QUIZ & ANSWERS for: Biological Complexity: Invention or Evolution? Biological Insights from Russian patents and the Theory of Inventive Problem-Solving
By: John Bracht, B.S.; Doctoral Student.
Fill-in-the-blanks and short answer.
1. According to the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving, or TRIZ, what are the two main types of problems? _________ vs. __________
2. What distinguishes the two types of problems? (technical _____________)
3. What type of problems can trial and error methods solve? ____________
4. Why can't trial and error methods solve the other type of problem?
5. How does the encoding of a problem (as in an algorithm) prevent true innovation? (by setting up a hyper-____________ which delimits all possible candidate solutions)
6. What key idea was Dawkin's biomorphs program used to illustrate?
7. What key idea was Dawkin's angel wing example used to illustrate?
8. What key idea was illustrated by the "ball bearing" example?
9. Does a SELEX experiment generate innovative change? Why or why not?
10. What are some areas in biology that represent inventive changes? How do we know?
11. What defines a biological hypervolume (consider Dawkin's Angel Wings example)?
12. How would you summarize, in your own words, this basic concept of TRIZ?
1. routine vs. inventive
4. Because they cannot overcome technical contradictions.
6. The concept of a hypervolume and how trial and error can maneuver within that fixed area; the necessity for inventive change to generate new hypervolumes.
7. The way inventive changes require re-engineering the hypervolume of possibilities to allow new solutions.
8. Same as above, but applied to technology instead of biology.
9. They do not generate innovative change, since they operate within a defined hypervolume of possibilities.
10. Origin of life, origin of eukaryotes, origin of multicellularity, origin of body plans, origin of sexual reproduction, origin of consciousness-each of these changes cannot be described as a variant of some pre-existing system; rather, they require re-engineering of the hypervolume of possibilities.
11. The constraints of the developmental program and genetic regulatory networks.
12. One way to put it: some things cannot be gotten by gradually altering pre-existing structures.
Suggested Further Reading:
1. Introduction to TRIZ.
2. TRIZ FAQ.
3. The Innovation Algorithm, by Genrich Altschuller. Worcester: Technical Innovation Center, Inc.; 1999. Available online at http://www.triz.org/.
4. And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared, by Genrich Altschuller. Worchester: Technical Innovation Center, Inc; 1996 Available online at http://www.triz.org/.
5. Engineering of Creativity, by Seymon Savransky. New York: CRC; 2000.
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