Real life examples of applying the inventive TRIZ principle Local quality
Principles such as problem solving principles, value based principles or inventive principles of TRIZ are abstract concepts.
Being abstract, any of these principles can be used suitably in solving real life problems in many diverse areas. You are not bound by any set of processes prescribed by a method. Your own inherent problem solving ability will use the right principle at the right place to home in to the desired solution.
Such principles and abstract concepts are the pillars on which our body of knowledge rests, not the methods. When you use a method you are restricted by its step by step boundary specifics, and thus you lose the flexibility of thinking offered by the abstract domain independent principles.
Inventive principle Local quality
This is the third principle in the list of 40 abstract principles of TRIZ system that Genrich Altsuller had identified as the base of all inventions past, present and future.
Description: Adapt the individual properties or parts of an object to the required local conditions.
This is just one description of the meaning of the principle, there can be similar others. It conveys the basic meaning in abstract form. The principles derive their power from this abstraction. Though the same abstraction makes understanding and use of the principles difficult.
While discussing inventive principles, our main goal won't be to create corporate or commercially viable innovation. Rather it would be to search for ways to enrich our daily life problem solving ability by assimilating these inventive principles in our mental problem solving framework.
The first step of using an inventive principle is to understand it by identifying examples or cases where the principle could have been applied. The principle most probably has been applied unknowingly, but still it becomes clear to you that this is an example of application of the specific principle. Finding out yourself such examples is important in increasing belief and understanding. This is a very useful step for learning all concepts: first learn it in classroom, and then start finding its application or presence in the environment around you. Do not ignore the intangible environments, that is, the domain of ideas. Tangible environment consists of the physical objects that you see or touch around you.
Case example 1: Banknote denominations from ATMs
About seven minutes’ walk away from your house is the main thoroughfare where the banks, shops, bus stand and other amenities are located—though that is not exactly a commercial centre.
You were facing a difficulty for the last few months - the ATM at the main junction dispensed only large denomination banknotes and it was a bother to get it changed into smaller denominations. You tried another ATM nearer home, but it also behaved similarly. Though you were coping with it, it was still a bother. You made a written request to the bank manager regarding the difficulty, and then forgot the matter.
Recently a change occurred. As a rule, the ATM at the main junction still continued dispensing large denomination notes, but the ATM near your home located in a not so affluent residential area, had started dispensing smaller denomination notes.
Apparently the bank had studied the demography of the localities and then adapted its banknote dispensing logic to the perceived affluence level of would be ATM customers in each locality.
At least that's what you thought.
Case example 2: Confusing colours
It surprised you when it happened.
You were renovating your house. After completing all other activities you had reached the wall painting stage. There was no problem with the exterior wall painting, though colour choice was critical for the interior walls.
To keep things simple, you chose three colours for all the rooms: a colour like inside of oyster shell for the drawing room that opened up to a number of windows and doors, a deeper light cream yellow for a special room by the side of the drawing room and a still lighter cream yellow for the rest of the rooms.
You wanted the special room colour to have a bit more yellow hue—it brightens up the room considerably according to you.
The painting of the drawing room and the special room was finished simultaneously by the evening. Being a critical person, you examined the wall colour time to time and was satisfied. The subtle drawing room colour came out nearly exactly as you wanted. It looked slightly yellowish, but you accepted it.
When the painters had gone, it was evening. First you entered your lighted up drawing room. There was no yellow tinge—colour was wonderful. Then you entered the special room and switched on the light. It was bright white light and the room was smaller than the drawing room. You looked around with great astonishment. You couldn’t recognize the room—is it the room I saw in the morning, you thought.
It looked awfully white—there was no hint of yellow at all. It was a real shock. You called up your painter and invited him for a look. He lived nearby.
When he came after a bit of investigative discussion you understood the behaviour of wall colour at last. Next day following a no-loophole method you rectified the situation completely.
The reason was: The drawing room opened up to a lot of daylight during daytime. That made the oyster shell colour slightly yellowish. In the evening, in bright white light the yellow tinge disappeared. In contrast, the special room was smaller and the bright white light in the smaller space made the light cream yellow purely off-white. It was all local conditions—the size of the room, availability of daylight, and difference of colour effect between daylight and white light.
Case example 3: A minor surgical operation
You had an abscess on you left leg for quite some time. You didn't feel much inconvenience and ignored it till the day when your doctor friend by chance noticed the abscess and was horrified by its size. He issued a virtual order, "Tomorrow I will do the operation at 9 am. Be there on empty stomach. How could you ignore it for such a long time?"
It was your first surgical experience. You were quite surprised to be in full senses while the surgeon was busy removing last traces of your abscess from your leg.
Later you came to know of local anaesthesia. How clever these people are, you thought. That was the first time.
To generalize: if you understand local conditions clearly (We call it also as context), you will be able to arrive at solutions that meet the desired objectives and make all concerned happy.