According to TRIZ there are five levels of engineering innovation. Innovation Situation – engineering, technical, physical problem to be solved that includes any kind of contradiction, for example, contradiction between opposing forces. By level of innovation, we understand the complexity of the solution that is used to solve technical, physical contradiction.
1. Apparent or conventional solution. Solutions by methods well known within specialty. Solution is not related to technical contradiction. Local, minor changes of the object.
2. Small invention inside paradigm. Improvements of an existing system, usually with some compromise. Solution related to technical contradiction chosen from dozens of possible variants.
3. Substantial invention inside technology. Essential improvement of existing system. Essential changing of the object, total change of some elements, parts of the system. Solution from one science from hundreds of possible variants.
4. Invention outside technology. New generation of design using science, not technology. New paradigm found, solution is chosen from thousands of possible variants.
5. Major discovery and new science. System is changed totally. Innovative situation was a tough complex of serious problems. Solution found from enormous amount of possible variants.