Monday, 9 November 2009

Triples and contradictions

Often in innovation and problem solving, it is necessary to consider two factors, in the context of a third. In Southbeach, this is called a 'triple'. It consists of two effects, anchored by a third factor. For example:

A produces useful B, but also harmful C
A produces useful B, but B goes onto produce harmful C
A is produced by useful B, and is also produced by harmful C

In TRIZ, some of these patterns are called 'contradictions', and the objective of problem solving is to break the contradiction. For example, how can we get useful output from a process, without producing harmful output at the same time? In Southbeach, due to the expanded semantics, wide range of effects, agent types and attibutes, triples take on a new significance. For example, the following situation could be modelled:

harmful process A is producing insufficiently a goal, at the same time, is being counteracted by a risk

Here are four common rules for matching situations like this. There are hundreds more possible to develop.


produces(&a=*, &b=useful) produces(&a, &c=harmful) "Find a way for {&a} to produce {&b} without producing {&c}"

produces(&b=useful, &a=*) produces(&c=harmful, &a) "Find a way to produce {&a} from {&b} alone, without requiring {&c}"

produces(&a=harmful, &b=harmful) produces(&b, &c=useful) "How can we complete {&b} so as to produce {&c} and avoid {&a}?"

produces(&a=*, &b=surplus) produces(&a, &c=insufficient) "If we avoided {&a} so as to produce less {&b} could we produce more {&c}?"

The output generated from the model fragments (using append mode in MyCreativity with 'laser' extent) is:

1. Find a way for [Burning fossil fuels] to produce [Cheap energy] without producing [Release of carbon dioxide]
2. How can we complete [Conversion to green energy resources] so as to produce [Sustainable energy policy] and avoid [Reliance on fossil fuels]?
3. Find a way to produce [Needed power] from [Green energy resources] alone, without requiring [Burning fossil fuels]
4. If we avoided [Reliance on burning fossil fuels] so as to produce less [Release of carbon dioxide] could we produce more [Green energy]?

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