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Application of TRIZ in Improving the Creativity of Engineering Experts

Research Papers

Application of TRIZ in Improving the Creativity of Engineering Experts

December 2015

Numerous researchers have extensively studied two causes of problem solvers’ inflexibility which impede creativity: the Einstellung effect [1] and design fixation [2]. The former has been demonstrated experimentally on numerous occasions and is induced by prior experience. The latter is a result of our fixedness on the functions of things which we regularly use. This paper focuses on the third cause of inflexibility, which has not been researched adequately – the detrimental effect of professional expertise on creativity [3]. This detrimental effect is a natural consequence of extensive professional experience and the possession of large amounts of domain knowledge. After approximately 10 years in a profession, due to the construction of effective knowledge schemas, the short-term memory limitations which normally impede effective idea generation can partly or even completely disappear. As a result, experts attain an ability to search for solutions to problems quickly – without significant cognitive and time effort. Although this ‘quickness’ of experts in suggesting solutions is advantageous, it also creates negative consequences. Experts’ solutions are usually confined to their domain-specific knowledge and do not utilize novel ideas. This study reviews existing evidence related to the detrimental influence of expertise on creativity and discusses how the application of TRIZ tools of Substance-Field Analysis and Method of the Ideal Result can minimize this negative influence. Download this paper.

Author/s (date): 
Iouri Belski and Ianina Belski (2015)
Detrimental influence of expertise on creativity