The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (known by its Russian acronym TRIZ) is used across the globe to help engineers working on product design and development. In previous papers the authors developed a Function-Based TRIZ method and began a validation process. A single innovative feature was identified in a sample of innovative products, and these features were traced backwards on the Function-Based TRIZ matrix. The Function-Based TRIZ matrix was deemed successful in cases where any inventive principle suggested by the matrix could have produced the innovative feature. During this process, the authors observed that no matter which principle was used, some mental leap was needed to apply it. Additionally, many different inventive principles can lead to the same concept. This paper examines a new hypothesis: that the provocative stimulus presented by any randomly selected inventive principle facilitates concept generation just as effectively as using the historical contradiction matrix to guide inventive principle selection. This paper presents a study on the benefits of using the TRIZ contradiction matrix to select the “correct” principles during concept generation. During this study, participants were asked to come up with concepts using one of two TRIZ matrices: the real one that contains historical knowledge from an extensive patent search, or a randomly populated one. The results of this exercise were then examined using modified versions of two concept evaluation metrics set forth by Shah: quantity and variety. This paper offers two contributions to the field. The first is a step toward understanding the role and importance of conflict mappings in TRIZ and TRIZ-like problem-solving methodologies. The second is a method for evaluating process variety (as opposed to outcome variety) when TRIZ is used to generate ideas.

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