Part 0 Step 0.4 – 0.6 Quantitative characteristics and conditions where the innovation will function

To be honest we did not expect this to happen so quickly, Apple being pushed by major shareholders to fix youth/children getting addicted to devices. So the problem we chose for solving with ARIZ is still relevant and timely.

In this post we will look at figuring the required quantitative characteristics. Currently it is not difficult to find numbers and metrics for any of the system characteristics, irrespective of your domain.

0.4 Determine the required quantitative characteristics.

We used fairly basic set of tools  like statista, wikipedia, research reports and google play store meta data to figure most of our quantitatives. These included video (that takes a major chunk of time in the form of binge watching), mobile games and available opportunities in those.

0.5. Increase the required quantitative characteristics by considering the time for implementing the invention

0.6. Define the requirements of the specific conditions in which the invention is going to function.

  1. Consider the specific conditions for manufacturing the product: in particular, the acceptable degree of complexity.
  2. Consider the scale of future applications.

So we figured the following conditions.

  1. Convincing to both the user and owner of the device that on-screen time needs to be limited due to the detrimental effects of gaming
  2. Distribution of the app/technology through play store, or school group or parent group or others
  3. It has to be easy to use
  4. It should not lead to loss of freedom in using the way i want the device/network/app to be used
  5. It has to be free
  6. Resource light on the device (memory, performance, free of lag)
  7. Can take many device/app rights to use or control
  8. Scale of future applications

In our next post we will look at Part 0 Step 0.8. Define the problem more precisely using patent information and summarize our learning from part 0.

Here is what we did for our problem you can skip the rest of the post…as it contains problem specific characteristics and lists sources of those data… if you are already working on a different problem you may want to focus on collecting data for that problem.

~$500 million revenue in mobile games in India

The average revenue per user (ARPU) in the “Mobile Games” segment amounts to US$25.26 in 2017 and is forecasted to increase to US$25.57

Screen time parental control

Google play services that has all the necessary permissions to the data that we need for building a layer of control or behaviour changing app.

API and service access of play is available for client apps through

Deloitte Global predicts that in 2016 mobile (smartphone and tablet) will become the leading games platform by software revenue, generating $35 billion in revenue up 20 percent from 2015. This compares to $32 billion for PC games and $28 billion for console games, up only five and six percent respectively from the previous year.

However we expect average revenue per game by platform to vary significantly. We forecast $4.8 million per console game available, $2.9 million per PC game, but only $40,000 per mobile game. While many tens of thousands of companies create mobile games, we would expect only about 200 mobile games companies will gross over $1 million in 2016.

One key characteristic of the mobile games market is low barriers to entry. A typical latest-generation console or PC-based game costs tens of millions of dollars to produce, a similar sum to market, and can take several years to develop. Mobile games can be created in mere hours. This has contributed to a profusion of mobile games titles. As of the start of 2016, we estimate app stores will offer more than 800,000 mobile games; this compares to 17,000 titles available for games consoles and PCs. Every day a further 500 mobile games titles are launched on a single platform.

The immense number of mobile game titles renders many new titles invisible without substantial marketing spend. If mobile games publishers cannot afford a TV campaign, they could use outcome-based advertising, such as app-install ads. However this can be expensive. A mobile games publisher might pay several dollars per download with no resulting revenue. And since the predominant business model for mobile games is freemium — whereby games are downloaded for free and additional content is charged for — the vast majority of mobile players can (and do) spend tens of hours playing without having to pay a cent.

The large investment required for a mobile game to stand out from the crowd is likely to keep the market stratified in 2016. We expect about 80 per cent of mobile games revenue in the top 1,000 titles to be earned by the top 20 publishers in each region: that leaves the remaining 20 percent of mobile games revenue to be shared among many tens of thousands of developers. One survey of 8,000 developers found that 17 percent generated no revenue; 18 percent made less than $100 a month, and half made less than $1,000 per month.

Given these market characteristics, we predict that the rise of mobile games, in terms of revenues, will not ‘eat’ console and PC games revenues in the medium term: the three platforms will co-exist, with each serving largely distinct needs, underpinned by different business dynamics.

We expect games play to remain a principal usage of mobile devices and predict that in subsequent years mobile games revenues will continue to grow, propelled by both a rising base of mobile devices, and a marked increase in device specification, particularly for smartphones. However, life may become increasingly arduous for some mobile games publishers, potentially leading to some major players exiting the market in 2016 or 2017.


Number of apps is one of our key concerns and more than the revenue of apps or video.

Shows that 46% installed daily app used are games, but basis age is 18-24, which is slightly beyond our target user group.

52% games installed are discovered through family/friends that comes close to what we see.

Also of note is 3 in 4 expect apps to be free and are willing to pay only $1.5 per game app category downloaded on average versus overall $2.2 which is 33% less and that $2.2 is also falling as a global trend has the entire trending on revenue history across various categories.


Mobile Internet Values
Projected mobile phone internet user penetration in India for 2021 37.36%
Average number of mobile apps actively used in India 7.5
Number of monthly active WhatsApp users in India 70m

Children and marketing violent content through games

“In a survey sponsored by the Commission, 24% of children between the ages of 11 and 16 included at least one M-rated game in their list of three favorite games.”

  • Profanity and adult content is the only consideration for M rating. Addiction and number of scholastic hours?

Defn: Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language. Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older.

This is an interesting solution emerging with voluntary rating of apps and content in the apps, which can be used to control installation of apps.

Comparative Analysis of Rating,+Classification+and+Censorship+Around+Commissioned+Research256794.pdf

Hours spent by game data required

    Approximately if we have a pareto distribution of usage, for EA games, we have approximately 300 million hrs played across all users, of which 200 million hrs is taken by the top users that is about 10 million,

So we are looking at 200 million hrs per month / 10 million users = 20 hrs per month per user.



Part 0 Step 0.2 investigate a by-pass approach

By-pass approach is a necessary step, following system operator, it was originally not part of the 85C but brought back from 85A considering its value in examining the problem more closely.

Purpose: The idea of applying the by-pass approach is to determine at which level you want to solve the problem, i.e. in the system operator we have already identified super system elements and sub system elements, we will now reformulate the original problem at each of these levels. This leads to the 2 steps in the By pass approach that in turn will lead to reformulations that are even better than the original problem

Viewpoint: Solver or parent in our case

Step 1: For the given system reformulate the original problem at the level of the super system

Step 2: For the given system reformulate the original problem at the level of the subsystem

Because most problems these days are complex and have social, technological, behavioral and environmental contexts, we find the Karl Ulrich problem hierarchy very useful (Page 36)tmp_8594fc08dc05fc0448173a5c734f7bb4_I7Wc0Y_html_2f9adbb6[1]

For our specific problem, at super system level, we can now reformulate below as how and why questions across the different contexts. After finishing super system repeat the same at subsystem level and reformulate the problem.
Subsystem from System Operator from our previous exercise includes Device(mobile OS), Eyes, Thumb, Mind, App, Wifi

  1. How to make every social (friends and school)  / technology interaction episode a learning experience?
  2. Why? Level 5 (Social) – In what way might we make them belong to a specific group/clan?
  3. Why? Level 4 (Social) – In what way might we make them heroes/cool guys in their friends circle? (Reason for contact with friends)
  4. Why? Level 4 (Tech) – In what way might we control the nature of the apps that are downloaded?
  5. Why? Level 4 (Tech) – In what way might we help rate games based on psychological metrics like stickiness (frequency of launch and updates), average install period, average daily play time, and allow selection of games? (beyond content and rating currently available in app store)
  6. Why? Level 3 (Social) – In what way might we make them masters of their “art”/games? (Lack of challenge)
  7. Why? Level 3 (Tech) – In what way might we include play time as experience gained?
  8. Why? Level 2 (Social) – In what way might we engage the kids so that they don’t get bored?
  9. How might I increase their exposure to other games/movies/themes?
  10. How can the family engage in the games and increase the game time?
  11. Why? Level 2 (Tech) – In what way might we reduce internet bandwidth for the device?
  12. Why? Level 1 (Social) – In what way might we reduce access to mobile devices?
  13. Why? Level 1 (Tech) – In what way might we reduce run time of mobile devices/app? In what way might we get the screen time reduced for children using a mobile device?
  14. How? Level 1 (Tech) – How might we reduce the game engagement time in the app?
  15. Level 1 (Tech) – How might we reduce the screen-on time on the mobile device?
  16. Level 1 (Tech) – How might we reduce the continuous WiFi on time?
  17. Level 1 (Env) – How might I reduce strain on eyes?
  18. Level 1 (Env) – How can I reduce OCD because of the habit of playing (multi-tasking)?
  19. Level 1 (Env) – How can I increase involvement in slow time frame activities?
  20. Level 1 (Env) – How might I increase monotony of every level, so that it takes longer to complete the level, with not much interest?
  21. Level 1 (Env) – How might I get the school to certify a set of games that are allowed?
  22. Level 1 (Env) – How can we reduce the number of apps available from the app store?
  23. Level 1 (Env) – How can I make the free games download to zero, and give kids allowance to buy their own games?
  24. How might I reduce screen time based on subsystem elements below?
  25. How might increase time spent on each level of the game?
  26. How might increase the access to many such similar games?
  27. How might I give access to “Customers who played this game also played this game” options?

Next step is 0.3 Determine which problem, the original or the bypass, makes the most sense to solve. Here a distinction between mini-problem (where we cannot change much in the system elements and their characteristics) or maxi-problem (where almost anything can be changed) is useful, this will make sure you don’t break laws of physics. Also very useful is to think about the potential evolution paths both objectively and subjectively and develop your view on the problem level of choice.

As a general rule, while selecting the level, I prefer going back to the user of the ultimate solution to see if solving at a chosen level makes sense. In this case of children using disproportionate amount of time on internet and digital devices, I simply asked my son what his preferred solution level was by asking the questions. Of  course curtailing wifi received a “NO”, but his choice was

Why? Level 4 (Tech) – In what way might we control the nature of the apps that are downloaded?

As a solver now we have to rethink if we can actually build such a system, if yes do we have the necessary capability and resources (time, money, others) and we can make a choice.

Looks like we are getting clearer understanding from this reformulation, in our next post we will look at Part 0 Step 0.4 Determine the required quantitative characteristics

Part 0 Step 0.1 System Operator

System Operator

  • is a grid based tool but required imagination and recalling the past.
  • is a very useful tool to see how functionalities and subsystem elements have evolved or replaced with newer elements over time.

Here we follow 2 simple rules

  1. To perform the system functionality the subsystem components are necessary, this will ensure components that are indispensable are only in the system operator and keeps it focused. If we remove a subsystem component, system cannot function, same with super system cannot function without system elements
  2. Decide on whose view point the grid is being filled, in our case it is the parent and also the solver.

Purpose: To engage kid during non-school time and enable holistic development of kid

  • School time – outsourced to the school i.e. it is out of scope for the operator
  • Non-school time – substitute engagement – stay silent – Our study focal point

Viewpoint: Parent who is filling this

Neighbouring systems: Cable TV, Home, and others

Prior activity recommended is draw roughly what you think is going on with respect to the context and the problem. Poor drawings are accepted, but try to minimise words in the picture. My picture for this problem is below

Supersystem Family

No Ads/Buy

Websites/physical stores

Friends circle (incl school friends)

Ads/in app purchases
App store

Installed Groups,

Associated media franchise-movie, TV shows


System  <to play><PC Games><during their free play time>  <to play><mobile games><during their non-school time>  <to play><Virtual World><during non-school time>
Subsystem PC,




PC Game


Device(mobile OS),






VR/AR, Goggles




Dynamic App,


5 years ago Now 5 years later

that you see in the middle is a simple format that makes sure you have identified the function, and context clearly and not make do with vague nouns or system names


One of the glaring insights we got was – Being a hero among peers or
– Being the champion in the particular game or – Winning the game had far more social effect that just playing together. Note how dynamic sub systems emerged and my lack of imagination to see what could be an alternate play store for such apps at super system future level. Time frame of our choice is 5 years but can be shorter depending on the system evolution.

Related to the system operator is the anti system operator that takes the opposite functionality/view, in our case keeping the kids hooked to their devices all the non-school time and see how it affects the system space. Some times if the biases or pre-conceptions or mental models are too rigid this may work better in groups.

In our next post we will Part 0 Step 0.2 investigate a “by-pass approach”, without ourselves solving the problem.

See the first in the series of posts on the problem of choice and introduction in ARIZ 85C algorithm application introduction

ARIZ 85C algorithm application introduction

I am a parent with 2 kids and I am finding it difficult to control the amount of non-school time they are spending on the internet and digital mobile games. This I am concerned with considering the effects of such engagement on the kids holistic development and well being (body, mind and social development). We (me and my friend Bala) are applying ARIZ 85 C core algorithm of TRIZ to find the right level of problem to attack and find not-so-obvious solutions, and subsequently identify system, and sub-systems to build.

If you are interested in being part of this solutioning exercise as a parent or as a kid who is interested in designing better engagements with technology or as a practitioner of systematic innovation methods and applying some of the concepts or as a developer interested in building solutions, you are welcome.

There are 5 parts to the method set, which we will cover sequentially and share outputs of the methods here. Each of the method will have our inputs and application specific to the problem in hand. You may enter your responses/questions in comments.

Each post will have <<Part Number>><<Step Identifier>><<Brief Title>><<Type>>. If you are already familiar with some of the methods or need an overall flow of methods, you may download the free ARIZ85C guide sheet.

Part 0 Step 0.1 Determine final goal of the solution and initial situation

This is a questionnaire Step 0.1: determine the final goal of the solution

  • What is the technical goal (what characteristic of the object must be changed)?
    • Reduction in the number of hours of screen time for a child (5-12 years old)
  • What characteristic of the object cannot be obviously changed in the process of solving a problem?
    • Parents do not have control over the content the kid watches. This cannot be changed.
  • Which expense will be reduced if the problem is solved?
    • Kids fatigue time
  • What is the roughly acceptable expense?
    • 10-20 hours of analysis time – Murali and Bala; 1 hour a day kids expense time
  • What is the main technical / economical characteristic that must be improved?
    • Number of hours of screen time for a child (5-12 years old) / kids’ time available for social/creative engagements

Essentially we are trying to avoid the blue ocean thinking, completely open strategy development in this step with clear identification of the technical goal, constraints, and if this effort is worthwhile considering the expenses and the improvement that may result. We also take care to identify metrics that are associated with each of them, from a system perspective. We are ok with emotional or unmeasurable things as long as it is clearly identified and is not ambiguous.

Next post to follow will be on Part 0 Step 0.1 System Operator

Reference – NIMHANS, has an center by name Services for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT)  This center is set up to help mental conditions created due to overuse of technology at the renowned Bangalore based National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, sponsored by the Central Government.

2015 Technology Trends TRIZ predictions

It is that time of the year when we take one of those popular technology trends, overlay TRIZ system evolution trends and see where it takes in the next cycle, hopefully to a better place.

This year we will take the below from NextGenerationMedia


Prediction quote (emphasis and few links are mine) My warped explanation of the underlying TRIZ trend What can happen next on this trend
 “apps are now less self-contained – they can link to each other” 

“Growth is also helped by the presence of lots of high quality online content to watch through service….”


“virtual interfaces for websites, stores and showrooms”

Law of completeness exemplified with the ENGINE understood as risks and risk related information originating across the board with a TRANSMISSION visualized as streams of information flowing to WORKING UNIT where actions are initiated from the information to contain risks and its effects and having some CONTROL on the above elements including analyticsLaw of Conduction will mean emergence of standards for data and application portability this year. App integration and user as the controller, making apps that integrate well with others and can be controlled by the users will be the next one primarily to make the system complete.I feel more equivalent for IFTT or Zapier will become available for mobile apps.



Traditional way to own broadcast networks is being replaced by owning devices, and the default software installed in it be it any of the big ones like iOS, Android or the Amazon ecosystems, are primarily helping easy conduction of content through the system, in a way that was not imagined by incumbents.

 “Brands like facebook are breaking off key tasks…into single purpose apps Transition to Micro Level App simplification by removing functions to individual apps and target new user behavior that is at a more micro level. If you take this in combination with the law of completeness, most of the functions that will become externalized if they do not have the entire engine-transmission-tool-control, they will not gain user base and will lead to functional deprecation of the original app and a lot of disgruntled users.
 “services are getting bolder about asking funds from users” 

“access to journalists can be negotiated directly, rather than through the media owner”


“Full stack”


Transition to Super system will mean aggregation and unification of the entire service procurement including licensing, integration, migration, channel management etc Having options on payment systems that are in-situ becomes a control unit or an opportunity to impress an ad.Users in the super system paying voluntarily will increase

Again blogging by users to generate content for a media platform challenging incumbents is not new.

Government initiated actions to control will become even more centralized within the existing laws for media/broadcasting for all generated content, and standards for EULA by governments for most common intermediaries and hosts will be drafted. Very similar to how insurance TPA agreements were standardized.

 “voice messaging will soon be integrated…with other messaging apps” Law of Harmonization will necessitate smooth transitions at application and portfolio level and will mean newer services especially in migration and testing to make sure business continuity. Design and flow A/B tests will become more granular and automated which is not new but this will not affect the general user design from monopoly to oligopoly onindividual app versions will become a reality. 

App and consumption will now be easy to harmonize with users and not a schedule of some big media company or a tv schedule

Across several trends Law of uneven development on above will mean the 4 elements in the law of system completeness will evolve at different speeds, so will different systems that are developing. Video production, video distribution on mobile  or through ads and connectivity and speed of networks are all evolving at different speeds and it may be a while for it to come together, our prediction is not this year.Also similar to ad blocks video blocks that will emerge even with reducing network costs will emerge this year.


TRIZ Facilitator Notes

As a facilitator, we get thrown into multiple problems and domains. Unlike a trainer, facilitators are more accountable for the outcome and problem, and less on the individual capability development in TRIZ.

Of course facilitators cannot expect the rare creative genius who is at work and hiding to also come to this specific problem solving session and surprise how he imbibed TRIZ naturally. Which makes it interesting in a way, as in TRIZ we rely more on dead geniuses than the genius absentee. Then we have this problem of first timers who find it hard to get the language of TRIZ, to get used to it and with no practice.

I found myself trying to scale facilitators through many different methods like train the trainer, attacking core groups where they solve problems, community of practice etc. But only few succeed to build real capacity for TRIZ tools inside your company usually slower than you can imagine. So in order to choose methods you typically go with the following heuristic. 

  1. First the person / group and second the level of interest
    1. ranging from not for me, as it demands, love it to final viral practitioner
  2. Third of Space and time
    1. how the problem needs to be visualized using function analysis or system operator
  3. Fourth of tool and interaction, and possibly evolution
    1. with su field, 76 standard solutions and of course the laws of system evolution
  4. Finally to break the feeling of being stuck and looking for quick solves for specific needs or contradictions
    1. including trimming, matrix, resources and plain principles even sometimes in rando

So lowering the entry barrier, welcoming all, clearly specifying whats in in for me, and sustaining with a community is all we can do as facilitators.