Course syllabus


TIF186 Creative problem solving in engineering lp2 HT19 (7.5 hp)

This course is offered by the department of Physics

Contact details

Teacher & Examiner

Giovanni Volpe
S1019 in Soliden building

Course purpose

This course introduces a systematic method – TRIZ – to develop innovative solutions to challenging problems in many engineering disciplines. The basic idea behind TRIZ is that many engineering problems arise from conflicting demands: a fabric that needs to be permeable and waterproof, a cutting board that needs to be stiff and soft, a keyboard that needs to be large enough to type on but fit in a pocket, etc... The conventional engineering approach to conflicts is optimization (find a shade of gray that is neither too white nor too black), while TRIZ is a method that aims to satisfy both conflicting demands. TRIZ is widely used in many industries, and is based on a set of general principles that allow us to identify the fundamental conflicts and devise solutions to eliminate them. One aspect of TRIZ is to identify evolutionary trends in engineering systems that guide the search for solutions. A complementary technique is abstraction of conflicts in terms of relevant materials, forces and tools, which frequently leads to the realization that a similar problem has already been solved in another context. More often than not, the solution turns out to be a new application of old physics.

The course will feature a series of workshops that combine lectures with hands-on exercises, and a project work in multidisciplinary teams exploring solutions to real life problems in different engineering branches. TIF186 is well suited to engineering students with a variety of backgrounds, and is specifically aimed at students in the second year of a M.Sc. program.



Course literature


TRIZ for Engineers: Enabling Inventive Problem Solving (Avaliable as e-book at Chalmers library)
Karen Gadd
ISBN:  978-0-470-74188-7

Additional resource

Innovation on Demand: New Product Development Using TRIZ  (Avaliable as e-book at Chalmers library)
Victor Fey and Eugene Rivin
ISBN: 978-0-521-82620-4

Course design

 Date & time Topic  What to prepare 

Tue. Nov. 5


In-class warm-up exercise, introduction to TRIZ, and adminstrative information.

Fri. Nov 8

 Workshop 1

TRIZ workflow

Problem description and identification of contradictions.

Technical and Physical contradictions.

Description and solution of technical contradictions. 

Description and solution of physical contradictions.

Read Chapters 1-4 of Gadd.



Read Chapter 5 and Appendix "The 40 principles" of Gadd.

Thu. Nov 14

Examination 1

In-class discussion of the answers to Homework 1.

Homework 1 (submission deadline Nov. 13)

Tue. Nov. 19

Workshop 2

Other tricks.

9 windows, smart little people, size-time-cost, bad solutions park.

Problem identification (for Project).

In-class discussion of the problems to be dealt with in the projects. 

Read Chapter 1 and 4 of Gadd.


Each group proposes 3 problems (before the class) and their companion group chooses which one to solve (in class).

Thu. Nov. 28

Examination 2

In-class discussion of the answers to Homework 2.

 Homework 2 (submission deadline Nov. 27)

Tue. Dec. 3

Workshop 3

Trends of evolution.

Description of the various TRIZ trends of evolution.

 Read Chapter 9 of Gadd. 

Tue. Dec. 10

Examination 3 

In-class discussion of the answers to Homework 3.

Homework 3 (submission deadline Dec. 9)

Tue. Dec. 17

Project presentation (Examination)

Each group will present their project. A Q&A session will follow. 

 Project presentation
and (draft of) project report (submission deadline Dec. 16)


Learning objectives and syllabus

Learning objectives:

Structure engineering problems in a systematical way using functional diagrams and 9-windows.
 Identify system conflicts in technical systems.
 Analyze engineering problems with the help of the Contradiction Matrix, Substance-Fields, and ARIZ - the algorithm of inventive problem solving.
 Suggest solutions to engineering problems based on 40 Inventive principles and 76 Standard solutions.
 Identify evolutionary trends for a technological system and predict its future evolution based on S-curve analysis.
 Work efficiently in interdisciplinary project groups and present results both orally and in written.

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan

Examination form

The assessment comprises:

1) Homework 1 (14%)

2) Homework 2 (13%)

3) Homework 3 (13%)

4) Project presentation (30%)

5) Project report (30%)

All classes and workshops are mandatory.

Final grades: 
>60% - 3
>80% - 4
>90% - 5


MATRIZ - The International association of TRIZ

TRIZ-Fest 2015 (full conference proceedings from the 11th International TRIZ conference)

Triz education companies 

The TRIZ-journal

Triz software companies

Swedish TRIZ companies

TRIZ tool site(s)

Effects data base


Course summary:

Date Details Due