Problem Solving Innovators Club


Meeting in Palo Alto, next - July 12

This is a club for people who are interested in invention and innovation technologies, problem solving, dialectics, systems science, evolution of systems, TRIZ. We will research and learn creative methods of problem solving and construction of systems, systems thinking, and thinking out of the box. Engineers, creatives, investors, philosophers, patent lawyers, warriors, politicians, all others who meet crucial challenging problems can find it useful.


Next meeting July 12, 2018, Palo Alto JCC, room D129, 8-10pm

1. Presentation. "Useful-Harmful" Functional Analysis of a System (UHFA)

2. Problem solving session;

"Useful-Harmful" Functional Analysis or UHFA reveals root-cause problems and directions of improvements. It prioritizes them for further creative and inventive work.

As the result of UHFA of a particular system, a graph of functions of elements and existing harmful effects is devised. The specific of it is that it is intended for use by inventors. The main idea is that some elements (natural or technical) perform useful functions as well as produce harmful side effects in addition to existing ones revealing conflicts in the system: the critical parts which require significant amount of creative work to improve.

How to make an invention? There are three paths: 1) by inventing a new function and trying to implement it; 2) by discovering a new property and making the use of it; 3) by improving existing technologies and products. UHFA deals with 3). UHFA can be applied to other systems, including the natural ones.

Nodes of the graphs represent functions. There are only 3 (three) relations among the nodes: "is required for", "causes", and "is introduced to eliminate". While building the functional graph, there are 8 (eight) questions helping in identification of the surrounding new nodes.

UHFA graph of even a simple system may contain hundreds of nodes. A number of inventive problems may be associated with one, two, or three nodes. There are 5 types of such problems. Common sense, business goals, and the trends of evolution (of natural and technical systems) may help in prioritization them. After the problems are identified and prioritized, there are numerous methods (we research them at our club meetings) helping to solve them. Even not coming to the creative stage, while building UHFA a deeper understanding comes as well as multitude of useful solutions.

Conventional designs, structural diagrams, and technological scheduling and recipes do not contain the information found in UHFA. UHFA can be applied as a tool for development as well as kept as a document to preserve and convey the knowledge of experts: why this or that element is there and why the history of the development took this or that course. A separate and important task is alignment of UHFA diagrams with structural ones, since functions and harmful effects may result from combinations of system elements and their interaction with environment. Note that conventional functional diagrams are not the same as UHFA. They do not answer the questions "Why?".

At our next meeting we will investigate how to build and use UHFA with examples of real-life inventive problems.



Next meeting: June 28, 2018, Palo Alto JCC, room D129

1. Presentation. Some less known methods of problem solving. A story involving  "provocation" method.

2. Problem solving session;

The presentation at the first meeting was not as attractive as the problem solving session which was driving creative emotions. This time we will enlarge the problem solving session. The book "Junctions" and the free principles listing will be available.

Remark. Please do not disclose problems offered at the meetings. Mostly, because there are not that many interesting problems suitable for wide audience to solve. And especially never disclose answers: Let other people have opportunity to practice the problem solving. Knowing an answer does not help as much as skills acquired while solving. It is not answers we are looking for, but the ability to solve problems in the most difficult situations.



The meeting went well! After the short introduction to the book, we solved two problems illustrating several inventive principles. One problem was on the level of a real strong invention. People were captivated and interested. "That was unexpected". Obviously! What else would you expect from an inventive situation!?

"I just wanted to thank you for last week's meeting.  It was informative, enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. I'm looking forward to the next meeting."

So far in our arsenal we have 52 inventive principles, 77 "standard" solutions to inventive problems, 40-steps heuristic algorithm of dialectical problem analysis and solution, 100s of problems to sharpen minds, methods of brainstorming and morphological analysis, etc. Our main goal is to learn it, use it, practice dialectics and systems science, social skills, and stability to psychological impact.

See you next time: June 28, 2018, Palo Alto JCC, room D129


The first meeting is on June 14, the next - June 28, 2018 at 8pm. Address: Room D129 at Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life
3921 Fabian Way | Palo Alto, CA 94303 (San Antonio exit from 101. Entrance from Fabian. Pass security and go into the garage. Mention the Innovators Club). We intend to meet twice a month for two hours. This is a club, we learn, practice, speak, and discuss.
Innovators Club at JCC Palo Alto.

Agenda of the first meeting:

  1. Presentation of the "Junctions. On How Worlds are Connected" book by Igor Polk, what it is about and what is inventive problem solving. Are there productive methods to help? A list of 51 inventive methods will be handed;
  2. Problem solving session;
  3. Organization will be discussed.