# Solving a selected problem

**Problem and problem-solving goal**

The problems are finally defined and we can proceed to the second stage of the work – solving them.

At the first stage, we have studied the machine structure and operation, identified the conflict, proposed working hypotheses, i.e. determined the variants of conditions under which the conflict disappears. Some hypotheses are easy to implement and they are in fact problem solution variants. If it is not clear how to implement a hypothesis, we formulate a problem on its basis. The hypothesis suggests that some change should be made in the system and the problem brings up a question of how to implement the change in the circumstances of a specific useful system.

Problem solving is aimed at correcting the problem-generating circumstances in the operational zone. To do that, it is necessary to transform the problem system and obtain its alternative versions that are free of the original disadvantage.

**Hill-shaped scheme**

A problem-solving process based on any model is well described by a hill-shaped scheme that includes three transitions:

- from a problem statement to an abstract model of the problem
- from the abstract model of the problem to an abstract solution model
- from the abstract solution model to a specific solution

The reasoning chain is built in the following way.

The *problem* that refers to some real objects is transformed into its *abstract model *which reflects, in a simplified form, the main properties of the objects being improved or the relationships between them. In this case, it is not the problem itself that is transformed, but its model at the abstract level. The abstract model is transformed into a *solution model*, i.e. a general idea of what change is required for achieving the goal. Then it is necessary to understand what resources we can use to implement the abstract idea *at the real level*.

The following procedure is evident:

- build a problem model
- transform it into a solution model
- determine resource requirements
- generate a solution

For example: “it is necessary measure the distance to some object – initial point and object – initial point and object supplemented with some measuring device – apply a laser rangefinder.”

**Supporting the hill-shaped scheme with TRIZ tools**

The approach illustrated by the hill-shaped scheme is unconsciously used by a person for solving any problem. It also turned out to be very promising for solving inventive problems. The difference between the inventor's thinking and ordinary, non-reflective thinking is that when performing all three transitions of the hill-shaped scheme, we can transform them using standard models and heuristic tools developed in TRIZ. These are various types of contradictions, su-field models, smart little creatures, simplified physical copies of the system being improved, graphic, mathematical and other models.

Thus, we can use standard problem models developed in TRIZ. The models can be transformed into solution models using respective heuristic tools: methods of eliminating technical and physical contradictions, standard solutions to problems, rules for transforming other models. The result of these actions will be an abstract description of the problem solution.

As for the third step - transition from a solution model to a technical solution, you need to identify resources required for problem solving and to incorporate them into the solution model in an optimal way. The best way is doing this in two steps: first, making a detailed description of a required resource, a kind of a "resource sketch", and then finding a resource (or a set of resources) that satisfies these requirements.

This provides us with a serious methodological support in solving the problem.

Thus, within the hill-shaped scheme, we act in the following manner:

- Formulate the existing disadvantage, what exactly we want to improve.
- Find the principal idea of how to obtain the required result, what action should be performed for this purpose.
- Think about what resources we need to implement this idea and use it for improving a particular machine, find those resources and turn the idea into a real solution.

**The solving part of AIPS-2015**

The solving part of the AIPS-2015 algorithm can be represented by the following scheme:

To solve a problem in accordance with the AIPS algorithm, four problem models are provided. These models allow us to look at the problem from four different points of view and thereby to understand it well and to obtain a satisfactory solution.

The four models are:

- conditions in the operational zone
- actions in the operational zone
- technical contradiction
- physical contradiction

The work with problem models is carried out as follows. Try to immediately correct the problem-causing circumstances in the operational zone. This can be done by introducing new components or transforming the existing ones. Here the problem model «Conditions in the operational zone» is applied.

The second direction is working with the actions, which, when implemented, create circumstances existing the operational zone. Perhaps these actions are not performed effectively enough, or vice versa, they are excessive. There may also be other problems relating to the execution of the actions. For this purpose, the model «Actions in the operational zone» is used.

We can obtain a suitable solution right after the first two iterations. If the attempts to improve the circumstances in the operational zone and the actions performed cause the worsening of some system parameters, a situation occurs that is called technical contradiction in TRIZ.

If it becomes clear in the course of problem solving that contradictory requirements are made of the same parameter or component of the system, we are talking about a physical contradiction.

**Scenario of working with problem models**

The AIPS-2015 algorithm has a certain problem-solving tactics.

First of all, it is the above-presented scheme of actions.

- Search for a solution by examining the conditions in the operational zone and actions performed
- Build and resolve arising technical contradictions
- Detect and eliminate physical contradictions

In addition, there is a certain tactics for working on the problem which is based on the four recommended models of the problem.

To enter the solving part of the algorithm, you can start with any model of the problem. As a rule, it is the model that suits best for the selected hypothesis. After completing the problem-solving process, we obtain a preliminary solution which is designed to improve a certain parameter of the useful system. If no harmful phenomena occur after that, it means that a solution to the problem has been found. If the obtained idea is not fully satisfactory, the process should be repeated. This can be done by using any model of the problem without any limitations.

One of the scenarios of working on a problem is shown in the picture.

According to this scenario, after obtaining a solution idea for any model, the first thing to do is checking it for the appearance of a technical contradiction and trying to formulate a physical contradiction.

This proceeds as follows.

It may happen that the solution idea improves the required parameter of the system but causes the worsening of one or more of its other parameters. There arises a situation called technical contradiction in TRIZ. Accordingly, right after obtaining any solution, it would be useful to check, whether it contains a technical contradiction. If it does, the contradiction should be detected and resolved.

The simplest and most advantageous way to solve the problem is identifying and eliminating a physical contradiction. You should aim at this at any problem-solving step, i.e. constantly ask yourself whether it is possible to formulate a physical contradiction. That is, you should try to move to a physical contradiction after any iteration, because eliminating it generates good solution ideas.

Thus, the solving part of the algorithm contains two important models where the mental efforts of the solver are focused: a physical contradiction which helps to quickly find a solution idea and a technical contradiction which can be resolved using available effective tools.

**About the work with TRIZ-trainer**

**At the input** of the “Solving a selected problem” step, we have a problem statement formulated as one of the standard models. The **output** is a solution idea.

When working with problem models, these can be used in any order. Concurrently, it is necessary to keep eye on appearing contradictions, identify and eliminate them using respective tools.