A proposal for
" Advancing the Science of Imagination: Toward an “Imagination Quotient” "

proposed at http://imagination-institute.org/, origin https://www.facebook.com/ScottBarryKaufman
September 29, 2014


Stepping further form "“Imagination” as a mental representations (visual, verbal, and auditory, and I would say, logical ) of things that are not present to the senses, I say that imagination is a construction of such things. In order to "imagine", brain "constructs". The constructed "design" is kept in memory and "observed" by other senses as if it is a representation of reality. This creates a feedback between senses and "design" "program" with continuous designing-observing-designing-observing chain.

With creativity as a direct consequence of imagination, it can be said that in technological area creativity is synonym of an "inventive process", invention. Which may or may not result in "innovation" which is not just implementation, realization of an invention, but also putting it into practice with the involvement of things beyond an individual creative process.

The best known, the best developed theory of "designing" an invention is TRIZ which is an acronym of "theory of inventive problem solving". This theory is more known in Europe and Asia than in US. Multiple books exists in all languages and many international conferences are held. It has been shown that TRIZ brings excellent results in stimulation of creative output not only in technological area, but science and arts as well. The companies like Samsung start an obligatory training of their designers to TRIZ.

The main TRIZ idea is that technical systems develop in accordance to several objective trends. If an inventor follows in her design this trends, she will create a successful invention which has the most chances to bring success to the innovation process. Once these trends became established, the utmost importance is given to "guiding" an inventor to follow these trends in her thoughts, guiding her imagination from stage to stage. To enable the success, the overall "training", developing of imagination was established. It is actually called like this, this is an official TRIZ term "Developing of Creative Imagination". It was not bound to technological area, but also to literary fiction works and art.

The major emphasis in TRIZ is given to "development of imagination" rather than to establishing metrics, quotient for imagination. However several metrics were developed. The nature of TRIZ gives a unique approach to building such metrics. Here is an example of a possible metric. Since TRIZ established the trends for "inventive lines", a test subject may be asked to imagine immediate solutions to an inventive problem, or/and predict the result of further development of this technological line. Judging how far the outcome is from the original TRIZ prediction and how large the area of new ideas covered, it is possible to judge the "level of imagination" of the test subject. There is an abundance of exemplary problems for such purpose. Of course, such metric will be applicable only to people not familiar with TRIZ. Any average TRIZ trainee will greatly surpass any other average person in what could be called "imagination". However, this is "trained" imagination.

The Title

"Measures of imagination based on TRIZ theory achievements"

How Can Imagination be Measured and Improved

Imagination is measured by analysis of an answer to a control problem compared to the set of control answers. There are other ways to measure imagination based on TRIZ, accumulating them in one report is the subject of proposed research. There will be given an overview and comparison of imagination training methods already present in TRIZ.

A plan to develop an objective measure of imagination (or aspect of imagination), with clear operational definitions and criteria for imagination

See above.

The plan for a manualized intervention

This is the subject of research.

Specify research methodology and technology needed

Writing an overview of TRIZ methods related to imagination. Assemble a list of relevant TRIZ experts and publications. Conduct consultations with experts in person. Write a comprehensive report and formalize test cases. Establish a test group in US, and conduct a preliminary run of available tests. This is the most difficult part. No extra technology is needed.

Description of the relevant population

Any, including children. Except TRIZ trainees.

Likely, committed collaborators

I will look for several committed collaborators, globally recognized TRIZ experts who might be located in several countries. Given the short notice of this proposal I am not able to give their names right now. In addition, there will be a number of experts in TRIZ development of imagination area consulted, this is the nature of this research. These people are engineers, educators, writers and artists.



Principal investigator proposed

Igor Polkovnikov ( Igor Polk )


Igor Polkovnikov is a software engineer with interests in image analysis, automatic solution of inventive problems, and automatic dance generation

Professional profile



1. "Twisted Body Dance Theory of Argentine Tango", a book,

A mathematical theory of dance and origin of human movements.

2. "Perfectly Aligning Guitar Frets and Strings with Notes on a Staff", a book,

A new method of memorization for a guitar for sight reading.

3. "Asynchronous Cellular Operations on Gray Images Extracting Topographic Shape Features and Their Relations",

New algorithms of image analysis implemented on parallel cellular processors. An attempt to predict how human brain operates with visual information.

4. "Abstract Flow and Its Presence in Problems", at
at 5th conference on Systematic innovation in San Jose, ( a TRIZ conference )