Si El or TRIZ?
For certain you had it: having seen some novelty, you involuntarily thought: “It is necessary as it is simple and as it is convenient! And why nobody guessed to make so earlier?“
Goods of this kind are called Si El (from expression of Simple Element). This special type of improvement which has the following features:
1) the problem which it solved existed long ago, but long time remained unnoticed;
2) technical capabilities for realization of this improvement existed too long ago;
3) this improvement was realized by addition to already existing goods of some rather cheap and simple element;
4) this simple element had another (in comparison with initial goods) a functional purpose;
5) a design of initial goods changed slightly;
6) a way of use of goods changed significantly, having become obviously simpler and convenient;
7) goods of Si El become not just successful, they occupy the possible market for very long time.
Still as the most known way of improvement of these or those products it was considered to be TRIZ - the theory of the solution of inventive tasks. Therefore it is interesting to compare what it is better - Si El or TRIZ?
If to compare the list from 20 most successful goods of the last 10-20 years to the list of 20 novelties which were awarded gold medals at exhibitions of inventions for the last 10-20 years too then it is possible to notice the following.
It was more difficult to remember the goods awarded gold medals, than just successful goods. By the way, it is an occasion to reflect. Really, if some development was initially so good that very competent people awarded it with a gold medal, then why most of ordinary people still knows nothing about it?
Let`s compare these two lists: what of the goods transferred in them were created by addition to usual, long ago to the known product of some simple element (that is by the Si El method) and what were created with use of TRIZ.
I compared and found out that many goods from the second list did not become rather successful, and the market did not accept some of them at all. For example, in Soviet period at an exhibition of inventions in Bulgaria of a gold medal the development allowing trolleybuses to overtake each other during the movement was awarded. No doubt, really beautiful decision. But … the consumer for some reason did not master it. Respectively, it did not make any profit for the creators.
Criteria of TRIZ and Si El are directly opposite.
Let`s sort it on the example of a usual teapot for water boiling.
Aerobatics in TRIZ is a beautiful invention when “boiled water is, and there is no teapot -“. Aerobatics in Si El is with the minimum expenses to receive a product which for very long term will take very large market. And at the same time it is not important at all, how “beautifully“ the product looks what “level“ the invention, etc.
Si El is most often to primitiveness simple decisions. From the point of view of TRIZ, it is “not inventive“ options or “simple“ inventions of the first or second level (all levels five). Trizovtsam not prestigiously to be engaged in such “trifles“.
From the point of view of Si El, simplicity of a novelty is not its shortcoming at all. Here it is not considered that it is easier to create simple goods. All know that it is the most difficult to see what lies at all before eyes. And the fact that very many novelties of Si El were created with “delay“ in tens, and even hundreds of years, - the best for that confirmation.
For example, the teapot for boiling of water is known already thousands of years. But only in 1921 the thought came to Joseph Blok (who already retired by this time) to mind to supply a teapot with a whistle. Let`s remind that the whistle is known too from time immemorial.
The market success a miracle - teapots was stunning: the first party was sold out not just in one day. It was sold out till a lunch. The pensioner Joseph Blok returned to business and sold 35 000 whistling water heaters monthly.
And now, nearly hundred years later, whistling kettles are in demand worldwide. The few modern goods possess such big life cycle. One woman wrote: “How many teapots I burned before bought a whistling kettle!“
In TRIZE “beauty“ of the inventive decision is on the first place. As the market will accept such invention - it is already the second question. In Si El beauty and originality - not the most important. The main thing - with the minimum expenses so to change a product that it became more valuable to the user.
Main thought: there is no direct dependence between “coolness“ of the invention, its level on classification of TRIZ and subjects how successful will become this invention in the market. Experience shows that sometimes brilliant promising developments do not make profit. At the same time some extremely simple goods become very successful.
The analysis of the most successful goods and services created for all history shows that many of them are created in the same way: by addition to usual, long ago to the known goods of some “correct“ simple element (by the rules given above). As a result the goods structurally remained almost same, but became much better, more conveniently, for example, began to satisfy new requirement which for some reason was not noticed earlier.
People always created very useful (so, and very profitable!) goods in such a way. But earlier it became incidentally. Therefore it was not enough such goods, and they appeared rather seldom. But if the way of addition of a simple element (Si El method) really works, then why to use it purposefully?
Eventually a main goal not in that the novelty blew the mind beauty and grace of a technical solution. It is good for museum pieces. It is much more important that it it became successful in the market, that is brought more benefit to consumers, and more profit to creators, producers, sellers etc. of
Even if at the same time a novelty looks to banality (genius?) simply.