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Contradiction is a statement that has opposing or conflicting ideas in it. Genrich S. Altshuller developer of TRIZ (Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch) believed that all inventive problem solving starts with a contradiction i.e. in order to make something better, some other thing will get compromised. TRIZ identifies these contradictions and tries to solve for them.


An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Rahul Arora on 18th Nov 2022.


Applause for all the respondents - M V Ramana, Gulshan Kumar, Himanshu Sharma, Rahul Arora, Dheeraj Bhardwaj, Godwin Thomas.


Q 522. What are the different types of contradictions in TRIZ? Can a technical contradiction always be converted to a physical contradiction? Support your answers with examples.


Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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TRIZ is a Russian acronym for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. There are certain universal principles of creativity that form the basis for innovation. TRIZ identifies & codifies these principles & uses them to make the creative process more predictable. In simpler words, whatever problem than an individual or a team is solving, somebody, somewhere has already solved it. Thus inventive problem solving involves finding that solution & adapting it to the problem in hand.
There are two central concepts that form an integral part of TRIZ i.e. generalizing problems & solutions, and eliminating contradictions. The first concept can be explained as shown below:-
Here, a specific problem is taken & is generalized to one of the TRIZ general problems. From the TRIZ general problems, you identify the general TRIZ solution that is required, & then one considers how to apply the same to the specific problem. TRIZ is basically a collection of 40 principles & 76 standard solutions which can be leveraged to solve any kind of problem.
The other concept which talks about eliminating contradictions & it explains the fact that there are contradictions at the root of most of the problems, thus it is important to eliminate these contradictions in order to effectively solve the problem.
TRIZ has two main categories of contradictions i.e. Technical Contradictions & Physical Contradictions. Let us understand both of these categories:-
Technical Contradictions :
These are the classical engineering trade-offs, where you can’t reach the desired state because something else in the system prevents it i.e. when something gets better, something else automatically gets worse. Some of the examples can be:-
  • The product gets stronger, but the weight increases.
  • Service is customized to each customer, but the service delivery system gets complicated.
  • Training is comprehensive, but keeps employees away from their BAU.
The key technical contradictions are summarized in the TRIZ Contradiction Matrix which is a matrix that is organized in the form of 39 improving parameters & 39 worsening parameters with each cell entry giving the most used inventive principles that may be used to eliminate the contradiction. The contradiction matrix is leveraged using a four step process:-
  • Use the 39 parameters to identify the critical features in the problem.
  • Identify the contradictions between the parameters where one causes problems with other.
  • identify the principles that can be used to resolve the contradictions.
  • Use the numbers from the matrix to look up the resolution principles & use these principles to find solutions to the problem.
Below is an excerpt of the contradiction matrix:-
Physical Contradictions :
These are the situations in which an object or system suffers contradictory, opposite requirements. Some of the examples are:-
  • Software should be complex i.e. have many features, but simple i.e. easy to learn.
  • Coffee should be hot to be enjoyed, but also cool so as to avoid burning the tongue of the drinker.
  • An umbrella should be large to keep the rain off, but small so as to be easily moved in the crowd.
Physical contradictions are solved with the TRIZ Separation Principles, these separation principles are as explained below:-
  • Separation in Time : Changing the property, response or behavior vs time. Here the concept is to separate the opposite requirements in time. Here one can try to schedule the system operation in such a way that requirements, functions that contradict each other take effect at different times. One classical example can be traffic lights that are used to sequence the flow of traffic at different points of time.
  • Separation in Space : Changing the property, response or behavior based on special location. Here the objective is to separate requirements in space. Here try to partition the system into sub-systems & then assign each contradictory function or condition to a different sub-system. One common example is bifocal lenses for eyes where you have sections for far vision & near vision at separate locations within the same lens.
  • Separation between Part & Whole : Changing the property so as to make it different in the sub-system/system/super-system. Here the concept is to separate the opposite requirements within a whole object or its parts. Here we try to partition the system & assign one of the contradictory functions to a sub-system or several sub-systems. One common example can be a bicycle chain which has rigid links but is flexible at the system level.
  • Separation between Conditions : Changing the property, response or behavior on condition. Here the concept of separating opposing requirements of a condition can resolve contradictions in which a helpful process takes place when special conditions exist. Consider changing the system or the environment so that only the helpful process can take place. One common example can be Ice Skates where ice which is initially solid but when ice skating, the ice below the skates melts for a fraction of a second, therefor enabling the skaters to slide.
When deciding which separation principle to use, 40 inventive principles can be used as guidelines to implement solution. Below is an excerpt of some of these inventive principles:-
An interesting thing to note that can never be a situation when you have a physical or a technical contradictions only. Both are two different but interrelated views of the same problem & thus can’t exist separately. Below visual will help us to understand the above statement.
Let us now see this conversion through an example:-
Let us first define the negative effect of a problem for eg: Long travel time, the cause for this problem is that the car stops at a traffic light, the positive effect of this problem is that it will avoid collision with other cars. Thus the technical contradiction in this will be "Long travel time vs Avoiding collision with other cars”. Thus in this case we have specified both technical contradiction & one side of the physical contradiction (i.e. the cause).
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Genrich Altschuller, a Russian engineer in 1980’s defined this method of analysis for the TRIZ contradictions. During his research and analysis he noticed that similar problems were solved by many patents. Over years of his analysis he came across 2.0 Lac patents and noticed that most solutions could be classified into 40 categories and he noted that all the inventions were made to solve the contradictions.






TRIZ - Contradictions

TRIZ as being sources of contradiction there are 39 domains which are defined in it. Most of the inventions are about solving contradictions.

Please refer to the below example for contradictions occur between two items.


To make a car accelerate faster require a bigger capacity of engine, while proceeding for the bigger capacity weight is involved and this weight of the engine will reduces the performance of the car. What is required is power and what is not required is the weight this is where the contradiction between power and weight.
Introducing the TRIZ to the organisation following challenges may come



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In recent times, it is very much apparent that corporations who seek innovative solutions to engineering problems are capable of maintaining a competitive edge in the global market. The techniques of optimizing and perfecting existing products have now been applied widely and thus are used to occupy leading position by brands and companies and therefore are not unique to a single firm/brand/product/company to create and capture new markets. Innovations and inventions in existing products as well as new products, that too quickly and with fewer resources with immaculate precision, will help in maintaining a competitive edge in an era of downsizing.

TRIZ is a Russian acronym meaning "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving".Genrich Altshuller, the founder of TRIZ theory propounded in 1946 , was a patent reviewer at the Russian naval Patent Office. He began a study of 200,000 patents to look for the basic principles and patterns in the most innovative patents of the world. He found that most of the inventive patents primarily solved an inventive problem. Moreover, Altshuller researched and coined that:

·        Problems and solutions repeat themselves across industries .

·        Patterns of technical evolution repeat themselves across industries .

·        Innovations used scientific effects beyond the field where they were initially  developed.


In the 1970s, Altshuller categorized the solutions into five levels :

·        Level one. Routine design problems solved by methods known well within the domain specialization. No invention needed.

·        Level two. Minor improvements done to an existing system, by methods known within the industry through domain specialization.

·        Level three. Fundamental improvement to an existing system, by methods known outside the industry. Contradictions resolved.

·        Level four. New generation that uses new principles for performing the primary functions of the system. Solution found greater in science than technology.

·        Level five. A rare scientific discovery or pathbreaking invention of essentially a new system.


TRIZ, also known as the theory of inventive problem solving, is a technique that encourages invention for project teams which have become stuck while trying to solve business challenges. It provides data on similar past projects that can help teams find a new path forward and the ultimate solution needed.  Fey and Rivin (2005) described TRIZ as a methodology for the effective development of new technical systems, in addition to it being a set of principles that describe how technologies and systems evolve. TRIZ was developed initially for technology-related problems. However, it has seen multiferous applications in various other fields.




How Triz Helps 

Next generation product and new customer requirements. Some products need to be modified to suit the availability of new raw materials & new types of processing equipment’s. Chronic engineering problems need to be solved without recurrence.

Main tools and techniques in TRIZ

40 inventive principles—conceptual solutions to technical and physical contraventions.

76 Standard solutions—solving system problems without the need of identifying contraventions

List of the 39 Features

1. Weight of moving object
2. Weight of stationary object
3. Length of moving object
4. Length of stationary object
5. Area of moving object
6. Area of stationary object
7. Volume of moving object
8. Volume of stationary object
9. Speed
10. Force
11. Stress or pressure
12. Shape
13. Stability of the object's composition
14. Strength
15. Time period of action by moving object
16. Time period of action by stationary object
17. Temperature
18. Illumination intensity 
19. Use of energy by moving object
20. Use of energy by stationary object
21. Power 
22. Loss of Energy
23. Loss of substance
24. Loss of Information
25. Loss of Time
26. Quantity of substance/the matter
27. Reliability
28. Measurement accuracy
29. Manufacturing precision
30. External harm affects the object
31. Object-generated harmful factors
32. Ease of manufacture
33. Ease of operation
34. Ease of repair
35. Adaptability or versatility
36. Device complexity
37. Difficulty of detecting and measuring
38. Extent of automation
39. Productivity 

List of the 40 Principles

Principle 1. Segmentation
Principle 2. Taking out
Principle 3. Local quality
Principle 4. Asymmetry
Principle 5. Merging
Principle 6. Universality
Principle 7. "Nested doll"
Principle 8. Anti-weight
Principle 9. Preliminary anti-action
Principle 10. Preliminary action
Principle 11. Beforehand cushioning
Principle 12. Equipotentiality
Principle 13. 'The other way round
Principle 14. Spheroidality - Curvature
Principle 15. Dynamics
Principle 16. Partial or excessive actions
Principle 17. Another dimension
Principle 18. Mechanical vibration
Principle 19. Periodic action
Principle 20. Continuity of useful action
Principle 21. Skipping
Principle 22. "Blessing in disguise" or "Turn Lemons into Lemonade"
Principle 23. Feedback
Principle 24. 'Intermediary'
Principle 25. Self-service
Principle 26. Copying
Principle 27. Cheap short living objects
Principle 28. Mechanics substitution
Principle 29. Pneumatics and hydraulics
Principle 30. Flexible shells and thin films
Principle 31. Porous materials
Principle 32. Color changes
Principle 33. Homogeneity
Principle 34. Discarding and recovering
Principle 35. Parameter changes
Principle 36. Phase transitions
Principle 37. Thermal expansion
Principle 38. Strong oxidants
Principle 39. Inert atmosphere
Principle 40. Composite materials
The Benefits of TRIZ

TRIZ Allows Project Teams to Globalize an Issue, find solutions based upon Examples Of How People Have Solved Similar Challenges.
TRIZ Translates Problems from the Specific To The Generic-downward percolation in a top to bottom approach.
Achieve Significant Cost Reductions 
Solve Current Technical Problems 
Produce Breakthrough New Products 
Produce Intellectual Property 
Forecast Technological Development.


Su-Field Analysis ("two Substances and one Field") -is used whenever a new function is introduced or modified and inventive "standard solutions" are available to find an analogous solution. 

ARIZ -Algorithm for Inventive Problem Solving is used when systems mature and become complex thereby making it difficult to modify or improve them in an incremental manner


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     TRIZ is an acronym for “Teoriya resheniya izobretelskikh zadatch” which means “Theory of Inventive problem Solving”.

        Genrich Altshuller with his colleagues invented TRIZ. Altshuller began to work in TRIZ in 1946 and first paper on TRIZ published in 1956. TRIZ started in Soviet Union and after 1980 concept caught up in other countries. Triz resulted in 1000 of invention and gave birth to various inventions. Triz provides 40 principles and 76 standards which empower you to match a solution suited to your problem.

Different Type of Contradictions in TRIZ

. TRIZ identifies contradictions as the primary issue related to a problem and eliminate them to develop a solution. Three types of contradictions exist in TRIZ:

1-    Administrative Contradictions: Administrative contradiction means something is required to improve the situation but solution is unknown. For example we want to increase quality of production but want to reduce raw material cost price. These situations create opportunity for inventive situation.


2-    Technical Contradiction: means two evaluation parameter are in conflicts with each other. Technical contradictions represent conflict between two subsystems or between a sub system and external environment. For Example: a washing machine motor version 1 fails in temperature rise test. Version 2 motor after improvement pass in temperature rise test but fails in noise test. So here is technical contradiction between motor temperature and noise parameter.


3-    Physical Contradiction: A system or an object might have requirements that are dissimilar, resulting in physical contradictions. For example in motor example, to avoid temperature and noise problem, we require to increase motor size but increasing motor size is not suitable for washing machine. So this becomes physical contradiction. To overcome physical contradiction you have to think for technical innovation means how to achieve temperature and noise specification of motor without increase in motor size. In this example we understood by changing motor size we can convert technical contradiction into physical contradiction.


Another Example: Design a cupboard to store many items but should not take too much space.


So it is easy to design cup board to store many items but contradiction is size which is physical contradiction. So you need to think technical solution to optimize size as either detachable or can be folded to reduce space. So it converts into technical contradiction. In this example we changed physical contradiction into technical contradiction.


From above examples we understood that there can never be situation when you have a physical or a technical contradiction only. Both are different but interrelated. So, Technical contradiction can be converted into physical contradiction.

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A method of contradiction solving in TRIZ means to solve a technical or Physical contradiction using the concepts, tools, and techniques of TRIZ to find its solutions.


Example- Landing gear must be present on an airplane in order to land and takeoff. it should not be present during flight because of an increase in air dag, the physical contradiction is that the landing gear must be both present and absent,


There are Three type of contradiction in TRIZ.


1. Administrative contradiction which describes a desire to improve a characterstics of a system without having an emerging direction of resolution.


2. Technical Contradiction which describes the state of a system where there is an action having a useful effect but causing simultanesously an undesirable effect.


3. Physical contradiction address the part of the technical contradiction centered on that parameter that must have at the same time two opposites values.


Yes, when two parameters are functions of the same parameter, a technical contradiction can be converted to a physical contradiction.

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There are three levels of contradiction in TRIZ. They are a) Administrative contradiction b) Technical contradiction c) Physical contradiction


a) Administrative contradiction: We realize there is a need for a change, but the know-how on how to do it is unknown. Such contradictions are administrative contradiction. An example is, I want to reduce the fuel consumption, but don’t know how to do it. This constraint defines the problem at a very superficial level and does not give any meaningful direction towards a solution. As such, unless this constraint is converted to a technical or physical constraint, it does not yield any value.


b) Technical contradiction: A technical contradiction is governed by if-then rule. If I do this, then something good happens, but something bad happens too. If I increase the processing power of my computer, then the speed of response improves, but the system becomes bulky.


c) Physical contradiction: In this contradiction, the physical requirements are opposing each other. For example, to accommodate more things, the table should be large and to accommodate less space, the table should be small. Here the two physical requirements, (ie)., large and small that are opposing each other, are spelt as requirement for the same entity (ie)., table.

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