Why Principles are Better than Rules

Posted by on June 3, 2013

DaVinci_Beagle_BatmanLaid side-by-side, a stick and a rope of the same length share a similar appearance. Likewise, rules and principles look alike even though they have virtually nothing in common.

Rules are like sticks.
You can prod people with them.
You can threaten people with them.
You can beat people with them.
But you cannot lead people with them.
When a rule doesn’t fit the circumstance, your only choice is to break it.

Principles are like ropes, able to conform to the shape of any problem. They are less brittle than rules, and stronger. Principles whisper valuable advice and people are happily led by them.

A rule requires obedience.
A principle requires contemplation.

Rules are demanded by people
who have not the wit to understand and apply
the appropriate, all-encompassing principle.

Segmentation is a principle. Elimination is another. These are, in fact, the first two principles of TRIZ, an uncanny toolbox of 40 Answers that shine their own, unique light on your problem from 40 different directions, revealing a wide range of creative solutions.

The principle of segmentation urges you to consider the perspective of connected pieces. Trains, chains and sliding windowpanes are expressions of segmentation.

The principle of elimination urges you to consider that less is more. Pruning a plant, cropping a photograph and editing an ad are expressions of elimination.

If the other 38 principles of TRIZ were as self-explanatory as these, I’d simply encourage you to tap T-R-I-Z into your favorite search engine and study it on your own. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Go ahead. Do it. Throw some Google on that acronym and see what you find: T-R-I-Z. I believe you’ll see that a journey into the jungle of TRIZ would make a lot more sense with an experienced guide at your side.
Anti-Weight (Principle 8,)
Preliminary Anti-Action (Principle 9,)
Equipotentiality (Principle 12,)
Another Dimension (Principle 17,)
Homogeneity (Principle 33,) and
Phase Transitions (Principle 36)
are easy to understand when SuperFox reveals them. Not so easy when you attempt to follow someone else.

Mark Fox is the Chairman of the Board at Wizard Academy. Before rising to that illustrious position, he was the youngest Chief Engineer in the history of the space shuttle project. Yes, Mark is a rocket scientist. He’s also been Chief Marketing Officer of some famous hi-tech companies. My favorite thing about Mark, though, is that he’s a fascinating instructor and a lot of fun. You’ll want a room in Engelbrecht House when Mark unleashes the 40 principles of TRIZ in his world-changing workshop, Da Vinci and the 40 Answers. (If you’re smart, you’ll register for the October session today while free rooms are still available.)

If October isn’t an option, you’ll at least want to read the book. A working knowledge of the 40 Answers is like having Batman’s utility belt.

Wizard Academy is a school for the imaginative, the courageous and the ambitious. Dull people, cowardly people, and people without purpose find nothing here they can use.

But you, you’ll find exactly what you need. We built this whole place for you and frankly, it’s pretty amazing.

Come. Even if it’s just for the principle of the thing.

Roy H. Williams

Leave a Reply