TRIZ part III 40 Business Survival Imperatives

 I re-publish another interesting article on TRIZ.  

The author of the article below is not me, it is Mr. Gennady Retseptor who examined the  possible applications of TRIZ in non-technical areas and published several articles. Beacuse I do not want them to be lost somewhere in hyberspace, I  re publish his articles with his courtesy.

40 Business Survival Imperatives

How can a new business enterprise survive in a modern world of total globalization?
What are the main principles it must follow? Which of them possess the highest priority and may be defined as imperatives for business survival?

The 40 Inventive Principles of TRIZ may help to find answers on these questions. The numerous examples demonstrate successful application of these principles in non-technical fields, such as business management [1], social relations [2], quality management [3], marketing [4,5] and others.

Bearing on his experience in research, development, engineering and quality management, the author has made an attempt to formulate the business survival imperatives, using the 40 Inventive Principles of TRIZ.

The imperatives are divided to several categories according to their assumed hierarchy: Priorities, Research and Development, Competitors, Customers and Suppliers.

The author hopes that his interpretation of business survival imperatives will be useful for management of start-up and growing companies.


1. Set right priorities. Your top priority is the Research and Development (R&D). Competitors, Customers, Suppliers, Employees, Shareholders and other interested parties – each will get its priority afterward.
(Principle No. 3: “Local Quality”).
Cura nihil aliud nisi ut valeas – “Take care of nothing except that you do well” (Cicero).

2. The supreme goal of your business is never-ending introduction to market of new products, which possess unique features and provide significant advantage over your competitors.
Avoid “Seven Deadly Diseases that Management Must Care” (W.E. Deming).

3. Search niches for creation of new products inside existing market segments.
(Principle No. 7: “Nesting”).

4. Be aware of S-curve in evolution stages of product life: “Problematic child”, “Star”, “Milky Cow”, “Outsider”. A new “Star” must timely replace the current “Milky Cow”.
(Principles No. 20: “Continuity of Useful Action” and No. 36: “Phase Transition”).

5. Establish appropriate back-ups for business interruption contingency planning.
(Principle No. 11: “Beforehand Cushioning”).

Research and Development

6. Choose for R&D the outstanding, highly creative, multi-skilled, “Renaissance” [2] people. Select the best of the best.
(Principle No. 40: “Composite Structures”).
Multi sunt vocati, pauci vero electi – “Many are called, but a few chosen” (Vulgate Bible).

7. You may replace, reposition or downsize manpower in marketing, finance, engineering, production, quality, maintenance, purchasing, safety, human resources, and other departments without significant negative impact. All of these employees are important but not essential.
Only outstanding scientists, designers, technologists, which are properly selected and nominated to the right positions in R&D, are vital. Without these individuals your business will not survive.
 (Principle No. 3: “Local Quality”).
“Vital few and trivial many” (J.M. Juran).

8. You need people which are not only idea generators by themselves, but can hijack on ideas of each other, amplifying tremendously their creativity power and bringing about breakthrough know-hows and inventions.
(Principle No. 38: “Boosting Interactions”).

9. Periodically revise R&D activity and make enthusiasm injections.
(Principles No. 19: “Periodical Action” and No. 18: “Vibration”).

10. Dismiss persons which become non-effective, replacing them by better candidates, and thus recovering and preserving R&D capability to create new products.
(Principle No. 34: “Discarding and Recovering”).

11. Institute self-benchmarking and internal competing in R&D.
(Principle No. 25: “Self-Service”).

12. Invest to continual education, knowledge and skills renewal of the R&D personnel.
Expose key designers to external events: conferences, exhibitions, lectures, seminars, etc.
Let designers learn from customers, suppliers, business partners, and organizations from the same or other fields.
(Principle No. 20: “Continuity of Useful Action”).

13. Provide key R&D personnel with the best possible employment contract conditions: salary, insurance program and other benefits.
Reddite ergo quae sunt Caesaris, Caesari – “Give Caesar what’s Caesar’s” (Vulgate Bible).

  • Encourage every new breakthrough solution, know-how, patent grant for invention by appropriate award: bonus, promotion, status elevation, etc.
  • Foster self-esteem of R&D employees.
  • Thoroughly protect the intellectual propriety rights of inventors.
  • Share with inventors the profit received from their inventions.
    Suum cuique “To each what he deserves” (Cicero).


14. Take measures in order to early detect and prevent R&D personnel defection to competitors.
(Principles No. 10: “Preliminary Action” and No. 9: “Preliminary Anti-Action”).

15. Inversely, strive to employ prominent specialists from competitors’ R&D.
(Principle No. 13: “Inversion”).

16. Make appropriate protection of R&D activity from competitors’ intelligence.
Utilize proprietary rights protection means (patents, licenses, trademarks, copyrights, etc).
(Principles No. 9: “Preliminary Anti-Action” and No. 11: “Beforehand Cushioning”).

17. Introduce smoke-screen misinformation to disguise confidential R&D activities.
(Principle No. 32: “Color Change”).

18. Get intelligence and inverse engineering on competitors’ products in order to anticipate their future activities and elaborate counter-measures.
(Principle No. 23 Inverted: “Feed-forward”).

19. Build entrance barriers for competitors by enhancement of your product advantages.
(Principle No. 12 Inverted: “Potentially Gap”).

20. Promptly learn lessons and derive conclusions from each defeat in competition.
(Principles No. 19: “Skipping” and No. 23: “Feedback”).

21. Use the competitors’ success as benchmarking, which provide a stimulus for re-gaining primary position in the market.
(Principle No. 22: “Blessing in Disguise”).


22. Never give your customers to get supremacy over you. The customers depend on your business in the same way as you depend on theirs.
(Principle No. 4 Inverted: “Symmetry”).

23. Having unique product, you acquire a great market power and may dictate your terms to customers. Actually, you become a monopoly producer. Nevertheless, you must preserve parity and partnership relations with your customers. The price will be great – their loyalty and retention.
(Principles No. 12: “Equipotentiality” and No. 20: “Continuity of Useful Action”).

24. Strive for greater diversity of products offering due to increased level of customers’ expectations.
(Principle No. 6: “Universality”).

25. Make designers “Would be the customers”.
(Principle No. 13: “Inversion”).

26. Cooperate with customers in creation of new products with unique features.
(Principle No. 5: “Merging”).

27. Enlist customers into R&D activity loop.
(Principle No. 23: “Feedback”).

28. Run b-Site customer pilots to gather information on high-risk new products prior to distribution to general market.
(Principle No. 11: “Beforehand Cushioning”).

29. Use customers’ complaints and field failures as a valuable feedback and opportunities for improvement.
(Principles No. 23: “Feedback” and No. 22: “Blessing in Disguise”).

30. Be wary of rare customer complaints. This could indicate a lack of customer candor and unwillingness to share information.
(Principle No. 22 Inverted: “Cursing in Disguise”).

31. Strive to achieve design-wins at brand name customers. They can provide lift for promotion of your product.
(Principle No. 8: “Anti-Weight”).

32. Establish long-term business alliance with key customers.
(Principles No. 5: “Merging” and No. 20: “Continuity of Useful Action”).

33. Provide product with unanticipated extra features that bring about surprising (“Wow!”) effect by exceeding customers’ expectations.
(Principle No. 7: “Nesting”).

34. Get customers excited about the product by providing them with a sense of advantage, gained over their competitors.
(Principle No. 38: “Boosted Interactions”).

35. Get customers to advertise your product.
(Principle No. 25: “Self-Service”).

36. Anticipate and nurture future customers’ needs.
(Principle No. 23 Inverted: “Feed- forward”).


37. Transfer non-core activities to best in class subcontractors.
(Principle No. 2: “Taking out”).

38. Avoid suppliers which become a monopoly and dictate you their terms.
(Principle No. 4: “Asymmetry”).

39. Your unique product cannot survive in the market if you rely on a single source supplier for critical parts or materials.
(Principle No. 11: “Beforehand Cushioning”).

40. If you fail to find a second source or an alternative design solution, the best way is to merge with a single source supplier.
(Principle No. 5: “Merging”).


Audaces fortuna iuvat – “Fortune favors the brave” (Virgil).

 Gennady Retseptor is the Quality Manager of AVX Israel Ltd, Thin Film Operation Plant of AVX Corporation, Kyocera Group Company. Gennady Retseptor has received the Master degree with honors in Microelectronics from the Moscow Steel and Alloys University. He is the inventor of miniature SMD capacitors for RF applications. Gennady Retseptor is the ASQ Certified Quality Manager since 1999. This year he has been certified by ASQ as the Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence.

© 2008. All rights reserved.


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