Злотин Б.Л., Зусман А.В. "Patterns of Evolution: Recent Findings on Structure and Origin"" Окончание

Lines associated with evolution of impeding forcers and limitations

Described below are two selected lines related to the evolution of impeding forces and limitations.

Line: Violation of boundaries during the process of evolution

  1. Boundaries to a system’s utilization that are established haphazardly
  2. The creation of “record breaking” systems intended to violate established boundaries.
  3. The creation of optimized systems that operate as close as possible to the boundaries.
  4. Achieving record-breaking or optimal performance without changing the original operating principle.
  5. Sharpening of contradictions associated with boundaries and limitations.
  6. Creation of a system based on an operating principle that if free of old limitations but has its own limitations or boundaries.

Line: Lifting limitations in the process of product development

An enormous variety of products (clothing styles, shoe fashions, telephone designs, kitchen appliances, etc.) have resulted from recent technological and economic limitations. In fact, the form and style of most consumer products today are determined primarily by fashion and the designer’s imagination rather than technological issues. Limitations are lifted in the following order:

  1. Limitations established in a haphazard manner
  2. Limitations that provide “insurance” against our possible lack of knowledge
  3. Limitations caused by process optimization
  4. Limitations caused by product simplification and cost reduction
  5. Limitations imposed by mass production

Evolution of means and methods to control the evolution of man-made systems

As man-made systems evolve, their evolution depends more and more on the conscious actions of people that can potentially be quite dangerous. Enforcing the driving forces produces crises of excessive production; the opposite action produces stagnation and recession. In fact, only a controlled balance between driving and impeding forces can ensure a more-or-less smooth, crises-free evolution.

In the early stages, human evolution occurred no differently from the evolution of other inhabitants of the Earth – via mutation and natural selection (which is somewhat equivalent to generating ideas using trial and error). Invention and the spread of weaponry was the first big change toward humans controlling their own destiny, helping them avoid the natural selection imposed on them by predators. Thus a new and “internal” human evolution began, resulting in wars in which victory was claimed by those who had the best technology and organization rather than the greatest physical force. Winning technologies and other achievements were transferred to younger generations, improving along the way.

The most significant evolutionary step was the transition from physical trials to mental ones; instead of building numerous prototypes to find the best boat design, people started exploring possible designs by thinking about them and rejecting those that didn’t seem feasible or useful.

These mental trial-and-error techniques have been enhanced; rules of logic followed by scientific methods have gradually allowed people to anticipate the results of potential change with higher predictability, capitalizing on the following achievements:

  • Accumulation and structuring of knowledge, enabling the creation of many effective thinking models (hypotheses, theories, mathematical descriptions, etc.) which in turn streamlines the search for new designs.
  • Creation of analytical methods (including mathematics) that help reduce new problems to known ones and thus exploit available knowledge and allow system optimization.

The emergence and development of science as a method for performing mental trial-and-error (or for creating simple models) has enormously accelerated the evolution of human civilization, making it less haphazard and more controllable, which in turn has significantly reduced the cost of design mistakes.

Creativity and innovation is the last area where trial-and-error still reigns (most creativity techniques developed in recent years still represent slightly modified versions of the trial-and-error method). The emergence of TRIZ in the middle of the 20th century launched a new era, converting the generation of new ideas into science. The Directed Evolution™ methodology, introduced in the early 1990s, is the next step toward controlling and managing the entire evolution of man-made systems.

Lines associated with the evolution of innovation activity

Selected lines associated with the evolution of innovation activity are described below.

Line: Increasing social acceptance of innovation

  1. Society does not welcome innovation but prefers to follow tradition
  2. Innovation occurs via slow, nearly unnoticeable changes in certain traditions (the “boiled frog” effect).
  3. Society accepts innovation on a limited basis and as a “way out” of critical dilemmas
  4. Innovation as a base for entrepreneurship. Establishment of legal protection for innovations.
  5. Innovation as a weapon in competition.
  6. Innovation as a means for building an organization’s intellectual property and ensuring successful long-term development.
  7. Inventions and innovation become a mandatory part of daily engineering work.
  8. Inventions and innovation become a part of everybody’s daily activity

Line: Increasing efficiency of tools for supporting innovation process

  1. Individual innovation based on luck, intuition, haphazard events and trial and error.
  2. Emergence of professional innovators who apply trial and error and their exceptional abilities.
  3. Utilization of scientific knowledge (physical, chemical, psychological, etc. effects) to boost innovation.
  4. Knowledge transfer and utilization, first between close areas and then between remote areas.
  5. Establishment of teamwork and the use of multi-disciplinary experience (brainstorming).
  6. Introduction of methods for the psychological activation of creativity (Synectics, De Bono techniques, etc.).
  7. Introduction of the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), a universal method based on the generalization of mankind’s innovation experience.
  8. Development of specialized innovation technologies such as:

–        Directed Evolution™

–        Anticipatory Failure Determination (AFD®) for Failure Prediction

–        I-TRIZ (Ideation-TRIZ methodology) for solving scientific problems

–        I-TRIZ for solving business and management problems

–        I-TRIZ to increase product quality while reducing cost

  1. Development of specialized innovation technologies for specific tasks.

Line: Increasing cooperation and coordination in the process of product development

In the process of evolution, coordination takes place between the following:

  1. Various requirements associated with the same product (social and economic parameters, safety, convenience, style, etc.)
  2. Various subsystems of the same product (automobile motor, chassis, transmission, electronic systems, etc.)
  3. Various services associated with a product (roads, gas stations, parking lots, traffic rules, vehicle services, etc.).
  4. Various other subsystems such as vehicle audio systems, air conditioners, GPS, etc.).
  5. Products related to the same product line
  6. Overall system of related products and services (for example, the Christian Dior “empire” includes clothing, shoes, bags, cosmetics, accessories, etc.)

Line: Increasing efficiency in selecting innovations

Selecting among various innovations is the main method for managing evolution. During the early stages of human civilization this resembled Darwinian natural selection; since that time it has become more effective and reliable, in particular:

  1. Innovation selection through genocide of tribes with weaker social and/or military technology.
  2. Conquering of tribes and countries with weaker social and/or military technology.
  3. Selection of innovations by people in possession of power and authority
  4. Market selection
  5. Selection based on forecasts of a given system and its market evolution
  6. Selection based on knowledge about patterns and lines of evolution

Line: Increasing efficiency of financing innovation

  1. Self-financing using the following funds:

–        Accumulated capital (sometimes from criminal or unethical activities)

–        Funds obtained from extreme exploitation of members of an organization (for example, Viking warriors), family members, etc.

–        Exploitation of slave or hired labor

–        Re-investment

  1. Financing of innovations using private capital (interest loans, loans against property, investment in exchange for equity position, etc.), in particular:

–        From ancient kings or other superiors

–        From aristocratic or rich families (Barks family in Carthage, Medici family in Florence).

–        Rich individuals (merchants, money-exchangers, etc.).

  1. Community (ancient Athens) or government (from ancient Rome to recent governments).
  2. Financing from special banks (Knights Templar in the 13th century).
  3. Creation of a system for supporting innovation (Royal privileges and patents in England, Colbert system in France, Peter the Great of Russia, etc.)
  4. Creation of corporations to finance innovation (East Indian Company)
  5. Internal corporate financing in the following areas:

–        Core competency (for example, automotive companies invest in automotive research)

–        Adjacent areas (General Electric’s past investment in the development of jet engines).

–        Unrelated areas (Ford Motor Company’s investment during the 1920s in glass production)

  1. Creation of a venture capital system involving banks, funds, etc.

Lines associated with general factors controlling the evolutionary process

Below are selected lines associated with the evolution of methods of controlling the evolutionary process.

Line: Increasing degree of controllability of systems’ evolution

  1. Haphazard evolution as the inevitable result of periodic crises (crises of self-organization).
  2. Controlling evolution by reacting to challenges (responding to certain demands, dangers, competitive threats, etc.)
  3. Managing production and/or marketing based on anticipating (predicting) possible near-term challenges and/or early detection of dangers. Anticipating challenges in order to prepare and respond in a timely manner.
  4. Managing production and/or marketing based on comprehensive forecasts of market and technological evolution of a given system.
  5. Managing production and/or marketing based on general patterns of market evolution, patterns of technological evolution and environment enabling full control and the ability to avoid undesired events.

Line: Life cycle and evolutionary speed of a system

Factors controlling the speed at which a particular system evolves change with the system’s life cycle:

  1. Latent development – theoretical research, experiments, collection of knowledge, building mock-ups and prototypes, etc.
  2. Active development moving ahead of the overall technological level
  3. Active development with the average speed of evolution of technology
  4. Passive development – when the system itself is not improving but its features get better due to enabling technologies, better materials, etc.
  5. “False” stabilization – development slows or even halts due to local unresolved problems.
  6. Stabilization caused by resource exhaustion.
  7. System degradation and displacement by new, more advanced systems.

Line: Factors influencing the speed of evolution

  1. Pulsed selection, i.e., the periodic exchange of waves of positive and negative natural selection, as follows:

–        Positive selection – when resources are rich and/or there is no pressure, the species with the faster reproduction has the advantage

–        Negative selection – when resources are scarce and/or pressure is strong, only the fittest survive

  1. Rich variety of system modifications, enabling highly effective hybridization
  2. Existence of frontier-leading, rapidly-evolving systems
  3. Strong competition (both technological and marketing)
  4. Strategic planning and control

Bank of Evolutionary Alternatives™

The practical application of the patterns and lines described above has resulted in the development of potential scenarios of evolution (evolutionary alternatives) for various domains of human civilization, such as:

§         Housing

§         Retail business

§         Community life

§         Energy

§         Food

§         Consumer products

This bank of evolutionary alternatives is effectively applied in the process of conducting Directed Evolution for lower-ranking systems, for example, trends in the evolution of consumer products (see below) have been used to identify next-generation cleaning products. Appendix 2 presents a selected list of specialized groups of lines of evolution.

Evolution of consumer products

The main trends that influence the evolution of consumer products are divided into three groups:

§         General evolution

§         Market evolution

§         Product evolution

General evolution

“Domestication” of the environment

“Domestication” of the environment manifests itself through the following:

  • Elimination or reduction of various dangers, undesired or unpleasant factors, and environmental events
  • Introducing into the environment numerous objects capable of performing useful and desired functions, including:

–     Objects of social infrastructure such as homes, buildings, roads, communication systems, etc.

–     Consumer products

–     Products of nature (plants, flowers, pets, etc.)

Utilization of resources – new level

All technological systems function and evolve due to the utilization of certain resources – materials, energy fields, information, space, etc. Evolution starts with the engagement of highly visible, easily accessible and readily available resources; when these “obvious” resources become exhausted in the process of evolution, less visible/accessible resources are utilized. This process is associated with the transition from the use of readily available resources to the use of derived, changeable, “smart,” etc. resources that are revealed or created through human knowledge, intelligence and innovation activities.

Today, such resources often consist of the physical and chemical properties of materials, the application of various physical fields and effects, special geometric forms, inventive approaches, etc.

Evolution of technological processes

The following is a summary of the evolutionary patterns related to technological processes:

  • General improvement of the design culture due to:

–     Higher competition between designers

–     Better informational services; conversion of many highly effective intuitive skills into knowledge available for everybody

–     Utilization of computer aided technologies (CAD/CAM, ProEngineer, etc.)

–     Utilization of improved design methods (DFMA, Concurrent Engineering, FMEA, etc.)

–     Implementation of new, highly-effective problem solving technologies (TRIZ)

–     Implementation of methods for directing the evolution of technology (DE™)

  • General improvement in the area of manufacturing:

–     Higher competition between producers

–     Utilization of computerized production systems

–     Utilization of improved organizational methods (TQM, Value Engineering, etc.)

  • Development of new technologies and production methods that provide:

–     Flexibility

–     Accuracy at low cost

–     Possibility of exerting local influence on process elements

–     Synthesis and utilization of materials with required properties

–     Effective safety and environmental procedures

Structural crisis

As societies evolve, various trends emerge and interact to generate certain changes to human philosophy and psychology that are difficult to predict. When they emerge, these changes are usually very small and thus cannot be identified through regular focused marketing research. Some of these changes then ignite positive feedback (reinforcing loop) that quickly generates a “structural crisis” – significant restructuring in certain industries such as product design, composition, production, sales, marketing, servicing, etc.

It is obvious that those who can predict a structural crisis and prepare for it ahead of time can benefit greatly. Those who ignore the situation and must face it unprepared can lose everything. Presently, many mass production industries are at the beginning of a serious structural crisis produced by the following events:

  • Changes in customers needs and expectations
  • Changes in technology
  • Availability of vast amounts of investment capital
  • New marketing opportunities and competition from post-Communist countries

The main sign of this upcoming crisis is decreasing market stability. As mentioned earlier, we have a new business situation today where the barriers to entering the business world are lowering and it is fairly easy to change a company’s profile and production volume. In other words, the situation in various industries might evolve in a similar way to the computer or other high-tech industries, i.e., the rapid and unexpected emergence of new players, dramatic changes in the stock market, formation of strategic alliances, etc.

The most typical signs of an upcoming crisis are usually:

  • Profit reduction for all (without exception) basic players
  • Increased competition and spending on marketing and advertising
  • Increased business activity (merger wave, rapid stock market changes, market share changes, etc.)
  • Emergence of aggressive small companies offering certain process/equipment improvements.
  • Certain signs of customer dissatisfaction
  • New enabling technologies that introduce state-of-the-art electrical, electronics, informational and computerized breakthroughs that can reduce cost and complexity, increase reliability and add new useful functions to numerous products.

Over the next 5 to 10 years, the upcoming crisis can produce the following results:

  • Substantial changes in the market position of the basic players
  • Paradigm shift in the industry
  • Diversification and integration process that targets the support of the complete product life cycle.

Market evolution

Business integration

An analysis of the evolution of business reveals two trends that periodically replace one another – specialization, which increases performance efficiency, and diversification, which improves coordination among various products. The most general trend, however, is the continuously increasing integration with the environment, resulting in greater cooperation and coordination between products and consumers with the aim of improving the environment (for example, with the emergence of convenience stores such as 7/11, people could purchase many urgently-needed goods in one place).

It appears that businesses targeting the satisfaction of mass human needs will continue to evolve in this direction. For example, instead of a number of different companies servicing various home utilities and appliances (water, sewer, lawn care, refrigerator, air conditioner, fireplace, cleaning, etc.), one company should service the entire home.

Similarly, in the evolution of, for example, shoe-related businesses, the following related businesses can be deeply integrated:

  • Clothes production
  • Clothes care (washing, drying, cleaning, storing, repairing, altering, etc.)
  • Medical treatment
  • Entertainment systems

Market expansion

With most consumer products, there is a strong trend whereby markets expand faster than demographic growth, due to the ever-increasing quality of life and consumption levels.

Changes in the system of purchasing consumer products

Upcoming radical changes in the marketing, purchasing and delivery of products are based on growing Internet and e-commerce technologies. This change is similar to the one that happened in the first part of the 20th century with the introduction of purchasing via catalogs, which made it possible for people in rural areas to buy the same goods that had been available only to those residing in larger cities.

In the last decades, one of the most important trends in consumer product distribution is reducing the costs associated with distribution due to better organization and fewer mediators (the success of retailers like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, etc. are a typical example). Today, the new way to reduce distribution costs is to purchase goods over the Internet; customer expectations will change accordingly, making them eager to use products that are more convenient to buy and deliver. Products that rely on traditional purchasing and distribution methods can significantly lose their customer appeal and thus influence market share.

Further evolution and introduction of new informational technologies will result in the following:

  • Computer evolution that creates new ways to substantially increase the attractiveness of e-commerce. Even today we already have systems that allow customers to view 3D pictures of a product, learn about its features, read opinions from other users, etc. It is even possible to have “fittings” over the Internet so a potential customer can see how a particular item will look on him/her, determine if it matches accessories he/she already owns, or matches a companion’s outfit, etc.
  • Emergence of global delivery systems (FedEx, UPS, etc.) that can deliver goods economically in a timely manner.

The changes described above will lead to a situation where the majority of goods are delivered to customers directly from producers, eliminating the intermediate steps such as stores (Wal-Mart is an example). In turn, the following will result:

  • Development of new distribution systems featuring substantially reduced costs (both of products and their distribution).
  • Producers will depend less on distribution outlets and obtain more direct power over marketing their products.
  • Increasing delivery speed and convenience.

Given the above, it is possible to foresee a serious crisis for the whole consumer product industry associated with the transition to direct delivery of goods to consumers. In turn, this crisis will lead to the following:

  • Changes in market leadership, business models, advertisement, etc.
  • Development of new products and technologies, new packaging systems, etc.

Increasing competition and changes in its content

In recent decades competition has become fierce, often changing in focus. In addition to the “classical” price and brand-name wars, contemporary informational wars have arisen, including:

  • Intellectual property (IP) wars characterized by the use of the latest creative methods and the expansion and structuring of IP by way of patent fences[37] and patent blocks,[38] which can provide a relatively short-term monopoly or a financial benefit from IP licensing.
  • Advertising attacks that target competitors (cable and dish TV ads are a typical example).
  • Indirect attacks, including the sponsoring of political campaigns against certain products (for example, the well-organized, well-financed but not scientifically well-founded attack on Freon use). The most difficult issue here is to reveal the existence of informational aggression, its goals, and the sponsors who make it difficult to respond adequately.

The above issues will stimulate active growth and increase the importance of existing or new departments within companies that provide:

  • Strategic planning of company growth by applying Directed Evolution methods and techniques.
  • Prediction and prevention of potential negative effects, and diagnosis and elimination of existing negative effects.
  • Effective IP control.
  • Effective control of information flows, ensuring victory in various informational wars.

Changes to the stock market

E-commerce caused revolutionary changes to the stock market; the ability to invest online has added millions of new market players (over 20 million in the U.S.). Although most of these new investors operate with small capital, overall they control a huge amount of capital. Most importantly, many of them are not qualified to make adequate investment decisions.

The flood of new investors makes the stock market more homogeneous on the one hand, but also more prone to spontaneous action influenced by panic or fashion, decreasing the stability of the stock market and making it susceptible to investments in questionable projects that look fashionable and attractive to the public. We witnessed this phenomenon in the “dot.com” boom and collapse, which contributed greatly to the economic recession that followed.

Today, with the economy still in recovery, this “wild investor” factor again becomes important. Effective management of this process, based on PR methods, could become one of the most important financial instruments of evolution.

Customer/user individualization

The transition from paying for purchases with cash, to paying by check, then credit cards and, recently, Internet purchasing has created a growing opportunity for customer identification and monitoring of purchasing patterns. This trend will continue and strengthen due to contributions from RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device) systems with which the flow of goods can be monitored.

This trend will allow for the monitoring of customer preferences, problems, previously purchased items, etc. It will also facilitate the creation of a system for blocking children from purchasing products that can be utilized inappropriately (for example, a card used to make purchases will contain an individual’s age and therefore disallow certain purchases just as today there are restrictions in some areas on buying liquor on Sundays or before a certain hour).

Changing criteria for product selection

The majority of recent users show little interest in the technical parameters of consumer products and usually do not compare these parameters between products of different producers. They believe that these parameters are generally the same and as a result are influenced by brand names, advertisements, or secondary issues such as packaging or color.

Today, the average consumer wants products that, in addition to the performing primary useful functions, provide other “pleasers” – these have to do with aesthetics for the most part, but there are others as well. For example, a product might be utilized as a toy while providing useful information that gains the attention and respect of others.

A reduction in price-sensitivity is occurring. Often in times of economic recovery there is an increase in luxury product purchases, as they are associated with better quality and personal success.

Evolution of fashion

In the early stages of human evolution, the majority of goods were manufactured in accordance with the limitations of existing technologies. Only with the emergence of new technological possibilities (new tools and methods for treating wood and animal skins; producing fabrics, threads, needles, etc.) did people begin to introduce various designs for goods, starting with clothing and jewelry. Later this trend included shelter, furniture, and dishes, which became an important social indication of position, wealth, etc. “Socially loaded” or signature elements were often associated with certain traditions or faiths, and thus were not easily changed, although they continued to evolve slowly.

Fashion as a cultural phenomenon emerged later, when the social limitations that had dictated the form and appearance of cultural artifacts started to soften, allowing for modifications to these artifacts; at the same time, the evolution of technology offered possibilities for creating modifications. Fashion often develops in a “snowball” manner, involving numerous people for a short period of time and then quickly disappearing, setting the stage for the next craze.

For several thousand years fashion produced changes in the style, type, form, color, etc. of furniture, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and other goods, exhausting nearly all technologically available possibilities for that time. Because the possibilities were limited, many of the same ideas (shoes with pointed or rounded toes, for example) have reappeared again and again. In many ways fashion evolves in a spiral manner; recently, however (i.e., in the informational era) we can identify the following new characteristics:

  • The emergence of new materials and technologies capable of creating entirely new effects (radiating lights, changing form and color, flexible and highly absorbent materials, etc.).
  • The appearance of “smart” features.
  • The co-existence of styles that had previously been mutually exclusive (short and long skirts, pointed and rounded toes, etc.) has resulted in hybridization between different styles, which in turn gives people greater flexibility.

A main feature of contemporary informational society is an increase in the freedom and variety of consumer choices, which are supported by new technological possibilities. This leads to lower predictability and greater speed in market change, often resulting in a snowball (or tornado) effect. Similarly, fashion has become somewhat unpredictable while at the same time becoming capable of influencing various businesses.

Given the above, successful businesses in areas influenced by fashion require an effective system for fashion management based on existing industrial and informational technologies, including the development of methods that allow:

  • Quick changes to design and production features to accommodate the latest trends.
  • Mass customization, i.e., the ability to quickly adjust to individual or group requirements.
  • Effective monitoring of current trends and early detection of upcoming trends.
  • Fashion management, i.e., the ability to influence customers to accept certain fashion possibilities.

Shift to professional services

With the growing complexity of home equipment and an increase in overall wealth, the trend toward the transfer of certain home-care functions to professional services strengthens. Starting from equipment repair, professional services move to maintenance and other convenient services. This trend should lead to the increasing complexity of certain products, transition to larger size packaging, and more professional equipment for product utilization appropriate for even a small service company rather than the individual user.

Product evolution

For most of human civilization, little attention was given to the convenience of product use. This is easily seen by a visit to a museum of culture or ethnography to view antique clothes, furniture, and the general home environments displayed there. Inventions targeting more convenient living conditions (soft furniture, for example) appeared during the Renaissance; mass production of various products of this kind started in the 19th century with the industrial revolution.

Increasing the convenience of consumer products involves these considerations:

  • Improving a product’s adaptation to human anatomy, physiology and aesthetics.
  • Reducing the harmful effects associated with product use (such as stresses, traumas, accumulation of dirt and waste, etc.).
  • The possibility for plug-and-play (utilization without the need for special installation, training, or other preparations).

Consumer products become “smarter”

Over the last 15 years, one of the basic evolutionary patterns for consumer products involves making products “smarter.” Increasing public awareness of the possibilities of informational technologies, a number of publications about computerized homes, “smart” machines, etc., has created expectations (sometimes unrealistic) of “electronic miracles” in almost any area. As a result, only companies that can keep up with these expectations can succeed in today’s market.

For the majority of consumer products, “smarter” means capable of adjusting to meet specific user needs, conditions, etc. For example:

  • Receiving information from consumers in various formats, such as:

–     Instructions (programs, orders, etc.).

–     Selections made by voice, gesture, pressing a button, etc.

–     Information from certain sensors that monitor pulse, body temperature, etc.

  • Processing the obtained information and reacting accordingly.
  • Utilizing the obtained information and/or transmitting it to other devices.

One of the most important directions in the evolution of the human environment is the continuous monitoring of an individual’s health for early identification of critical health changes. To comply with this trend, many consumer products are already equipped with sensors capable of collecting information and transmitting it to authorized destinations.

This trend manifests through the use of the following technologies:

  • “Smart” materials that can perform special functions.
  • Various micro-electronic devices (sensors, microchips, etc.).
  • Communication and self-adjustment between various products and systems via local networks and the Internet.

In general, this trend leads to increased product complexity and cost; customer expectations usually adjust accordingly, although not necessarily reasonably.

Increasing safety requirements

For some time, safety requirements have been increasing even as the notion of safety is redefined. With the elimination/reduction of mortal dangers (wars, famine, infectious diseases, etc.) consumer attention has shifted to issues that represent less danger, such as the influence of a product on health, mood, etc. In addition, increasingly rigorous scientific research can reveal dangers that were previously undetectable.

The expansion of this trend to consumer products started with the 1965 publication of Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, along with the first campaigns against smoking and the use of Freon. Today, growing attacks on certain types of food and food companies are evident. Successful lawsuits against tobacco companies have prompted similar action in other areas, leading to growing numbers of lawsuits and compensatory awards for injuries, damage, and other inconveniences produced by various products, which in turn results in higher insurance premiums. This trend has strengthened with the increase in informational “transparency” that allows customers to obtain and exchange more information, revealing correlations between product use and harmful or undesired effects.

It seems clear that after the tobacco and food industries, the next litigation target will be the consumer product industry. Cleaning products, furniture, clothes, electronic items, home building materials – almost any consumer product could be potentially dangerous under certain conditions.

Based on the above, it is possible to predict the following two interconnected events:

  • Increase in lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors.
  • Government regulation of the introduction of new types of products, including the establishment of FDA-like organizations that analyze potential dangers associated with products and consider whether certain products should be banned.

Recently, the typical behavior of consumer product manufacturers has been passive and has included new product testing (without appropriate testing methods, however, it is practically impossible to reveal all potentially serious dangers) and reactions to specific customer complaints and/or desires when products enter the market. In the future, market success will depend on a company’s ability to effectively employ methods such as Ideation’s Failure Prediction and product development process, designed to identify and prevent potential dangers. Jointly, these methods can provide protection against:

  • Harm to customers from consumer products
  • Becoming the subject of lawsuits and/or unwarranted claims

Environmental regulations

Tightening of environmental and health requirements can produce:

  • Increased suspicion of artificial materials, negatively impacting their image.
  • Increased criticism of production located in wealthy countries, and the introduction of regulations that result in higher production costs.
  • Transitions to more environmentally-friendly production, with reduced waste and utilization of artificial materials.

Expanding product functions

The value of any consumer product can be increased by increasing the number and quality of the product’s functions. This can be achieved by:

  • Capturing the functions of adjacent products – functions performed by other products and systems in the same environment, or that interact with the given product during different stages of its lifecycle.
  • Absorbing functions that had previously been performed by humans, using automation and “smart” technologies.
  • Segmenting the functions of existing products to introduce sub-operations and/or sub-functions; in certain situations this is associated with product specialization (the performance of specific functions).

Increasing variety of products

An increase in the variety of products is a response to increased customer demands and preferences (“pickiness”), accelerated changes in fashion, and the growing volume and speed of informational exchange. The resulting effects include:

  • Reduced volumes of any particular product.
  • Spikes (often unpredictable) in the demand for certain products.
  • Expansion of product lines to include an assortment in price and quality, from high-priced luxury products to inexpensive versions. In general, customers become increasingly more tolerant to higher prices.
  • Customers become more conscious of other issues regarding product manufacturers such as a company’s position on the environment, preservation of jobs within a community or country, etc.
  • Acceleration of new product development and introduction to the market.
  • Availability of agile manufacturing technologies.

An increase in product variety is possible by using the concept of mass customization – that is, developing technologies that support the production of base products that can be easily modified during the final stages of production or even at the consumer site.

Increasing product integration

As products evolve they tend to become integrated into a system correlated with other elements in the same super-system, creating “families” to some degree. Integration can take place on a functional level or on a more superficial level (in style, color, etc.).

Reducing human effort

A strong trend exists toward reducing the amount of work required for satisfying immediate human needs and servicing home equipment. This trend reveals itself in the “plug-and-play” requirement (no special effort needed for installation and servicing). In particular, the following procedures may become standard:

  • Utilization of fully- or partially-automated “smart” systems
  • Utilization of systems capable of communicating with the user.
  • Online support for complex consumer products.

Emergence of packaging with useful functions

As a product evolves, packaging starts to be utilized to perform certain useful functions. Typical examples include cookie containers that can be used after the original product has been consumed.

Conclusions

  1. Over the last 60 years TRIZ has grown from a problem-solving methodology into the science of technological evolution, with the Patterns of Evolution as its core. At the same time, we know that all known Patterns are empirical in nature and therefore can describe the main direction (“what”) of a system and its actual evolution (“how”) but lack the “why” – that is, an explanation of the origin and driving forces of technological evolution. 
  2. Technological evolution is not an isolated process but rather is an aspect of the more general evolution of society; moreover, the evolving world resembles a Russian nested doll (matreshka) with multiple evolution processes of different scale taking place both independently and interdependently.
  3. The main evolutionary levels under consideration include:

§         Universal evolution

§         Biological evolution

§         Evolution of human civilization

§         Evolution of man-made systems

§         Micro-evolution (inventions and innovations)

Based on the above, 7 groups of general patterns have been formulated (19 patterns altogether) and 14 groups of specialized patterns/lines. Three high-level patterns with associated 15 lines are described in detail.

  1. Higher-level evolutionary trends/patterns serve as the driving force for evolution at the lower level. This explains why the Patterns of Technological Evolution are so strong – because they are enforced by the general demand and expectation of customers.
  2. Understanding evolutionary trends occurring on a higher level significantly increases the reliability of predictions regarding the development and marketing of next-generation products.
  3. An example of the practical application of general Patterns of Evolution to the evolution of consumer products is described.
  4. Using knowledge of the Patterns of Evolution in conjunction with analytical methods and other instruments provides the following benefits:

§         Obtaining a substantial advantage over competition

§         Forming a strongly-protected portfolio of intellectual property

§         Avoid costly and often irreparable strategic mistakes in product development and marketing.


 

Appendix 1
Selected General Patterns of Evolution of Man-Made Systems

Group 1: General aspects of the evolution of man-made systems

Pattern: Evolution of driving forces (15 lines)

Pattern: Evolution of impeding forces (2 lines)

Pattern: Evolution of the means and methods to control the evolution of man-made systems (8 lines)

Pattern: Emergence and resolution of contradictions

Group 2: Evolution of the man-made environment

Pattern: Increase in the role of man-made systems (10 lines)

Pattern: Reduced human involvement in man-made systems (5 lines)

Pattern: Adaptation to the environment (6 lines)

Group 3: Evolution of the application and marketing of man-made systems

Pattern: Evolution of products for marketing (5 lines)

Pattern: Evolution of markets (9 lines)

Group 4: Increasing ideality of man-made systems

Pattern: Increasing a system’s usefulness (14 lines)

Pattern: Reducing overall cost (10 lines)

Pattern: Increasing a system’s usefulness in the process of reducing cost (5 lines)

Group 5: Evolution of resources

Pattern: Intensification of resources utilization (12 lines)

Pattern: Effects as resources (15 lines)

Group 6: Evolution towards increasing system adaptability

Pattern: Increasing dynamization (15 lines)

Pattern: Increasing controllability (9 lines)

Pattern: Matching-mismatching (18 lines)

Group 7: Evolution of system structure

Increasing system complexity (15 lines)

System simplification (7 lines)


 

Appendix 2
Selected Groups of Specific Lines of Evolution

Group 1: Evolution of substance utilization

Group 2: Evolution of chemical technologies

Group 3: Evolution of materials for chemical technologies

Group 4: Evolution of simple parts

Group 5: Evolution of standardization

Group 6: Evolution of the production and consumption of energy

Group 7: Evolution of systems for measurement and control

Group 8: Evolution of models

Group 9: Evolution of safety methods and equipment

Group 10: Increasing convenience

Group 11: Evolution of tools

Group 12: Evolution of technological process

Group 13: Evolution of flows

Group 14: Evolution of consumer products

 

References

1.      Maslow, Abraham. Motivation and Personality. New York: Harper & Bros., 1954. (Rev. ed. 1970.)

2.      Altshuller, Genrich. Bases of the Inventive Process. Voronezh: Tsentralnochernozemnyi Publishing House, 1964. (In Russian).

3.      Altshuller, Genrich. Algorithm for Invention. Moscow: Moskowskii Rabochii Publishing House, 1969 (first edition), 1973 (second edition). (In Russian).

4.      Altshuller, Genrich. Creativity as an Exact Science. Moscow: Sovetskoe Radio Publishing House, 1979. (In Russian; English edition from Gordon and Breach, Science Publishers, Inc., 1984).

5.      Altshuller, Genrich, Boris Zlotin, and Vitalii Philatov. The Profession of Searching for New Ideas. Kishinev: Kartya Moldovenyaska Publishing House, 1985.

6.      Zlotin, Boris and Alla Zusman. Patterns of Technological Evolution. Kishinev: STC Progress in association with Kartya Moldovenyaska Publishing House, 1989.

7.      Altshuller, Genrich, Boris Zlotin, Alla Zusman, and Vitalii Philatov. Searching for New Ideas: From Insight to Methodology; The Theory and Practice of Inventive Problem Solving. Kishinev: Kartya Moldovenyaska Publishing House, 1989.

8.      STC Progress, Solving Scientific Problems. Kishinev: STC Progress in association with Kartya Moldovenyaska Publishing House, 1991.

9.      TRIZ in Progress.  Transactions of the Ideation research Group. Ideation International Inc., 1999.

10.  Zlotin, Boris and Alla Zusman.  Directed Evolution: Philosophy, Theory and Practice.  Ideation International Inc., 2001.

11.  Zlotin, Boris and Alla Zusman. General Scenario of Technological Evolution. Izobretenia, 2004.

12.  Zlotin, Boris and Alla Zusman. The Concept of Resources in TRIZ: Past, Present and Future.  Presented at TRIZCON 2005 (Brighton, MI, April 2005).


 


[37] Patent fences are a means of passive protection and consist of a set of patents that protects a product and/or technology, preventing or deterring attacks on a business by competitors.

[38] Patent blocks provide proactive protection and consist of a set of patents that protects a market, preventing attacks from competitors and/or allowing a company to profit from the success of its competitors (by licensing agreements, etc.)