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EXPERT SYSTEMS PRODUCED BY TRIZ-CHANCE

Review


Igor L. Vikentiev,
director of the TRIZ-CHANCE consulting firm
Georgy B. Sokoloff,
Ph.D., head of IT at the TRIZ-CHANCE consulting firm
© TRIZ-CHANCE consulting firm, 2003

Not all methodologies are equally useful...

        The purpose of this article is to present the challenges we have faced and the solutions we have developed over the many years we have been developing a series of software packages, including "Journalism & Public Relations Techniques", "HeadLiner" and "EXPO: 1001 Advertising Media".

        Based on the experience of TRIZ-CHANCE's specialists since 1992 (including more than 600 seminars for businessmen, advertisers, designers, copy-writers, public relations specialists, political scientists, psychologists, consultants and so on, hundreds of business consultations, and the analysis of some 2,000 business objectives on the largest specialized Internet forum in the CIS and the Baltics, http://www.triz-ri.ru/forum), we can affirm that, given growing competition, there is a growing need to find solutions to nonstandard (creative) objectives in various spheres of business.


        Historical facts and experimental data

        Fact 1.
Throughout time, there has always been a shortage of good specialists.

        Fact 2. The existing system of higher-education, formed over centuries, is oriented toward the preparation of exploitative specialists, who are not prepared to cope with complex, nonstandard situations. Unfortunately, universities do not teach the necessary skills.

        Fact 3. Our research shows that in order for the average specialist to become a consultant, he or she must carry out at least 200 practical objectives. Meanwhile, the majority of business consultants and business trainers - their advertising claims notwithstanding - can only offer at best a handful of effective solutions


        Effects of Thought

        Effect 1. Limiting of the search parameters.

        Statistics show that a person resolving a nonstandard objective unwittingly narrows the search field, using only 10-15% of the total number of potential resolution vectors. Thus, boxers consistently use only a few "classic moves" out of their arsenal, artists and photographers generally exhibit only a few proprietary techniques, while film and theater directors repeatedly make use of their best "discoveries"

        We accommodate such an effect within the bounds of "personal opinion" or "style", but we are critical of it as it concerns the resolution of problems that fall outside these bounds, including those complex tasks connected with the advancement of production, the management of personnel and so on, when the potential economic loss from a mistake exceeds that of an individual's creative failure by several orders of magnitude.

        Around the world, so-called "expert systems" are brought to bear in such situations. For example, the on-board computer of the American "Stealth" aircraft contains a precedent-based expert system to deal with unexpected situations, while Nikon's professional cameras contain a program to help deal with 30,000 shooting conditions [3]. In order to solve any technical problems that clients may face, GE created an expert system, comprising a growing database of 1.5 million potential problems and their solutions. Thanks to the latest developments in artificial intelligence, the system allows real-time diagnostics and helps answer questions quickly [4].

        Effect 2. The multidimensionality of the object of study.

        Such phenomena as
  • conflicts between employees of a firm;
  • the specificities of written and oral language;
  • human decision-making processes, and so on
        are fundamentally multidimensional, which makes it practically impossible to develop written instrumental [2] rather than descriptive business-methods. Unfortunately, paper is two-dimensional.

        For example, every month a number of books are published on rhetoric, advertising and PR, but it is fairly difficult to actualize the advice they contain in practice. As a result, we have developed our own multidimensional classification, including hundreds of advertising, journalism and public relations techniques [1], [2].

        Effect 3. The idea of modeling human action is not new, and it is difficult to find an arena in which it has not been attempted (for example, the crane was thought up as a "long iron arm"). The first industrial revolution in the 18th century was, to a large extent, based on such mechanisms (spinning and combing machines, and so on). But those were attempts to model physical action. It took more than a century and a half before the task of modeling mental activity became thinkable. And it turned out that complex tasks require a person to use several models of a situation in parallel [3].

        Below, we will briefly discuss our main solutions and the objectives they address.


        Results Achieved

        Some of the most common approaches to
  • nonstandard (creative) tasks include:
  • refusing to attempt nonstandard tasks;
  • following well-known examples;
  • trying to find the "secret" in a book or on the Internet;
  • turning to expensive consultants;
  • brainstorming;
  • studying to raise professional qualifications, and so on.
        While not ignoring the above-mentioned approaches, we believe it is useful to employ computerized expert systems, which:
  • allow a mildly gifted person to broaden his or her creative palette (see Effect 1 and Fact 3);
  • allow the use of several multidimensional models of the subject area simultaneously (see Effects 2 and 3);
  • do not guarantee but significantly raise the probability of a solution to specific types of creative tasks,
        under the condition that the user:
  • shows good will;
  • is not afraid of a computer;
  • is willing to spent one to two hours on training.
        We and our partners have developed several such systems, which already have several thousand users.


Consultant Program "Journalism and Public Relations Techniques"

        The main groups of tasks addressed by the program include:

        Journalism

  • Avoiding unwanted connotations;
  • Confirming the reader's knowledge, or introducing him or her to the details of what he or she already knows;
  • Transmitting to the reader emotions, fears and sensations;
  • Making the unknown known and accepted;
  • Creating a "novelty effect" surrounding an already well-known subject;
  • Attracting the reader's attention to a piece of text;
  • Stimulating the reader to recognize his or her stereotypes and laying the groundwork for a change in opinion;
  • Parodying what the reader already knows.
        Public Relations
  • Positioning an object;
  • Raising an object's profile;
  • Creating an anti-advertisement for an object;
  • Tuning out a competitor;
  • Counteracting advertisements.
        Article about the program


Consultant Program "HeadLiner"

        The program is designed for the creation of:

  • headlines and short notices;
  • memorable images, metaphors and phrases;
  • slogans, devices and striking phrases;
  • text for outdoor advertisements and banners;
  • captions for illustrations;
  • epigraphs and aphorisms.
        Given that slogans and headlines are often variations on famous expressions, the program also includes 10 thematic databases:
  • Russian sayings and proverbs;
  • memorable phrases from cartoons and movies;
  • excerpts from the Old and New Testaments;
  • memorable phrases of 19th- and 20th-century Russian politicians;
  • contemporary jargon;
  • aphorisms of K. Prutkov, Ezhy Lets and other respected authors.
        Dedicated program site


Consultant Program "EXPO: 1001 Advertising Media"

The world's largest database of advertising media and PR campaigns
(more than 2,000 solutions)


        The main groups of tasks addressed include:

  • developing advertising, PR and promotion campaigns;
  • creating exhibition stands and presentations;
  • identifying advertising media (especially new, nonstandard ones) and providers;
  • analyzing the solutions delivered by the system.
        Detailed information on the program


        These programs are Decision Making Support Systems and are intended to increase human potential rather than replace human action. We recommend that users spend one to two hours getting to know the program before using it.

        Based on voluminous feedback, TRIZ-CHANCE expert systems are best used when:

  • the user is suffering a creative block and "doesn't have any ideas";
  • the user has little affinity for the task or the client;
  • the user is unclear about "where to begin" or "how to end" a text of screen-play;
  • a large number of "at least B-" ideas are needed for an advertising campaign, the best of which will later be selected and worked up;
  • the user is exhausted or is forced to work with too little time (for example, in an advertising department or political campaign headquarters).
        Free demo versions of the programs can be downloaded here.

        Returning to the problem we addressed at the beginning of this article, we would like to draw your attention to the following quote from the developer of TRIZ, G.S. Altshuller (1924;1998): "...paradoxical as it might seem, creative thought - its techniques and principles of action - have not seen any qualitative changes. It was thought and is to this date thought, that only a few people, by birth, are given the ability to be creative. These people stubbornly work at a task, and suddenly come to an epiphany. It is impossible to uncover the mechanism behind this process, to learn to control it, to make it available to all. ...That view of creativity is amazingly stable, and it dominates to this day" [5].

        Contact to the developers: soft@triz-chance.com


Bibliography:

        1. Vikentiev, I.L. Advertising and public relations techniques. Consultant Programs: 400 examples, 200 academic tasks and 20 practical applications. St. Petersburg: TRIZ-CHANCE and Biznes-Pressa, 2002. 384 pp.

        2. Vikentiev, I.L. The Methodology for Evaluating Methodologies: http://www.triz-ri.ru/themes/terapia/terapia1.asp

        3. Zalyubovksy, I. "The Place of Precedent-based Expert Systems in the General Structure of Innovative Management" in Personnel Management, 2000 No. 1.

        4. I. Nonaka, H. Takeuchi, The Knowledge - Creating Company. How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation, New York - Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1995.

        5. Altshuller, G.S. "On the Threshold of 2000" in Literaturnaya Gazeta, 04-01-1984.

        6. Vikentiev, I.L. Do We Really Understand Geometry?


Copyright © TRIZ-CHANCE, 2003.

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