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Experimental Assessment of TRIZ Effectiveness in Idea Generation

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.612.1 - 25.612.13



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Paper Authors


Noe Vargas Hernandez University of Texas, El Paso

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Noe Vargas Hernandez researches creativity and innovation in engineering design. He studies ideation methods, journaling, smartpens, and other methods and technology to aid designers in improving their creativity levels. He also applies his research to the design of rehabilitation devices (in which he has various patents under process) and design for sustainability.

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Linda C. Schmidt University of Maryland, College Park

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Linda C. Schmidt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland. Schmidt earned B.S. (1989) and M.S. (1991) degrees in from Iowa State University for work in industrial engineering. Schmidt completed her doctorate in mechanical engineering (1995) at Carnegie Mellon University with research in grammar-based generative design. Schmidt's research interests are in understanding the process by which early stage, engineering design tasks are successfully completed so that we can devise effective methods for learning design and preserving knowledge that arises in the process. Schmidt is the 2008 recipient of the ASEE's Fred Merryfield Design Award.

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Gül E. Okudan Kremer Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Experimental Assessment of TRIZ Effectiveness in Idea GenerationTRIZ is an idea generation method that identifies conflicting principles in a given problem andthen searches for previous solutions that have solved similar conflicts. How effective is TRIZ?This is an important question since it is conducive to a second question: what makes TRIZ(more, or less) effective? Understanding this provides the opportunity to improve the teaching ofTRIZ, a more efficient use, and even the possibility of improving the method itself. In this paperwe present results from experiments comparing TRIZ against control groups; the experimentswere conducted simultaneously at three institutions: UTEP, Penn State, and University ofMaryland. Besides contrasting results at different institutions, the variety of experiments allowsus to contrast participants at the graduate and the undergraduate level (all of them engineeringstudents), contrasting two different design problems, and collaborative vs. individual TRIZprocesses. In order to have significant results, we followed a rigorous experimental procedure forwhich a set of guidelines were produced. Such experimental guidelines address (1) Design ofExperiment, (2) Execution of the Experiment, and (3) Assessment of Results. With respect toassessment, we used traditional outcome-based metrics (quantity, quality, novelty and variety)and adapt and improve them to solve some of their issues at the conceptual (definitions) andimplementation (operationalization) levels.Our experimental results indicate that TRIZ improves some of the metrics while worsening someother. This implies that some ideation methods are better for some tasks, depending on theoutcome sought. In general, the ideation method is a complex process, even underexperimentally controlled settings; this indicates that the ideation method outcome is dependenton the involved variables: subject, design task, design method, and other environmentalvariables. It then would make sense to qualify our results with these variables; further, therecommendation of a particular idea generation method should be based on the informationprovided on these variables.

Vargas Hernandez, N., & Schmidt, L. C., & Okudan Kremer, G. E. (2012, June), Experimental Assessment of TRIZ Effectiveness in Idea Generation Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21369

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