What is it all about?
As I mentioned in the previous post I’d like to share with you how anyone can be an inventor and solve everyday problems from simpler to not so using the methodology from the Theory Of Inventive Problem Solving (aka TRIZ in Russian).
Today we will look at a real problem that I faced while living in an apartment building in Israel.
That apartment building had a public storage where tenants could store their bicycles and other stuff. So it was natural for me to store my own bike there as well. But it happened that someone stole the black valve cap on one of the tires of my bike.
This is how the valve cap I am talking about looks like
How to solve it?
Well, how would you solve this issue? I can tell you right away that at that time there were no cameras installed in the the storage room, and installing one would be prohibitive. It was possible not to do anything as well as a solution.
So let’s try to approach this problem using tools from TRIZ. As I mentioned before that’s first identify a contradiction that happens in this situation. I want to have my valve cap in place without people ‘borrowing’ it. Then more specifically, we may say that we want the cap to be distinguishable if it is stolen, and ideally not to be stolen in the first place. This is what called in TRIZ as administrative contradiction.
The issue lies in the fact that the valve cap is black on any of the bikes and it is indistinguishable when stolen. So the technical contradiction as it’s known in TRIZ, means that the cup isn’t distinguishable when it should be clearly distinguishable.
Ideal Final Result (IFR)
Now, it’s time to introduce one more term, which is an Ideal Final Result. It will help us to focus the contradiction and to resolve it. Ideal Final Result means that we are interested in such a state when the problem that exists resolves by itself, or it does not require any solution at all. When we think about the valve cap issue this way the solution becomes crystal clear.
How about making the valve cap to notify us by itself that it was stolen? One way to achieve it is to have a valve cap that has a different structure, like shape or color. Well, indeed changing the color of the cap was what I did. I took a BIC wite-out and simply colored the cap in white color! Yep. That solved the issue, since even if the cap was stolen I’d see it right away on another bike.
This approach solved the issue and also made the valve easier to spot when I needed to inflate the tire.
Well, thank you for reading until the end and stay tuned for the next blog post in the series.