40 inventive principles, the most popular component of TRIZ innovation system

40 inventive principles

The 40 TRIZ principles are ­abstract inventive principles identified by Russian scientist Genrich Altshuller as the principles behind all of the past inventions. He concluded that new innovations will also be based on these principles only. By deep study of 200000 patents, Altshulller arrived at this momentous result. These principles form the core component of innovation system TRIZ.

Altschuller identified the principles when living in a mechanized era that changed subsequently to an idea-centric era where the Internet based virtual experiences reign supreme. Accordingly there is a need of massive reinterpretations of these valuable set of inventive principles.

A number of such interpretations appeared subsequently, but it is apparent that these ideas will continue to evolve.

On our part, we recognize the power of the abstract principles, but our objective is not creating an invention, rather we focus on using any idea in solving real world daily life problems efficiently at minimal cost. As a first step, the description and examples may encourage you to find your own examples and finally use of one or other such principles in actual solving of problems in your life.

40 inventive principles of TRIZ

Principle 1: Segmentation:

Description: Divide an object into parts or sections of similar nature to increase the value of the product.

Examples: garden sprinkler; segmenting full meal to smaller meals for weight reduction; divide a market into segments and carry out segment analysis to optimize marketing efforts.

Principle 2: Taking out or Extraction:

Description: Extract the disturbing part or property from an object.

Examples: Split air-conditioner; Anger venting personal sandbag; Outsourcing; TV remote.

Principle 3: Local quality:

Description: Adapt the individual properties or parts of the object to the required local conditions.

Examples: rubberized sleeve of a writing pen over pen holding portion; demography based development; local anaesthesia.

Principle 4: Asymmetry:

Description: Increase asymmetry in a system or object.

Examples: in Fashion design; Architectural design.

Principle 5: Merging, Consolidation or combining:

Description: Merge or combine similar objects, ideas or operations. This principle is complementary to the principle of segmentation.

Examples: globalization; company mergers; library.

Principle 6: Universality:

Description: Eliminate other parts to combine all functionalities into one part; the single part acts universally for all functions.

Examples: laptop computer; multifunction railway reservation counter; abstract inventive principles and problem solving principles.

Principle 7: Nested doll:

Description: Russian nested doll has inside it a smaller doll that again has inside a still smaller doll and so on.

Examples: folding umbrella; telescopic camera tripod.

Principle 8: Anti-weight:

Description: To compensate for the weight of an object, merge it with other objects that provide lift.

Examples: Ship; Aeroplane - aerodynamics provides the anti-weight.

Principle 9: Preliminary anti-action:

Description: When it is necessary to perform an action with both harmful and useful effects, this should be replaced with anti-actions to control harmful effects.

Examples: Use of masking tape before wall painting so that wooden furnitures are not affected; Use of whole building cover in a multi-storyed building repair.

Principle 10: Preliminary action:

Description: Perform the required change of an object in advance.

Examples: tinned food; instant packaged food.

Principle 11: Beforehand cushioning:

Description: Prepare emergency means beforehand to compensate for the relatively low reliability of an object.

Examples: Life insurance; Emergency exits.

Principle 12: Equipotentiality:

Description: If an object has to be raised or lowered, redesign the object’s environment so the need to raise or lower is eliminated or performed by the environment.

Examples: Build a water tank on a hill below the stream level; Beach a boat on incoming waves.

Principle 13: The other way round:

Description: Opposite way of acting.

Examples: Conveyor belt; Scheduling tasks backwards from fixed targetted end point.

Principle 14: Spheroidality – Curvature:

Description: Move from flat surfaces to spherical ones.

Example: Igloo house.

Principle 15: Dynamics:

Description: Change the object (or outside environment) for optimal performance at every stage of operation.

Examples: Contact lens; Ball point of a ball point pen.

Principle 16 : Partial or Excessive actions:

Description: If you can’t achieve 100 percent of a desired effect - then go for more or less.

Examples: Go for satisfactory result rather than best result; Use of extra plaster and then smoothing in wall plastering process.

Principle 17: Another dimension:

Description: Move into an additional dimension - from one to two - from two to three.

Examples: Two tier railway berths; 3D architectural drawing.

Principle 18: Mechanical vibration:

Description: Cause an object to oscillate or vibrate.

Examples: Tuning fork; Quartz clock; Grandfather pendulum clock.

Principle 19: Periodic action:

Description: Instead of continuous action, use periodic or pulsating actions.

Examples: Ambulance alert; Fire alert; Judiciously repetitive persuasion.

Principle 20: Continuity of useful action:

Description: Carry on work without a break. All parts of an object operating constantly at full capacity.

Examples: Physical exercise regime; Sadhna of classical vocalists; Deep research.

Principle 21: Skipping or Rushing Through:

Description: Conduct a process, or certain stages of it (e.g. destructible, harmful or hazardous operations) at high speed.

Examples: Race start; Pushing arguments in a court battle.

Principle 22 : Blessing in disguise - Harm into benefit:

Description: Use harmful factors (particularly, harmful effects of the environment or surroundings) to achieve a positive effect.

Examples: Converting manure to fertilizer; Convert jail time to write a classic; Reconstruct to greatness from a war ravaged state.

Principle 23: Feedback:

Description: Introduce feedback to improve a process or action.

Examples: Autopilot; Management monitoring.

Principle 24: Intermediary/Mediator:

Description: Use an intermediary carrier article or intermediary process.

Examples: Travel agent; Distributor in FMCG retail chain; Carrier pigeon; Postal service.

Principle 25: Self-Service:

Description: An object must service itself by performing auxiliary helpful functions.

Examples: Internet based customer self service; Daily shaving.

Principle 26: Copying:

Description: Replace unavailable, expensive, fragile object with inexpensive copies.

Examples: Decoys; Scarecrows; Fake art.

Principle 27: Cheap short-living objects:

Description: Replace an expensive object with a multiple of inexpensive objects, compromising certain qualities, such as service life.

Examples: Use of senior student as a lecturer; Disposable pens; Contract labor.

Principle 28: Mechanics substitution:

Description: Replace a mechanical system with a sensory one.

Examples: Voice controlled vehicle; Fingerprint based security.

Principle 29: Pneumatics and hydraulics:

Description: Use gas and liquid parts of an object instead of solid parts (e.g. inflatable, filled with liquids, air cushion, hydrostatic, hydro-reactive).

Example: Hydraulic break in a modern bus.

Principle 30: Flexible shells and thin films:

Description: Use of flexible materials to reduce cost, volume, weight or other harmful poroperties.

Examples: Plastic bottles instead of breakable glass bottles; Thin plastic hose pipe instead of hard rubber pipe.

Principle 31: Porous materials:

Description: Make an object porous or add porous elements (inserts, coatings, etc.).

Examples: Adding a crunchy biscuit inside a chocolate; Fishnet.

Principle 32: Color changes:

Description: Change the colour of an object or its external environment.

Examples: Litmus paper; Photochromatic lenses.

Principle 33: Homogeneity:

Description: Objects interacting with the main object should be of same material (or material with identical properties).

Examples: When in Rome behave like a Roman; Skin grafting to repair burn damage.

Principle 34: Rejecting, Discarding – Recovering, Regeneration:

Description: After completing their function (or becoming useless) reject objects, make them go away, (discard them by dissolving, evaporating, etc) or modify during the process.

Examples: Waste paper recycling; Rapid career progression by changing jobs.

Principle 35: Parameter Changes:

Description: Change the physical state (e.g. to a gas, liquid, or solid).

Example: Use of liquid oxygen in hospitals.

Principle 36 : Phase transitions:

Description: Use phenomena of phase transitions (e.g. volume changes, loss or absorption of heat, etc.).

Examples: Cooling hot milk by keeping it under fan; Desert cooler.

Principle 37: Thermal expansion:

Description: Use thermal expansion, or contraction, of materials.

Example: Open a tight metal lid on a glass bottle by heating the lid.

Principle 38 : Accelerated oxidation:

Description: Replace common air with oxygen-enriched air.

Examples: Breathing mask in airplanes; Increase lactobacillus fermentation in curd making by keeping it warm.

Principle 39 : Inert atmosphere:

Description: Replace a normal environment with an inert one.

Example: Reply calmly in a heated discussion.

Principle 40: Composite materials:

Description: Change from uniform to composite (multiple) materials. It is different from merging principle. In merging same type of materials or objects are merged whereas in composite different types of materials are suitably put together.

Examples: Unbreakable multi-layer toughened glass; Hamburger.


It takes time to absorb the essence of these abstract principles. To assimilate and use these, you have to go through the description and examples of each principle. You may also refer to various other interpretations of these valuable principles from the Internet.

Try to understand what a principle means and then try to find out from your environment clear application of one or more than one of these 40 inventive principles.

If you identify a new application of any of these principles in your environment yourself, your absorption of the principle will be better and quicker - you would acquire a belief in the value of the principle.

Remember, these principles are not only valuable for innovative idea generation, but also very useful in real life problem solving. We are sure to refer to these principles time and again.