|Introduction to Basic I-TRIZ|
Ideal Vision - a pathway to defining objectives
The best solution to a problem is the one that advances a system on its evolutionary path toward ideality. Therefore, ideality should always be kept in mind during problem solving, like an illuminating beam that guides problem solvers to the best solution. (This is exactly what Leonardo da Vinci was expressing when he said "Think of the end before the beginning." He understood the importance of envisioning an ultimate, ideal goal.)
In the figure, the solution level is related to the difficulty of solving a particular problem, which in turn is related to the "distance" between an inventor's knowledge and the solution domains (personal knowledge, knowledge within a company, etc.) The higher the solution level, the larger the domain necessary to achieve it.
With I-TRIZ, the extent of the informational search necessary to solve a problem grows only slightly with increasing solution levels. This is because the I-TRIZ beam is used to guide the problem solver to solutions that increase system ideality.
To help target the I-TRIZ beam, the Mini-Problem approach is used.
The mini-problem is obtained from the problem situation by introducing the restriction: Everything in the system remains unchanged or becomes less complicated, while the required function appears, or a harmful function disappears.
Converting a problem situation to a mini-problem does not mean that we intend to solve a smaller problem. Rather, by introducing the additional requirement of obtaining the desired result without incurring changes to the system we are "sharpening" the conflict and, from the beginning, blocking the path toward trade-offs.
Of course, the above restriction is extreme - in practice, such an ideal is rarely achieved. But the ideality approach serves to push us toward innovative solutions that do not increase system complexity.