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Real life problem solving by Inventive Principle of Flexibility - Work from home model

Real Life Problem Solving by Inventive Principle of Flexibility

Principle of flexibility, an inventive principle for solving problems in real world

Inventive principle of flexibility may be used for creating positive results for the decision makers and the persons affected by the decisions as well.

The principle is stated as,

  • If flexibility is introduced to the main active element, significantly positive results might happen not only for all the active elements in the system but also to the surrounding environment.

The inventive principle of fexibility is not a part of 40 inventive principles of TRIZ, formed about 80 years back. There are and there will be many more inventive principle identified and used.

Work from home model uses inventive principle of flexibility

In Work from home model1, 2, time to work becomes flexible. In addition, personal time gets adjusted to personal preference of the worker.

  • Result: Measurable positive gain: More quality hours for the worker as well as from the worker to the employer.

Quality hours is the quantitative value of an hour that may be measured in terms of quantity and / or quality of work output (or quality of engagement) per hour).

Gain is also in terms of not so easily measurable intangibles per hour.

  • Gain in Intangibles may simply be expressed as added satisfaction.

Work from home not only introduces flexibility of working during convenient times, it also helps to smooth out the traffic load on Transportation system.

If a good portion of office goers work from home, positive effect of this flexibility should be transmitted among others to the,

  1. Transportation system,
  2. Office space system,
  3. Energy consumption system.

Flexible office going work

This older model should have resulted in positives similar to the Work from home model. But in real world, constraints not perceived in the beginning come into play later on.

Among other cons, the important barriers for achieving desired result in the model are,

  1. Office spaces are still to be kept alive and for MORE HOURS per day as well.
  2. Time of going to and fro office poses as a strong barrier to flexible allocation of work during the day. The worker is not expected to shuttle a number of times between the office and home during a day itself.

Principle of True flexibility

This sketch of comparison helps to define an additional principle coupled to the original principle of flexibility - Principle of true flexibility,

  • True flexibility and corresponding positives can only happen if the flexibility of ACTION doesn't have any environmental constraints.

This is strictly defined in line with the definition of Ideal Final Result3 in TRIZ innovation system4, 5, 6, 7 and is driven by the same objectives,

  1. If the goal is set as ideal that can never be reached in the real world, it should still act as the highest possible goal to strive for. The popular phrase preaching essentially this idea is, THINK BIG TO ACHIEVE BIG.
  2. All attempts to solve the problem can be bench-marked in terms of this reference.
  3. Also, the unreachable goal should force rejection of conventional ideas and search for totally new innovative approaches.

Truth is,

  • While achieving true flexibility, environmental constraints can never be fully eliminated.

Even, the constraints not foreseen when adopting the model must also arise in the Employer-Employee Unit as time rolls on.

Environmental constraints are of two kinds,

  1. Extra-work unit, the external environment.
  2. Intra-work unit, the internal environment.

Neither of the two can be ignored,

  • Enumerating and limiting all major constraints in both environments only, should produce the great overall positives that are expected.

SECOND IMPORTANT COUPLED PRINCIPLE is of more general nature. It is Principle of Positivity.

Principle of Positivity

This overarching principle is stated as,

  • Truly sustained great positives can only be achieved if the positives affect all concerned positively. At the least, no harm should affect any concerned or the surrounding environment as a result of the positive action.

In short,

  • If a big gain for one entity results in harm to a second entity, the one-sided creation of positive results cannot be sustained. The new unbalance will disturb and destabilize the whole ecosystem adversely.

When considering the benefits of flexibility of Work from home8, 9, if any of the main actors suffer, true flexibility won't be achieved with no great positives as well.

Great truth of real world is,

  • No entity is totally independent. Enmeshed interdependent actions propel the Nature and humankind along with it, forward in time.

It is in human nature that, if left to themselves for making fully independent decisions regarding good of self, game changing models can never be implemented.

  • End result of practicing all-round principle of positivity is increased positive energy10 as a whole and sustainable growth (UN Sustainable Development Goals11, Sustainability Model12).

It's time for a smile.

  • The COVID-19 has forced work from home, potentially for all.

The organizations at the forefront of Innovation embraced this model as a long-term if not permanent work model.

Why the Principle of flexibility is an inventive principle

Two essential requirements for such a principle of thought, decision making and work to be labeled as an inventive principle are,

  1. A Principle of thought, decision making and work action can be classified as a truly inventive principle if it is ABSTRACT to the greatest extent - the idea is not tied down to one, two or only a handful of areas of thought and action.
    The more areas the principle can be applied to, the more abstract it is and greater positives it delivers.
    In this space only one area work is considered - the principle of flexibility is in fact used and applied in many areas as well.
  2. For a principle of thought and consequent actions (Without action thought remains unborn; at the least such a thought must be expressed, action is more potent) can only be labeled as an innovation if such actions do not add to the overall cost and in addition reduces overall cost significantly.
  3. Last but not the least, a principle may be called as an inventive principle only if it adheres to the Principle of Positivity, delivering positives to all concerned, at the least, not increasing the negatives.


1. Work from Home - Innovative Practices and Solutions

2. 11 traits for a successful remote worker

3. Ideal Final result - Tutorial Triz Journal

4. TRIZ - Systematic innovation

5. Systematic innovation using TRIZ - TRIZ Journal

6.40 inventive principles - Technical innovation center

7. 40 inventive principles, the most popular component of TRIZ - Suresolv

8. Working From Home Increases Productivity

9. Advantages and disadvantages of working from home

10. Transforming schools with positivity

11. Sustainable development goals UN

12. Sustainability Models