Genrich Altshuller (Genrich Saulovich Altshuller; 15 October 1926 – 24 September 1998) was a Soviet inventor, engineer, scientist, journalist, and author. He is best known for his Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), a methodology for systematic innovation.
Biography Genrich Altshuller
Genrich Altshuller was born in Tashkent, in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. His family later moved to Baku where he spent most of his childhood.
Since his childhood, Genrich Altshuller has always been working on inventions. He researched methods that could help him invent products that offer solutions to existing problems. He did however never find any related articles or books. In that time, many people believed that inventions derive from a sudden spark of an idea or accidental enlightenment.
Inventing was in his nature. While he was in the tenth grade, Genrich Altshuller already built a boat having a rocket engine that used carbide for fuel. He additionally graduated high school with honors.
By 1946, Genrich Altshuller designed a method for escaping from an immobilized submarine without diving gear. As a consequence of his invention, he was offered a position at the Russian Navy where he worked in the Innovation Center.
In his position, people regularly asked Genrich Altshuller how to solve their problems. He was for this reason more interested in helping people invent their own ideas than inventing his own invention.
Genrich Altshuller continued researching on models for inventing. He argued that if a methodology for inventing does not exist, one should be developed. As a consequence, Genrich Altshuller studies thousands of different patents which later helped him design TRIZ.
Genrich Altshuller made use of his creative ability and did not hesitate to participate in national inventing competitions. However, in 1950, he was arrested and charged with ‘inventor’s sabotage.’ By this time, he already created the concept of TRIZ, which he also used to defend himself. He was unfortunately held captive and forced to work in the minefield, but Genrich was lucky enough to be surrounded with other scientists, and lawyers.
Genrich Altshuller had not attended any college yet by this time, so he decided to listen to lectures from professors who were also held captive. The prisoners taught each other mathematics, foreign languages, and other subjects. He was still dedicated to developing a methodology for inventing, and for this reason, Genrich Altshuller kept working on his TRIZ theory.
He was later released from prison, and in 1956, he published his first paper ‘Psychology of Inventive Creativity.’ Other scientists were surprised by Genrich Altshuller’s paper because his view on inventions was in contradiction with those of other scientists.
In 1961, Genrich Altshuller authored ‘How to learn to invent.’ In this book, he discusses various methods of TRIZ and criticizes the public opinion about inventors. Since he was sure that his methods about inventions are correct, he requested the largest patent organization in the former Soviet Union for an attempt to prove his theory. As a result of his dedication, Genrich Altshuller was after a few years allowed to provide a seminar on TRIZ in 1968. As a result of the seminar, Genrich Altshuller attracted people who later established TRIZ education centers.
Genrich also published ‘Algorithm of Inventing’ in which he describes fundamentals for systematic inventing. He additionally provided lectures and workshops on TRIZ, and he also founded the International TRIZ Association in 1989 where he served as the first president.
Genrich Altshuller spent his life researching various patents to understand innovation and creativity. His goal was to help other people systematically invent things to solve problems. He was married to Valentina Zhuravleva with who he also wrote science fiction stories under the name Genrikh Altov.
His model is today still used, and multiple educational centers around the globe teach on TRIZ courses. Numerous books have also been published on this concept, and it seems that the spread of TRIZ is ongoing.
Genrich Altshuller quotes
- “The world is endless, the universe inexhaustible, and the human brain will never be threatened with unemployment.”
- “Inventing is the resolution of technical contradictions.”
- “I became more and more interested in the mechanics of creativity.”
Publications and Books by Genrich Altshuller et al.
- 2005. principles: TRIZ keys to innovation Extended Edition. Technical Innovation Center.
- 2002. 40 principles: TRIZ keys to innovation. Vol. 1. Technical Innovation Center, Inc..
- 1999. The innovation algorithm. Technical Innovation Center, 2.
- 1999. Tools of classical TRIZ. Ideation International Inc, 266.
- 1996. And suddenly the inventor appeared: TRIZ, the theory of inventive problem solving. Technical Innovation Center, Inc.
- 1990. On the theory of solving inventive problems. Design Methods and Theories, 242, 1216-1222.
- 1989. Searching for New Ideas. Kishniev: Kartya Moldovenyaska Publishing House.
- 1986. To find an idea. Introduction to the theory of inventive problem solving.-Novosibirsk.: Nauka Publishers.
- 1986. The history of ARIZ development. Journal of TRIZ, 3.
- 1985. The profession of searching for new ideas. Kishinev: Kartya Moldovenyaska Publishing House.
- 1984. Creativity as an Exact Science. New York, NY: Gordon & Breach. ISBN 0-677-21230-5.
- 1969. Algorithm of invention. Moscowskiy Rabochy, Moscow.
- 1964. Bases of the Inventive Process. Voroneg: Centralno-Chernozemnoe izdatelstvo.
- 1960. How Scientific Discoveries Are Made.
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