficult tasks, and usually a short analysis of the business TPVZ shows that it is precisely these difficult tasks that inhibit the growth of the entire business.
The point of intersection of TRVZ and TOS is that TRVZ always focuses on solving problems. And TZ focuses on the analysis of constraints. And these two approaches are very well combined with each other.
Most small problems do not require ingenuity. And they can be solved both with the help of TBS and with the help of any other methodology. But where the problems fall into the category of unsolvable, only business TRVZ helps. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that the method finds a solution to a non-standard problem, using non-standard methods.
And the company, implementing business TRVZ, first sets aside time for solving problems. The method allows a great contradiction when there are many problems, but there is no time to solve them.
By solving problems in a timely manner, employees are no longer overworked. This is a new philosophy – to use modern tools to work in such a way that there is a lot of time left for life. And not to work in such a way that you see nothing but work and constantly be in burnout mode.
Yes, it is impossible to change the entire philosophy of the company in a day. Most likely, with such a rapid implementation, the entire foundation of the business will collapse.
But by introducing a kind of “innovation islands” – a group of people trained in business TRVZ or in connection with it TGS, the company gives itself a chance for a new round. For a new, unbiased view of the market, which will inevitably lead to increased business profits.
Study TOS and business TRVZ, developing the right thinking!
About TRVZ in the article on Habra: What is TRVZ?
Business TRVZ Telegram channel: https://t.me/trizbiz
Thank you for your trust,