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Monday, April 28, 2008

The Elegant Solution, Lean and TRIZ

/* initial thoughts on this work I will post here - may be it will become a paper to be published later */
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The Elegant Solution and TRIZ
Has the wine changed or only the bottle is new?

The number of books on Innovation has shown exponential increase in the first decade of new millennium. It is indeed a phenomenon unprecedented and shows how much Innovation has come to the center-stage of the world. There have been one and sundry writers washing their hands in the flowing river (an old Indian saying) of Innovation. One book however, brings to fore the formula of Innovation followed by the automotive giant, Toyota Motors. It is called The Elegant Solution by Mathew May. This book actually opens up to the world hitherto unknown aspects of Toyota Motors, which is known more because of TPS and to some extent the Toyota product development process. We look at the main features of the elegant solution and contrast it with TRIZ to see whether they have synergies with each other. Our initial hypothesis is that there is a substantial overlap.

The Elegant Solution

Sakichi Toyoda’s three principles for innovation are Ingenuity in craft, pursuit of perfection, and fitment with society. Business innovation is about satisfaction and value, not new gadgetry. Elegance as defined by May is “simplicity found on the other side of complexity”. May quotes definition of innovation as defined by JetBlue CEO, “Innovation is trying to figure out a way to do something better than it’s ever been done before”. Innovation is solving the problem of how to do something better than ever. How close TRIZ comes to this definition. It is indeed about solving problems!

Ten practices

Learning and Innovation go hand in hand
Making learning the job
Learning comes first – Learnership
How to think
True understanding of the process (The Ohno Circle)
Think deeply – think for yourself
Learnership – (1) questioning (2) solving (3) experimenting (4) reflection - the so called PDSA (Plan Do Study Act) – PDCA – OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act), Scan-Analyze-Respond-Assess (SARA)
Learn to see
Design for today
Think in pictures
Capture the intangible
Leverage the limits
Master the tension
Run the numbers
Make Kaizen Mandatory
Keep it Lean
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