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Teaching those who want to invent - School for Creative Thinkers

“Not only did I have to invent, I had to help those who wanted to invent as well,” - it is for this reason that Genrich Altshuller was propelled to comb through scientific libraries for a methodology of inventing. His failure to find even the most elementary book on the subject back then in the mid 1940’s triggered him to develop the TRIZ methodology.

Almost 70 years after that initial step, the TRIZ community in Malaysia has the opportunity to continue the spirit of sharing the knowledge and teaching more people to invent. More than 200 participants from various parts of Malaysia responded to the invitation to attend the School for Creative Thinkers workshop offered by the Education for a New Era.

The Education for a New Era is an international laboratory with the goal of developing an education system for teaching problem solving skills and creativity.  It is a not-for-profit organization with members from all over the world.

MyTRIZ was fortunate enough to secure the support of Mr. Anatoly Guin and Dr. Mark Barkan to be in Malaysia for a month in order to facilitate six introductory workshops.  The workshop was based on the tools for solving Open Problems. Open Problems are problems whereby there are no standard solutions. The participants were very lucky to receive first-hand knowledge and guidance from these two ‘gurus’ on the subject.

The workshops were organized from 7-28 November 2013 at Melaka, Cyberjaya, Kuching and Penang. These workshops were made possible through the support and sponsorship from Intel Corporation, Multimedia Development Corporation, Malaysia Productivity Corporation, Institution of Mechanical Engineers Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka.

The workshop aimed at equipping teachers, lecturers and parents with the techniques of creativity development for children of various ages.  The workshops received overwhelming positive feedback. We would like to share some of the participant experiences.

“This is an interesting workshop and it helps me a lot in order to be more creative. There is a lot of information about creative thinking skills which I can use to share with my students,” said a school teacher from Melaka.

“I love the stories.   They are very inspiring and learnt a lot from them.  I was surprised at how much I did not know. It is a great feeling!” a lecturer from Setapak enthused.

“The approach of learning to educate the children is something different, interesting and new. This workshop really motivates me to be a better teacher. I learnt that for every open problem, there are various solutions, which are accepted. There is no right or wrong answers. There are various techniques and games that can make a subject to be taught in a creative way.  The solutions for every thinking process are surprisingly good,” said another lecturer from Kuala Lumpur.

“I like the idea and theory. It is very intelligent!” quipped a lecturer from Penang.

The workshop covered a broad range of techniques. Some of the more favored topics were around the development of creative imagination, the technique of asking questions and the challenges of solving Open Problems. The participants were able to learn the technique to develop their creative imagination through exercises such as creating new kinds of sports activities and designing their own version of an alien.

While the techniques seem to be more suitable for school children, the industrial folks also found them to be useful.  An engineer from a multinational company said that one should not stop thinking.  We need to continue to ask questions to solve problems or get the right answers.  The workshop certainly provides the participants with a lot of information on how to help the students ask the right questions in order to solve problems.

“For the past three days, I have never been as excited and full of ideas like this before. I feel like my true self when I was a child!” mentioned a quality director from a local conglomerate.

Most participants could not wait to return to their community and share what they had learnt. Some have stepped forward, indicating their willingness to volunteer their time and energy to adapt the technique to the local needs. Some are keen to participate in the global School for Creative Thinkers initiative.

As profoundly stated by Altshuller, “My only intention is to show that the process of solving problems is accessible to anyone, it is important to learn and very exciting to work through.”   With the excitement generated, the spirit to share the technique and teach more inventors will continue.  MyTRIZ wishes the participants success in their journey into the brave new world of creativity.  Always dare to think!

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The Malaysia TRIZ Innovation Association (MyTRIZ) is a non-profit organization that exists for the benefit of those who know the TRIZ methodology, want to learn TRIZ, and wish to apply TRIZ for the benefit of all mankind in the country.

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