TRIZ-40-principlesGood creativity usually isn’t very creative at all…

From an outsider’s view, many “creative” processes are thought to be all fun and games (with perhaps a little mind-altering substances mixed in).

But live in the copywriting and marketing world for a while — or any other industry with “creative” elements — and you’ll discover that the most “creative” people don’t match these assumptions at all.

Rather, their creativity is remarkably…  Un-creative!

What you’ll find instead is they’re most often hacking at ideas…  Mixing them together, taking them apart, transplanting them from one place to another…  Or somehow manipulating them in some way to make something that isn’t really new but it feels that way.

And while stereotypically creative people can sometimes knock it out of the park, they often miss more often than they have a hit.

While the un-creative people are the ones getting win after win after win.

My first client introduced me to a very effective method for this “un-creative” creativity…

David Bullock was well-known at the time for the world’s most advanced form of marketing testing — Taguchi Testing.  It resonated with him because the Taguchi method came out of the engineering world, and so did David.

From his engineering background, David had also learned about something called TRIZ.  It’s a method for un-creative creativity developed by Russian inventor Genrich Altshuller.

TRIZ is based on a number of different principles that can be used to describe effective innovation.

By reverse-engineering what kinds of innovations actually work, you get a system that can be used for developing new innovations.

Good news, this has applications beyond inventing — in marketing and product development!

The following is a handful of the 40 principles of TRIZ, with a brief note about how you might apply each to innovating your products, services, offers, or marketing messages…  Thereby creating something new and exciting for your prospects to respond to.


Divide your product into pieces and sell them individually or in modular fashion.  Divide your list into segments based on who will respond to what offers.


Combine products.  Allow two-for-one deals.  Sell your competitor’s products alongside yours.


Combine teaching on a topic with done for you services.  Find a way to get the customer the result they want as part of the purchase itself (without additional work on their part).

Nested Doll

Combine multiple offers into a single funnel.  The more the prospect buys, the more offers they get.

Beforehand Cushioning

Pre-sell your product before you launch it.  Provide editorial support for a launch in preparation of the actual marketing message.


Let your customer define your product or service to meet their needs.  Create a flexible payment option.

Periodic Action

Instead of delivering your product all at once, deliver it through time.  Instead of asking for one payment, offer installments.

Blessing in Disguise

Put your biggest flaw up front in your marketing — explain how that motivated you to get everything else perfect.


Create a dynamic email follow-up sequence that changes based on user behavior such as email opens and clicks.


Look at all competitive products in a market and build a product that matches all the best features.  Find proven selling approaches and use them as the basis for building your own.

Color Changes

Send the next version of your marketing in a very different color scheme, to get attention.  Offer multiple color options on your product if relevant.

Click here for the full list of the 40 TRIZ principles.

These un-creativity short-cuts are a smart way to practice effective creativity…

Next time you’re looking for a way to juice your marketing results…  Beat the control… Do something NEW that will get your customer to respond…

It will pay to have a list of options like this, at your disposal, that you can use to stimulate the creative juices.

I can spot multiple profit-boosting breakthroughs in the list above that I’ve seen fundamentally change the success path of businesses I’ve worked with.  If you’re serious about applying them, they could have the same impact for you or your clients.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets