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Monday, February 14, 2011

Why real Innovators Suffer?

Sometimes back in response to a news item about Alan Turing HERE I wrote following post at a social networking site on Ning - this is a TRIZ India site.

Alan Turing suffered because he was homosexual - Altshuller was put in gulag because >>>>?? - why Stalin put him in jail

May be some people can answer? I am not very convinced that because he discovered patterns in patents that he was put in gulag.

May be a higher question - from Socrates, Galileo, Gandhi Turing, Altshuller - anyone who comes with a change - and influential change suffers at the hands of people who win in the status-quo, they are typically very powerful - powerful enough to create large roadblocks - Innovators have to have social resolve to ride the powerful waves -

How TRIZ thinking can potentially address this?

To my post Valeri Souchkov replied

According to a popular myth Altshuller was imprisoned and sent to GULAG by Stalin because of creating TRIZ or discovering the patterns of inventions. It is not true.

Here is my translation of several fragments from Leonid Filkovsky's article "Life of Altshuller" (originally published in Russian - http://www.metodolog.ru/00058/00058.html ):

"Soon after the Second World War, the USSR government agreed to give away the German patent library in exchange for the German equipment for metal processing and printing. Altshuller was against this decision and criticized it. He said that all this equipment would become outdated twenty years later but all the patents would only start being useful. He wrote a letter about it to Stalin and distributed nineteen copies of the letter two different organizations such as central Communist Party Committee, Youth Committee, newspapers and so on. But he never got a response. Instead he was arrested since he was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda. ...

The official accusation consisted of five articles. ... The first article was about selling the government secrets abroad. It was based on the invention by Altshuller and Shapiro to use airplane tires for storing oxygen. ...

The second article accused Altshuller and Shapiro of preparing an attempt to cross the Soviet border underwater through Caspian sea. This article was based on the invention of Altshuller and Shapiro for obtaining oxygen from seawater. Another invention of Altshuller and Shapiro was a protective suit for fire extinguishing. The KGB officers brought these two inventions together an accused Altshuller and Shapiro that they invented a new suit for crossing the sea underwater. The fact that oxygen was only enough for fifteen minutes was not taken into account. ...

The third article was regarding anti-Soviet propaganda. An impostor carefully recorded on paper his talks with Altshuller and Shapiro and KGB made conclusion that they were very dangerous people for the Soviet government. ...

The article number four accused Altshuller of establishing an anti-Soviet organization. Three persons would be enough to create such organization because it could be very small in the beginning and then it could grow and finally destroy the government. ....

Article number five addressed illegal storage of weapons. This was the only correct article and Altshuller recognized himself guilty. When Altshuller was studying at a flight school one of his friends who later died during the flight gave him the gun as a gift.
"

Thus as everyone can see, Altshuller's imprisonment had nothing to do with TRIZ but mainly for critisizing the Soviet system which at the time was enough to be imprisoned.

{***** My reply to Valeri ******} and I thought it will be good to post on my blog as well!

Hi Valeri

This is great - really great information about Altshuller. There is lot of loss in history as we can see - people who write history - write as per what they perceive.

I request your permission to use this information and the reference material in my presentations on TRIZ. People somehow didnt believe that mere letter explaining patters in patents will lead to imprisonment. I wanted to know more relevant info.

Thanks for this - I owe you a bottle of wine - when we meet next :)

I presume people who cant read or write russian (which includes me) would love this piece of history in the life of Altshuller!

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