The goal of any technical system is to provide some function. Conventional engineering thought states: “It is required to deliver such and such a function. Therefore, we must build a mechanism or device to deliver this function.” TRIZ thinking: “It is required to deliver such and such a function without introducing a new mechanism or device into the system.”
The Law of Ideality states that any technical system, throughout its lifetime, tends to become more reliable, simple, effective — more ideal. Every time we improve a technical system, we nudge that system closer to Ideality. It costs less, requires less space, wastes less energy, etc. Ideality always reflects the maximum utilization of existing resources, both internal and external to the system. The more free or readily available the resources utilized, the more ideal the system will be. We can judge an inventive work by its degree of Ideality. The further an invention is from its Ideal state, the more complex the system will be — and visa versa. What happens when a system reaches Ideality? The mechanism disappears, while the function is performed.
A meat plant in South America ships its product to the United States. Refrigeration is required during transport to keep the meat frozen. The meat is flown to the United States, so refrigeration systems were installed in cargo planes. When competition increased, the owner of the plant sought to reduce delivery cost. It became obvious that he must increase the amount of product per air shipment. Analysis of the situation revealed that he could compete better if the weight of the refrigeration system were replaced with that of meat. He did exactly that. Flying at an altitude of 15,000–25,000 feet the air temperature is below 32oF, so no refrigeration system was actually needed. Conclusion: Utilization of existing resources costing nothing brought the system closer to Ideality. The art of inventing is the ability to remove barriers to Ideality in order to qualitatively improve a technical system. (In this book we are talking only about technical systems; however, this statement can be applied to any system.)