Tools in Use

To paraphrase an old adage, we learn the past to invent the future.
It’s 2000 and you are charged with inventing a new cell phone using TRIZ.The contradiction you are trying to solve is how to have a small smart phone device with a large screen and keyboard.
After defining a contradiction. You try solving it using manipulations. For example you can try multiplying something. Maybe a two screen device ? Well Nintendo did do that for portable gaming in the DS device, but two screens seems to enlarge rather than reduce the size of the phone. Another manipulation is reduction, to take away something. Reduction is usually a good start to breaking conceptions. You can take away the screen, keyboard, processor, etc. You should devote time to each option. How would a phone function without a screen ? Maybe project the information some where ?
How would it function without a keyboard ? Voice activation ?
Without a processor ? Laptop extension ?
Another manipulation is combining functions. Can we combine the functions of the screen and keyboard ? A touch screen ?
It is certainly easier to invent in retrospect, and yet this elucidates the principles at work. The fact we have a direction does not mean we are all done. For example, employing the touch screen opens up multiple problems ( contradictions) to be solved. For example, the touch screens of the time were slow, needed a stylus or had limited resolution. So to make the touch screen function like a keyboard, a new modality was used, capacitive instead of resistive.
The alternative approach, which is often used in creative thinking techniques, is to do without the contradiction part. “Form before function”. This approach would advocate to breakdown the phone into elements, apply manipulations, and then see if we can technically enable them and if they provide a useful function. When inventing in retrospect both techniques will of course yield similar results. After all the future we know is a powerful bias. Inventing in retrospect is relatively easy, so now fast forward and we are back to 2012. Now you can start imagining the phone of the future


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