In search of perfection

According to Genrich Altschuller, the creator of TRIZ ( a Russian acronym which translates into English as ‘the theory of inventive problem solving’) the evolution of a majority of technical systems follow the so called trend of ideality growth. This means that with every innovative improvement, systems tend to become more ‘ideal’. By doing so they introduce better/more functionality and higher performance, increased quality and robustness, whereas materials, energy, costs and other resources needed to manufacture and sustain these systems tend to decrease.

In my mind, this should not just apply to technical systems.

For perfection we are trying to achieve all the functionality (or benefits) we want from a something whilst removing all the costs (or inputs) and harms (or unnecessary or undesirable outputs). This is something that must be relevant and valuable to everyone and every organisation in just about every aspect of what they do. By reaching perfection or the ideal product, service, process etc. we will have realised all the benefits we require with no associated cost and at no harm.

In other words, moving towards the ideal is a matter of preserving or ideally driving up the benefits whilst driving down or ultimately eliminating the cost and harms. Any step in this direction has to be a positive one.

The removal of costs has to be beneficial and in these terms costs might include any of the following:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Materials
  • Energy
  • Human resources

Reducing the harms would be similarly beneficial. Depending on the situation harms might include:

  • Heat
  • Pollution
  • Damage
  • Pain
  • Carbon emissions

Of course, there are many other forms of costs and harms.

The key to moving towards perfection is to firstly identify what is really required from something existing or new and to then identify the associated costs and harms and to seek ways to reduce or ideally eliminate them.


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