Algorithm for selecting engineering problems - AVIZ" G.I.Ivanov.

G.I.Ivanov. algorithm fOR selecting Engineering problems - AVIZ"


G.I.Ivanov, Russia, A.A.Bystritsky, Russia

About the authors

     Gennady Ivanovich Ivanov, TRIZ Master, member of Regional Organization "Angarsk-TRIZ", employee of JSC "Introduction of New Technologies", engineer, designer of high category, and author of over 100 inventions. He has been engaged in TRIZ studies since 1975. Conducted over 70 scientific and practical seminars at industrial enterprises in Russia and foreign countries implying solving of actual industrial problems. He is an author of several books and many publications on methodology of creative work.

     Alexander Anatolyevich Bystritsky, leading TRIZ consultant and TRIZ teacher, member of Regional Organization "Angarsk-TRIZ", employee of JSC "Introduction of New Technologies", Ph.D. (Engineering), and author of several inventions. He has been engaged in TRIZ studies since 1980. He is an author of publications in methodology of creative activity, conducts research in the field of Trends of engineering systems evolution and Development of Creative Imagination.



     An algorithm for formulating inventive problems related to industrial-and-technological problem situation is proposed, the said algorithm taking into account the verification of truthfulness of the problem, search for source reason for the problem, analysis of substance-and-field resources and employment of these resources for contradiction resolving.

Key words:  Problem, function, undesirable event, undesirable component, resources, ideal final result, contradictions. 


The material for this work has been collected by crumbs of knowledge for many years and is a result of many dozens of practical seminars in the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving conducted at industrial enterprises in Russia and foreign countries.

It is known that solving tools are well developed in TRIZ - namely, ARIZ, standards, techniques and other tools, but the issues of problems formulation, especially with regard to problems related to industrial production situations, are explored to a lesser degree [1, 2, 3, 4].

The efforts of many developers are directed at solving of this particular problem [5,6,7,8,9,10]. However, the matter is getting more complicated because of the fact that the source situation, with which a solver has to deal under manufacturing conditions, is almost always associated with a huge number of uncertainties and inaccuracies, which leads to mistakes already at the beginning of analysis. 

The initial idea of the authors was that any production problem has its first cause and therefore, it is necessary first to find the place and time of its origination. After that, it is necessary to analyze resources available in the place of this first cause and to employ these resources for contradiction resolving.  It might seem that these simple and well-known facts are understandable for everybody.

However, the majority of problem solvers inevitably experience difficulties in answering the following questions: - "What should be regarded as the first cause of a problem?", "Where is the place of its origination and at what moment did it originate?", "What resources should be preferably employed for problem solving?" Many specialists, even experienced ones, who have well studied and mastered the solving tools of TRIZ, are at a loss encountering a new technological or production problem. They say: "Give me a clearly formulated problem and I will propose a solution for it". Alas, there are no "clearly formulated problems" in the production industry…

The complexity of interconnections and multi-layer character of relationships in the hierarchy of engineering systems hinder the identification of the main link in the chain of undesirable phenomena and events. Therefore, the issue of identifying the problems within the industrial production situation still remains vital.

      In this article we propose some approaches to the solving of the indicated problem. The elements of our methodology were first applied in 1987 in Dalnogorsk at the enterprises of production Association "Bor". (Short-hand report of the seminar could be found in the archive of Angarsk Center of Methodology for Scientific-and-Engineering Creative Activity).

The first version of the algorithm for selecting problems from the industrial production situation – AVIZ 93 - developed by G.I.Ivanov, A.A.Bystritsky, and V.N.Nikitin was presented at the Petrozavodsk Seminar in 1993 and approved by Genrich Saulovich Altshuller.

Subsequent experience accumulated during solving actual industrial production problems enabled to reinforce certain provisions of the methodology and create algorithm AVIZ 2000 (industrial-and-technological cycle), which was reported at the Congress of International TRIZ Association in 2005.

The last version of the proposed mini-algorithm  - AVIZ 2006 (industrial-and-technological cycle), while preserving the logics of the previous one, is characterized by a more definite aiming at the identification of contradictions, which enables to formulate the problems with greater degree of confidence. 


The authors are convinced that each type of a problem situation - industrial-and-technological, design-related, research-related or emergency - requires its own individual algorithm. Therefore, the authors plan not only to improve the already functioning algorithm, but also to develop new ones. We will accept all critical remarks concerning this work with gratitude. Our address is -


We would like to express our gratitude to M.K. Bdulenko, I.A.Balakersky, A.A.Bystrritski, S.N.Veselkov, A.I.Gassanov, V.P.Galietov, S.K.Golikov, V.Gerasimov, L.I.Ivanova, I.G.Ivanova, S.A.Kondrat, L.A. Kozhevnickova, N.G. Kaloshina, V.F.Kaner, I.B.Katchugina,  A.A.Kareva, A.N.Kondratiev, V.A. Korolyov, V.V.Mitrofanov, V.A.Mikhailov, V.M.Petrov, A.Podkatyilin, A.B.Seliutsky, K.A.Sklobovsky, K.A.Sibiryackov, V.G.Sibirackov. К.А., P.V Surkov, N.Khomenko, P.Chuksin and to many other colleagues for their constructive criticism, their remarks, proposals and assistance in the development of algorithm. 


    mini-algorithm for THE identification of            engineering problems from the production-and-engineering problem situation. - AVIZ 2006 (INDUSTRIAL-AND-TECHNOLOGICAL CYCLE)

  Mini-algorithm has been developed based on the materials of the Theory of Inventive Problem-solving – TRIZ (developed by G.S.Altshuller) and is intended for identification and formulation of problems occurring as a result of disruptions and failures in various industrial-and-technological processes.


The use of this algorithm presupposes the knowledge of TRIZ fundamentals.

Prior to starting the work according to this algorithm, it is necessary to make sure that the analyzed situation really relates to an industrial-and-technological problem. (See Appendix No. 1 "Types of engineering problems").  After that, it is necessary to describe the problem in a free manner, but with mandatory answers to the following questions: - "WHAT?", "WHERE?", "WHEN?" and "WHY?"  (See Appendix No. 2 "Levels of problem description" and No. 3 "Recommendations on describing an industrial-and-technological problem").

We remind that the algorithm only enhances the efficiency of creative application of engineering knowledge, but does not substitute the engineering knowledge.


Basic principles of the algorithm:

Ш        Not to eliminate the problem, but try to create conditions, under which it does not appear.

Ш        The problem should be eliminated by the entity, which originated it.

Ш        It is necessary to formulate the problem in the place, where it emerged initially. The further the formulation is from the first cause of the problem, the more complex solution will be required.

Ш        To obtain an effective solution, it is necessary to use resources only in the zone of problem origination.

Ш        Significant changes in the system should be obtained through small changes in the subsystem.  

Ш        The text of ideally composed problem contains… the solution of it.


Main steps of the algorithm:

1. Check the problem for truthfulness

1.1.        Find out whether harmful consequences would arise in the future on the levels of system, supersystem and subsystem, if the problem is not solved.

1.2.        Find out whether the problem is the result of old or wrong instructions or orders issued or made in the past.

1.3.        Find out whether the problem is the result of wrong or excessive actions currently performed at the previous technological posts.

1.4.        Check the possibility of self-elimination of the problem at subsequent posts.

1.5.        Check the possibility of transferring the problem to the supersystem elements, for the function of which it is useful.

In case of absence of рositive solutions, continue the analysis from item 2.


2.     Determining the main function of the analyzed system.

    The main function is understood as the main technological (!) purpose of the system.

    If it is difficult to single out the main function, select the one, during the performance of which the problem appears.

   For the definition of the function use two words – predicate (verb) and noun.

3.     Definition of the Non-desirable Event - N.E. 

The Non-desirable Event is understood as the emergence of a certain physical-and-chemical process or phenomenon that exerts harmful influence upon the performance of the main function.  It is recommended to use two words for the definition of Non-desirable Event – namely, noun and verb.

4.     Determining the place where Non-desirable Event arises.

       A particular place in the technological equipment (unit) is indicated, where the Non-desirable Event starts to manifest itself for the first time.

5.     Determining the moment when Non-desirable Event arises.

        A particular moment, at which the Non-desirable event takes place, or physical-and-chemical process, which accompanied the said Event is indicated.

6.     Definition of the Non-desirable Component– N.C.

The Non-desirable Component is understood as a component (substance- or field-related) that is located in the place of Undesirable Event and that serves as a reason, due to which the event takes place. 

7.     Determining the place and moment of Non-desirable Component.

       Identify the place in the technological chain, where the Non-desirable component first arises or manifests itself.

7.1.   If the Non-desirable component arises not in the place of Identified Undesirable Event, (See paragraph 4), then, moving along the technological chain or physical process backwards, the real place of its initial emergence should be found. 

7.2.    If it is impossible or prohibited to introduce any changes in the place of Non-desirable Component initial emergence, then it is necessary to step back from this place and to stop, where the prohibition is no longer valid and it is possible to introduce changes.


To depict the place where the Non-desirable Component arises (is located) as a close-up view, having indicated all (!) the components available there as well as the components of the adjacent system.  The identified place, where the Undesirable Component arises, is the Operation Zone – O.Z., in which all necessary changes will be introduced  later.


8.         Registration and analysis of available Substance-Field Resources - SFR.

Registration and analysis of SFR is performed in the place where the Non-desirable Component appears (See paragraph 7).


8.1.       Out of substances, the Non-desirable Component is registered first and afterwards - all remaining substances that are located in the analyzed zone, and finally - the substances of the nearest (adjacent) systems and supersystems.

8.2.        For every identified substance, it is necessary to identify its Field resource - (energy, features), for which this substance serves as a carrier.

 Also those fields should be recorded, the sources of which are beyond the scope of analyzed zone, - for example, gravitational field of Earth, different electromagnetic waves, radiation, etc.


8.3.                       Identified substances should be distributed into groups:

         -  Harmful,

         -  Excessive

         -  Neutral,

         -  Useful.

8.4.      For each group, compile a separate hierarchic Table (See paragraph 8.3.), in which substances should be arranged according to the degree of their energy capacity and presence in the analyzed zone. In all cases Non-desirable component and harmful resources should be put in the first place.

9.  Compiling the problems from the standpoint of Ideal Final Result (IFR)

   Compile a number of problems according to the pattern (given below) using the identified resources in turns - first the Non-Desirable Component, then harmful, excessive, neutral components, and - after all the others - useful components:

     "Component (indicate component from paragraph 8.4) using (indicate its field resource from paragraph 8.2) does not allow (indicate a Non-desirable event, paragraph 3)".

   All other problems should be compiled according to the same pattern.


In some cases it is reasonable to formulate problems implying concurrent (joint) use of two and more resources.

  It is desirable that each variant of the problem is illustrated with two drawings: "as-is" (paragraph 7.3) and "as-should-be" (according to the problem formulation). To diminish the influence of thinking inertia, it is recommended to use the modeling method of Smart Little Men (SLM). 

10.  Identification of contradictions in problems.

In each problem (compiled in item 9) a component should be identified, which experiences incompatible (contradictory) requirements in terms of its physical (!) condition for the attainment of the stated goal (IFR). These requirements should be registered in the following wordings:

          10.1. "The component (indicate the component from paragraph 9) in order to perform (indicate the function from paragraph 2) should be (indicate the first required action or physical condition, which, as a rule, already characterizes the analyzed component).

          10.2. "The component (indicate the component from paragraph 9) in order to eliminate (indicate non-desirable Event from paragraph 4) should be (indicate the second required action or physical condition, which does not characterize the component, but which is necessary for the attainment of the goal stated in paragraph 9).

11.Refinement of problems formulation.

 Reformulate the problems taking the contradictions identified in paragraph 10 into account; in doing so:

         11.1. If the requirements indicated in paragraphs 10.1 and 10.2 should be fulfilled at one and the same moment, such contradiction is resolved by distributing these requirements within the space of the component. The problem is formulated according to the following pattern:

    "The component (indicate the component from paragraph 10) for elimination (indicate a Non-desirable Event from paragraph 3) is subdivided into two parts, one of which, (indicate the first required action or physical condition from paragraph 10.1) and the other, using  (indicate field resource of the component from paragraph 8.2.) at the same time (indicate the second required action or physical condition from paragraph 10.2)»


         11.2. If the requirements indicated in paragraphs 10.1. и 10.2. should necessarily be fulfilled in one and the same place, this contradiction is resolved through distribution of these requirements in time. The problem is formulated according to the following pattern:


      "The Component (indicate the component from paragraph 10), for elimination (indicate the Non-desirable Event from paragraph 3) during (indicate the technological moment from paragraph 5) performs or becomes, (indicate the first required action or physical condition from paragraph 10.1) and during (indicate another technological moment) using (indicate field resource of the component from paragraph 8.2) performs or becomes (indicate the second required action or physical condition from paragraph 10.2).


          11.3. If the requirements indicated in paragraphs 10.1 and 10.2 should be fulfilled in one (!) place and at one and the same (!) moment, while the principles given in paragraphs  11.1 and 11.2 are inefficient, such contradiction is resolved through changing of system relationships in the component proper.

The following techniques are used for this purpose:

·   Converting the component into bi- or poly-system (disintegration),

·   Converting the component into another aggregate state – solid, liquid, gaseous, plasma (field).

·   The use of opportunities, which are available only at microlevel of the substance of the component, through implementation of certain physical-and-chemical effect or other effect. (See registers of physical, chemical, geometrical, biological and other effects).

In such cases the problem is recompiled according to the pattern given below:

   - "The Component (indicate the component from paragraph 10), for elimination of (indicate the non-desirable Event from paragraph 3) during (indicate a technological moment from paragraph 5) becomes (bi-system or poly-system, (disintegrates), or acquires another aggregate state or displays a certain physical and chemical effect (indicate, what is required) and performs  (indicates desirable action, function from paragraph 2)"


Each variant should be illustrated with two drawings:  "As-is" and "As-should-be".

 To obtain final solutions, the formulated problems are solved using TRIZ tools - techniques, standards, Su-field analysis, and ARIZ.

12.    Evaluation of formulated PROBLEMS.

    To select from a number of formulated problems (or solutions, if they have appeared at this stage) those, which eliminate the disadvantage and bring the system closer to the ideal, i.e.: 

  • Simplify the design while ensuring the function performance and reliability of operation.
  • Increase the number of functions performed by the system (introducing insignificant changes into the design).
  • Components of the system are trimmed into an operating member.
  • Transfer at least part of the functions to the supersystem elements.


It may happen in real life, when preference is given not to the best (approaching the ideal) formulations and solutions, but to the ones, which though being cumbersome and energy consuming, at the current moment could be implemented quickly because already available ready equipment and materials could be used. However, later when the economic requirements become more stringent, the necessity to return to initial wordings and solutions will be more acute.


    1.  G.S.Altshuller. Creative Activity as Exact Science. Moscow. "Sovietskoje radio", 1979.

    2.  G.S.Altshuller. To Find an Idea. Novosibirsk. "Nauka", 1986.

    3. G.S.Altshuller, B.L.Zlotin, A.V.Zusman, V.I.Filatov. The Search for New Ideas. Kishinyov, "Cartia mldovenjaska". 1989.

    4.  Yu.P.Salamatov. How to Become an Inventor. Moscow, "Prosveschenije". 1990.

    5   A.M.Pinyaev. Function Analysis of Inventive Situations. "TRIZ Journal", No.1. 1990.                                                                                         

    6   G.I.Ivanov. Formulas of Creative Activity or How to Learn to Invent. Moscow, "Prosveschenije". 1994.

    7. G.I.Ivanov, A.A.Bystritsky. Formulation of Creative Problems. Chelyabinsk, 2000.

    8.   Yu. P.Salamatov. System of Trends of Engineering Evolution. (Part 1) . Minsk - Krasnoyarsk. 1990. 

    9.  A.I.Ponomarenko. Selecting the Problem Using the Operator of Negation of Non-Desirable Action. "TRIZ Journal", No. 1, 1995.

   10.  A.V.Podkatilin. TRIZ in Designing Activity. "TRIZ Journal", No.3, 1996. 

   11. V.A.Korolyov. Modern Trends in ARIZ Development. "Creative Activity Technologies", No.1, 1998.

       "TRIZ-info", Chelyabinsk.

        12. Materials of electronic sites of the International TRIZ Association.



Appendix No.1

Types of engineering problems


All problems associated with the technogenic activity of humans could be subdivided into the following types:


·  Emergency problems.

 Main features:   

Occurrence in the engineering system of independently developing uncontrolled processes, which lead to the destruction of the engineering system proper and the environment.

·   Production-and-technological problems.

Main features:   

Failures, interruptions, non-rhythmical character and inefficiency of the main technological process. Situations, in which values of technological parameters fall outside the admissible limits, occurrence of reject, and adverse influence upon the environment.

·      Designing problems.

: Main features: 

Low productivity of engineering system, high consumption of energy and large dimensions (weight), non-reliability, short service life and complicated design


Solving of design problems can take the following directions:

            Development of existing system.

             All parts of a system are changed, except for the operating member, which remains the same on purpose, changing only its dimension and quantitative parameters.

            Creation of new system.

The operating member is changed, which operates based on new physical principles, other parts of the system may remain the same or also may be changed.

·      Scientific problems.

Main features:

 Absence of information on developing physical-and-chemical processes, non-coincidence of obtained result with the expected one, appearance of the unknown.


The authors believe that for every type of the problem there should be its own algorithm for problem formulation.

The authors have already developed the algorithm for selection and formulation of problems from production and technological situation – AVIZ(p)2000. Other algorithms are at the stage of development.


G.I.Ivanov. Е-mail



Appendix No. 2


Engineering problems description levels.


Description of any engineering problem could be performed at the following levels: 

Social-and-administrative, Technological/Engineering, and Physical.


Social-and-administrative level of problem description:

Problem description is performed at the level of supersystem, or with the employment of supersystem elements. A conflict between the environment and engineering system is described, or between the human and the results of his work. The description reflects financial, organizational, operational and ecological troubles.


        "The manufacturing plant pays significant fines for contaminating adjacent territories. Concrete gutters through which fluid wastes are removed, are overfilled and the wastes are poured to the earth. The technological departments of the manufacturing plant should urgently take measures for the elimination of the indicated disadvantage and provide transportation of fluid wastes without contamination of adjacent territories".


Technological/Engineering level of problem description: -

   The description is performed at the level of the system, where the problem occurred. The conflict between two and more engineering systems is described. As a rule, the description reflects functional-and-technological troubles and it is proposed to eliminate the disadvantage at the level of analyzed system.


      Concrete gutters for transportation of fluid wastes get clogged with sediments and overfilled. It is impossible to increase the incline angle of the gutters. Manual cleaning is labor consuming and ineffective. The employment of mechanical self-propelled scrubbers is associated with significant consumption of materials, electric energy and with making the system more complicated. Propose a method or a device for efficient cleaning of the gutters.


Physical level of problem description:

The description is performed at the level of subsystem components and reflects the undesirable physical-and-chemical processes or phenomena developing in them. A conflict is described, which affects one (!) component of the analyzed system, to which contradictory or incompatible requirements are imposed in terms of its physical (!) condition. It is proposed to eliminate the disadvantage at the level of subsystem elements.


 During the drainage of fluid wastes through the gutters solid particles, which stay in these wastes, loose bouyancy  and get deposited at the bottom, thus clogging the gutter. Propose a method for loss of bouyancy by the solid wastes.


As we see, at all the briefness of problem description, it contains answers to all basic questions - "Where?" - in the gutters, "When?" - during the drainage of wastes, "What happens?" – the particles get deposited to the bottom, "Why?"- they loose buoyancy.


   The description of any engineering problem should be brought to physical level, i.e., particular physical-and-chemical processes should be described, which occur in subsystem elements and which are the reason for the generation of the problem.




Appendix No. 3




Second name, first name, patronymic ………………………………………………..

Place of employment, position………………………………………………

Address of the enterprise, phone, fax, E-mail. …………………………...


1- Indicate the name of the problem. …………………………………………..


2 – Indicate to what type of problem the analyzed situation relates.


If not a single type of problem is suitable in your situation, indicate your own ……………… ……… ………………..


3 - Make a detailed drawing of the analyzed engineering system or technical drawings of it.


4 – Describe (in free form) the analyzed system in static.


5 - Describe (in free form) the analyzed system in dynamic (in operation).

     At that, describe the developing physical processes with maximum accuracy and truthfulness, answering the questions:

· "WHAT happens?" - describe the undesirable physical process that occurs in the system, constitutes a disadvantage and requires elimination. 

· "Where does it happen?" - indicate a particular place (unit, part, component) where the disadvantage is observed. 

·  "When does it happen?" - indicate at what moment of performing a technological step or  physical process the disadvantage occurs.

· "Why does it happen?" - indicate the reason for the emergence of an undesirable physical process (disadvantage).


   If there are no definite and truthful answers to the above-indicated questions, further analysis of the problem situation will be inefficient.


6 - Describe, what measures were taken earlier for solving the analyzed problem and why these measures turned out to be inefficient.


7 -  Indicate what final result is required in solving the problem.

 8 - Indicate the anticipated economic or other effect in case of successive solving of the problem.


The description should be prepared on separate pages and should be signed by the author.

The description should relate to one particular object of the engineering system. In case it is impossible to fulfill this requirement, the analyzed situation is subdivided into a number of independent problems and an individual SEPARATE description is compiled for each of these problems.

                Their recommendation is compiled by G.I.Ivanov. Е-mail