Watch this video to see 'TRIZ' in action...

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The purpose of 'TRIZ'

According to the Liberating Structures website, TRIZ can “Stop Counterproductive Activities and Behaviors to Make Space for Innovation”.

Activity description

  • Useful for
  • Preparation
  • How to do it
  • Duration
  • Adaptations
  • Technical requirements

Adapted from the Liberating Structures website:

  • Creative problem-solving with groups that know each other, but also total strangers
  • Make it possible to discuss things that are usually difficult to speak about aloud
  • Make space for innovation
  • Lay the ground for creative destruction by doing the hard work in a fun way
  • TRIZ may be used before or in place of visioning sessions
  • Build trust by acting all together to remove barriers

Note that it can be difficult to follow the structure with time limits - but following the order and ensuring everyone has time to think on their own before they think in a group is essential for this structure to “work”.

Prompt (anti-goal), instructions, and space for each group of students to take notes.

Adapted from the Liberating Structures website:

Announce the anti-goal and the process to students, and let them know where to find the Google doc for their room (you can have a Google Drive folder with Google docs by room number, or some other way to organize). Ask group members to assign a scribe. Or they can share screen and edit together.

Round 1. Individually for 2 minutes, then in groups (around 4) in breakout rooms for 5 minutes: “Make a list of all you can do to make sure that you achieve the worst result imaginable with respect to your top strategy or objective.” Take notes in the Google doc for their breakout room.

Optional: regroup in the main room to share out main takeaways in the chat

Round 2. Individually for 2 minutes, then in the same groups (around 4) in breakout rooms for 5 minutes:  “Go down this list item by item and ask yourselves, ‘Is there anything that we are currently doing that in any way, shape, or form resembles this item?’ Be brutally honest to make a second list of all your counterproductive activities/programs/procedures.” Take notes in the Google doc for their breakout room.

Optional: regroup in the main room to share out main takeaways in the chat

Round 3. Individually for 2 minutes, then in groups (around 4) in breakout rooms for 3-5 minutes:  “Go through the items on your second list and decide what first steps will help you stop what you know creates undesirable results?”. Take notes in the Google doc for their breakout room.

Regroup in the main room to share out main takeaways in the chat for 1-2 minutes or more if needed.

At a minimum: Around 20 minutes with around 4 participants per group. It would take longer if you brought the groups back to the main room after each round, but this bringing back to the main room can be both enriching, and can also ensure that participants get through all the rounds and don’t lose track of time. The liberating structures website gives it 35 minutes.

Students can meet outside class time to do the exercise and report back, but less likely to follow the structure/time if so.

Breakout rooms and students can take notes in a shared space like a Google slide or Google doc. 

Additional resources

Liberating structures description: http://www.liberatingstructures.com/6-making-space-with-triz/

Slides to adapt.

Virtual TRIZ description here.

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Yes you can. We have included descriptive text and slides that you can reuse / adapt for this reason. We have suggested some variations for activities to help you make adaptations.

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