Technical Innovation Center, Inc.

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Technical Systems

Tools and Concepts of TRIZ

1. Technical Systems

Everything that performs a function is a technical system. Examples of technical systems include cars, pens, books and knifes. Any technical system can consist of one or more subsystems. A car is composed of the subsystems engine, steering mechanism, brakes and so on. Each of these is also a technical system unto itself (with its own series of subsystems) — and each performs its own function. The hierarchy of technical systems spans from the least complex, with only two elements, to the most complex with many interacting elements.

The table below shows the hierarchy of the technical system called “Transportation.” In the left column are

names of technical systems. They are placed in descending order. Horizontal rows contain names of subsystems that belong to the technical system described on the left. For example, the technical system “Brake” is a subsystem of the technical system “Car” — as well as a supersystem for the technical system “Pad.” When a technical system produces inadequate or harmful functions it may need to be improved. This requires the imaginative reduction of the system to its simplest state. In TRIZ, the simplest technical system consists of two elements with energy passing from one element to the other. Chalk and a blackboard are not, together, a technical system unless some energy (mechanical force) passes through the chalk causing it to interact with the chalkboard.


Technical System

Subsystems for Technical Systems







Power train





Brake pedal

Hydraulic cylinders


Brake pad assembly

Brake Pad Assembly


Mounting plate



Brake Pad

Particles A

Particles B

Chemical bond


Chemical Bond

Molecules A

Molecules B









1.a Subsystems for Technical Systems

The technical system “chalk, blackboard and applied force” can then become functional a chalkboard. (complete minimal Technical System)


Chalk and board, as separate elements, are each independent technical systems. Chalk has a molecular structure. Interaction of different chemical elements within its structure produces a bond creating a material called “chalk.” Should the quality of the bond require improvement, then the technical system of the molecular structure must be analyzed. At the same time, chalk is a subsystems of the supersystem chalkboard.


All subsystems are interconnected with each other within the bounds of the higher system. Changes in any one subsystem can produce changes in higher, supersystems. When solving a technical problem always consider interactions of the existing technical system with those systems above and below it. In addition, technical systems are like biological systems. They are not immortal. They emerge, ripen to maturity, and die — only to be replaced with new systems.