One of the key TRIZ components I help to teach and facilitate at Oxford Creativity is that of Evolutionary Trends. These are the typical paths that previous innovation has taken eg Increased Flexibility or Shortening of Energy Flows.
Watching recent developments at Facebook has illustrated a number of these Trends, in particular the integration of Pinterest.
Pinterest if you haven’t encountered it yet is an online pinboard that enables you to bring together images that (p)interest you with an inbuilt reference to their original source. It is a bit like selecting your own page of google images. The interesting TRIZ trend is that it has combined dissimilar elements that are already in existence into a product that is currently valued at $1.5 billion.
Essentially Pinterest combines (using dissimilar elements) the image pages of Google with the Retweeting option, 140 character comment and hashtags of Twitter, together with the like and follow buttons from Facebook. When you pin an item you can advertise the fact on Twitter or Facebook and when someone engages with your pinboards you are emailed accordingly (increasing controllability ie a system with feedback).
I read recently that Facebook now occupies a similar niche to the landlines of our old phone system and that new modules will effectively interact as did our mobile phone technology. Pinterest, although currently independently run, is becoming much more tightly integrated into Facebook (Transition to the Super-System).
And has Pinterest got any real business benefits. Well aside from the costs and harms of playing with it for hours rather than getting proper work done it is an interesting showcase of the thoughts, values and beliefs of an individual. Take a look at my first attempt at a pinboard of ‘The TRIZiest ideas‘ which has already started to receive comments, repins and may just begin to allow individuals to self-realise (Less Human Involvement) the wonderful world of TRIZ.