In the past the design of a new product used to be performed by intuition and by expertise based on previous successes, and even better on previous failures. When designing a product, a young engineer was fully dependent on the guidance, inspection and help of his superior in the design office. Such guidance was essential for long periods. In the second half of the 20th century systematic design methods have been developed, with the aim that even a novice designer will be able to devise a novel good product. The methods were developed in two very different trends, one in the USSR by G. Altshuller, by the name of TRIZ — a Russian acronym for the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving — and the other in Germany, by a few contributors and is generally known as the Pahl and Beitz method. These two techniques are quite different in approach and in details and have been further developed in the recent years. The Pahl & Beitz method has been enhanced by the ICDM tools and TRIZ has been further developed into SIT, ASIT and USIT versions. In this study, a comparison of all the versions will be made and differences and similarities are highlighted. The methods started very different, but as the development advanced, now quite a few basics and details of both methods, are getting closer to each other. Both ways became quite popular, and attracted many followers. This study presents a comprehensive comparison of the two routes of methods in solving engineering problems.

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