The Worldwide Popularity For Innovation-Related Search Terms & Triz Is Dropping

There is a mixed-message news flash for TRIZ and Innovation connoisseurs. The general popularity of specific innovation-related keywords as a Google search term is high but they have been steadily trending down since 2004. The bad economy and recession are not directly linked with this drop since innovation topics have been falling out of favor as a search pursuit a few years before the housing bust and bad economy arrived on the scene.

TRIZ is the Science of Inventive Problem Solving, which was developed by the Soviet inventor and science fiction author Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues, in 1946. It is based on the premise that great creativity can be a learned skill. It has a solid group of followers in many countries. It gives optimism for a more innovative future and hopes that the best ideas do not always have to come out of highly funded “Think Tanks” or from innovation geniuses.

Any search analysis of short terms and especially acronyms like TRIZ are risky because the acronyms can mean many different things in different countries than what a web searcher might actually be looking for. For example, the average monthly web searches for “TRIZ” in Brazil was incredibly high (74,000) in 2011. That would make Brazil the #1 country fan of Innovation-Based TRIZ, if it were true. However, Innovation-TRIZ interest is not what it seems in Brazil for a few different reasons. TRIZ is the name of an ESPN TV sports program in Brazil. “POR UM TRIZ” is a movie title (Out of Time) released in Brazil starring Denzel Washington and POR UM TRIZ is part of the lyrics of a popular song. The word TRIZ also appears to be the name of a music band in Brazil, the name of an antihistamine, a brand of glue in South America, a Chinese Export firm, etc.

Due to these issues, estimated Innovation-TRIZ popularity numbers in Brazil should be reduced by a figure of 70,000 searches per month for 2011. That puts an accurate assessment of worldwide TRIZ popularity in 8th place when compared to 21 other business improvement initiatives.

According to data from the Google Keyword Tool, there is an average of 246,000 worldwide searches that were initiated each month in 2011 on the web for the Business and Industrial search category for TRIZ. I estimate that the true Innovation-TRIZ interest is more accurately set as 176,000, due to the other uses for the term TRIZ, as mentioned before. The adjusted 2011 TRIZ popularity rank is shown below with the numbers for the average number of Google web searches in 2011 for TRIZ and 23 other Business Improvement Initiatives.

1. Lean …5,000,000

2. Six Sigma …1,000,000

3. Balanced Scorecard …550,000

4. Total Quality Management …301,000

5. Lean Manufacturing …246,000

6. Industrial Engineering …246,000

7. Lean Six Sigma …246,000

8. Triz …176,000

9. Business Process Reengineering …135,000

10. Business Process Management …90,500

11. Business Leadership …74,000

12. Quality Management Systems …49,500

13. Operational Excellence …33,100

14. Theory of Constraints …33,100

15. Toyota Production System …22,200

16. Baldrige Award …14,800

17. Design for Six Sigma …14,800

18. Lean Office …12,100

19. Business Process Improvement …12,100

20. Process Excellence …8,100

21. Hoshin Planning …2,400

22. Goal Alignment …1,900

23. Total Performance Management …1,900

24. Vision Deployment …320

As impressive as the bulk of monthly worldwide searches were in 2011 for specific innovation-related terms (see rank list below), they have all seen a 25 – 67% drop in popularity since 2004. The rank list below shows the average monthly search volume for specific term for 2011. As seen here, TRIZ is not yet at par with other common innovation words rolling through the minds of worldwide web searchers. Altshuller, the founder of TRIZ, does not attract much attention. If the TRIZ founder’s full name “Genrich Altshuller” were tested for popularity, the numbers drop even further than what is shown on the list below.

1. Patent …6,120,000

2. Innovation …4,090,000

3. Invention …3,350,000

4. Creativity …1,000,000

5. TRIZ …246,000

6. Altshuller …720

“Google Trends” and “Google Insights for Search” tools were used to determine the popularity trends for TRIZ and other innovation-related terms. In spite of this grand number of searches initiated each month by the would-be innovators of the world, interest in TRIZ and its founder Genrich Altshuller is down 55% since 2004. Other business improvement initiatives do not appear to be stealing fans away from TRIZ since most of their numbers are also down sharply since 2004. TRIZ is not the only creativity-based search words that are waning in popularity. This short list of other similar search terms might be a signal that other priorities are displacing innovation topics as a popular interest and pursuit in life and business:

1. Patent …down 67%

2. Invention …down 60%

3. TRIZ …down 55%

4. Altshuller …down 55%

5. Creativity …down 40%

6. Innovation …down 25%

Shown below are the actual average monthly searches in 2011 for the top 21 countries of the world for the word TRIZ included in a Google search. Brazil numbers were adjusted from 74,000 to 4,000 as mentioned previously to show its true interest in Innovation-TRIZ compared to other non-innovation uses for the search term TRIZ in Brazil.

1. USA …18,100

2. Mexico …12,100

3. Germany …9,900

4. France …8,100

5. Spain …8,100

6. Japan …6,600

7. China …5,400

8. Taiwan …5,400

9. Colombia …4,400

10. India …4,400

11. Morocco …4,400

12. Portugal …4,400

13. UK …4,400

14. Brazil …4,000

15. Algeria …3,600

16. Argentina …3,600

17. South Korea …3,600

18. Saudi Arabia …3,600

19. Italy …2,900

20. Peru …2,900

21. Turkey …2,900

TRIZ popularity as a search term in the top 3 interested countries on the above list (USA, Mexico and Germany) also shows a 50 – 65% decline since 2004. Maybe it is time for innovation experts to find out how to make true innovation more attractive and successful for the masses.