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My maiden trip to TRIZ-Fest 2013

There is a time each year when the TRIZ practitioners from all around the world gather. In the summer of 2013, International TRIZ Association (MATRIZ) hosted the festival in Kiev.  But wait … where is Kiev?  What is there in Kiev?  Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. It is located on both sides of River Dnieper.  Kiev is the soul of Ukraine, known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world where you can find historic sites at every corner of every street.

At TRIZ-Fest, the community shares their knowledge, research findings and experiences.  It is also a platform to celebrate the installation of new TRIZ Masters.  The event which is in the 8th year running has become a tradition and much looked forward to by all the TRIZ practitioners around the world.

Issac Lim is a Mechanical Engineering post graduate student from Monash University.  He embarked on learning TRIZ as a major topic of study influenced by his father.  His father who was formerly working in the oil and gas industry has learned about the methodology.  But being a father, the task has never been more difficult as it is becoming more competitive and tougher in the job market.  He wanted to share some tips with his son so as to get him ahead in his career.

During the MyTRIZ Conference in November 2012, Dr. Mark Barkan who was the chief organizer of the TRIZ-Fest 2013 and former President of MATRIZ, marketed the event to the Malaysian participants.  Issac who was a presenter at the conference was keen to explore the celebrated event. He was sure that it will give him great chance to acquire advanced TRIZ knowledge from the experts. 

Issac started to monitor the preparation of the TRIZ Fest and also inquired about travel expenses. When the event agenda was published in March 2013, it provided more information and it compelled him to make the trip.  But how can he afford the trip?  Where will he gather the travel budget from?  As a graduate student, he barely has enough to get by for his studies.  These questions kept repeating in Issac’s mind.

Putting the resource questions aside, Issac went on with his studies until one day, he received an email inviting submission for papers to present at the TRIZ Fest.  He submitted a paper and left the decision up to fate – if accepted, he would make the trip.

As it turned out, fate was on his side. Much to his delight, his paper was accepted and all that was left was to find the funding to make the trip. Luckily for him, he had been facilitating the MyProCert TRIZ workshops at several universities, which was sufficient to fund the trip.

He wondered to himself if his paper entitled “Adaptation of TRIZ to Improve the Eco-Efficiency of Products of Various Engineering Industries” would be interesting enough to impress the TRIZ masters, worrying that they might find it too fundamental. He figured that since he was selected, he might as well proceed to present his paper at the TRIZ Fest 2013.

TRIZ Fest 2013 - Development of Creative Thinkers

TRIZ Fest 2013 was hosted at the Hotel RUS, Kiev.  It is located in downtown Kiev and has close to 350 rooms. It is strategically located and within walking distance to all the heritage sites.

The TRIZ Fest spanned over a period of four days. On the first day, there were multiple workshops conducted by the different TRIZ Masters. The second day was a full day of presentations by researchers on various TRIZ developments.  The Fest provided solid networking opportunities. Many interesting topics were discussed by the participants. These topics were gathered and several TRIZ Masters took the lead to organize round table discussions on the third day of the event. Finally, the much anticipated TRIZ Master Dissertation session was conducted before the event concluded. Seasoned TRIZ practitioners presented and defended their TRIZ research topics to a panel of seven TRIZ Masters. Four dedicated TRIZ practitioners were awarded the TRIZ Master title at the TRIZ-Fest 2013. The coveted title was a reward for the contribution of their research work towards the body of knowledge of TRIZ.

Issac’s presentation was scheduled on the second day as the third presenter. The presentation went well and he received several good inputs.  The sharing to the actual propagators of TRIZ provided an acid test to his thesis in terms of practicality in industry and the depth of research.  The inputs will assist Issac to convince the faculty back home who frequently challenge the validity of TRIZ research in an engineering field.  The objections and oppositions were expected as TRIZ is relatively young and unknown in most parts of the local academic world.

Issac took the opportunity to attend several presentations.  He personally likes the presentations by Dr Oliver Meyer of General Electric and Cho Jun Hee of SK Hynix.  In Dr Meyer’s presentation, he explained the different tools used by General Electric in developing more efficient photovoltaic panels. This is important as there is an increasing shift towards renewable energy usage. As for Jun Hee, he explained the total TRIZ immersion workshop conducted in his company. Selected employees are placed in an isolated region for two days to learn TRIZ. Almost all the participants generated valuable ideas during the immersion process.  This approach is highly recommended for companies to teach and apply TRIZ.

Issac has strongly recommended MyTRIZ to invite Valeri Souchkov to Malaysia for the MyTRIZ Conference in 2014.  Mr. Souchkov was recently granted the TRIZ Master recognition by merit for his contribution to the TRIZ body of knowledge for the past 25 years. His vast list of clientele from diverse industries includes Royal Dutch Shell, Philips, Unilever, Siemens, LG and ING.  He has trained more than 4,000 top management professionals in TRIZ from over 60 countries.  Issac is sure that his sharing will benefit the Malaysia TRIZ community.

Issac made several international friends who are TRIZ avid fans in their own way. The good thing about the networking opportunity at this event was that you did not need to explain anything about TRIZ.  Everyone there was involved with TRIZ in one way or another. Some were beginners and some were experts.  Some were self-taught and some were from the inner circle of originally trained by Genrich Altshuller.

Everyone there were so willing to share about their successes and challenges in practicing TRIZ.  Occasionally, there were some disagreements but it always ended in the agree-to-disagree mode.  Issac was impressed that the debates about TRIZ philosophies were carried out on an intellectual basis and not an emotional one.  The contacts made will come handy for future research and business collaborations.

Highly recommended to attend TRIZ Fest

On the last day before departing home, Issac had the opportunity to explore the city.  Issac was able to visit multiple UNESCO heritage sites.  All the sites are within walking distance from the hotel.  Issac described it as follows, “Every angle of the scenery was fit for a postcard or wall paper snap shot.  It is really beautiful and pictorial”.

The venue for next year has yet to be determined by the MATRIZ.  A few TRIZ associations from Europe and Asia are in the process of bidding to host the annual international conference.  This is a good indication of a healthy trend of interest and propagation of TRIZ across the world.

“The first-hand knowledge and experience that I have gained from TRIZ-Fest will carry on for a long way in my future TRIZ endeavors.  You will be inspired to know the vast potential of TRIZ after observing the things that have been done through it by the participants. It is an event not to be missed whether you are a beginner or seasoned TRIZ practitioner.”, rallied Issac to the MyTRIZ community.

Issac Lim returned from the TRIZ-Fest fully charged and is eagerly waiting to share his experience with the TRIZ community in Malaysia and regions.  Issac is the MyTRIZ Treasurer and reachable through email issaclss@gmail.com

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