My Life, TRIZ, Ideation and Face Innovation

ZION BAR-ELChairman of Ideation International and Face Innovation International

I was born on June 1, 1942 at 5:30 AM in Sosita hospital in Tiberias, a small town in northern Israel.

After high school, I served in the Israeli army as an officer-engineer, specializing in explosive materials and mines.

In 1964, I immigrated to the USA and completed my education as electronics engineer in a private university in San Francisco.

I got married in 1977 to my wife, Aviva. We have five children and five grandchildren. We reside in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

My hobbies are mathematics, tennis, music, swimming, singing and martial arts.

I worked as a design engineer for Bowmar Technology Instrument Co. in Southern California dealing with emerging technologies such as microwaves, calculators and programmable calculators, and potentiometers made of conductive plastic.

I worked for Olivetti SPA Inc., the Italian conglomerate, as a software architect and software application developer and later became a sales and marketing specialist overseeing the entire sales force of 1,200 sales professionals, generating over $100M in revenue.

As the minicomputer became available with Intel, multi bas and Motorola VME bas, I worked for General Automation, Inter Data, Prime Computer, marketing hardware and CAD software, generating tens of millions in revenue. While working for those companies I was a founder of the software company MiniControl, specializing in developing software for aerospace companies. I sold my share after three years for $1 M.

In 1984, I worked for Forward Technology in Silicon Valley as Ex. VP of sales and marketing, building board level products and integrating them into workstations, selling to OEM’s. In three years, I increased the revenue by 300%. At such time, I decided to purchase together with a close friend, Mr. Don Sims, a company named Microproject BV, which built unicorn mini-computers based on VME bas. In 1990 we cashed out and started looking for the next business opportunities.

I received a phone call in early 1992 from a close friend working in Bell Laboratories, Mr. Mark Harrison, letting me know that he had met a Russian scientist named Valeriy Tsourikov, who had 30 inventions and owned a company named Invention Machine in Minsk, Russia, that utilized the TRIZ methodology (The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving), originated in the former USSR by Genrich Altshuller, as a base for developing his software application. He was looking for an investor with $500K and a president to disseminate Invention Machine software. Although it sounded interesting to me, Valeriy and me did not see eye-to-eye (a philosophical dispute; Valeriy believed in machine inventing on demand and I disagreed believing that only people could invent, better with TRIZ knowledge).  At this point, Mark convinced Don and me to establish a partnership under the name Ideation, and start investigating what TRIZ was all about.

In August 1992, Don Sims traveled to Russia to meet with Alla Zusman, Boris Zlotin and Genrich (Henry) Altshuller. Mark and I traveled to Israel to meet with Dr. Ginsburg – the president of Open University of Tel Aviv and the Russians in Israel trying to deploy TRIZ (eventually, they came up with SIT, a small portion of the entire TRIZ methodology). The decision was made that Boris, Alla and their Kishinev TRIZ school in Moldova (former USSR) had a much more in-depth knowledge of TRIZ, and therefore, we invited Boris and Alla to come to the USA in November of 1992 to conclude an agreement.

For me, it was love at first sight. Even with their broken English, my senses told me that they were extremely intelligent, smart, knowledgeable, trustworthy and in love with TRIZ enormously. Their close relationship with Altshuller, writing five books together and providing 4-week workshops to hundreds of Russian professionals had given them tremendous credentials.  I was convinced that they both had the highest power of advancing such a powerful methodology to ultimately become a standard in every educational institution and every enterprise that depends on technology and innovation.

We gave birth to Ideation International, Inc. in November 1992. Boris and Alla went back to Moldova with money to support the development of their own Innovation Workbench® (IWB) software. The first DOS version was delivered to us in March 1993. We sold one copy to Emerson Electric for $10,000 and since then we have had 11 upgrades and 3 new shells for IWB and sold more than 200,000 copies, including, but not limited to, a site license for $1M to BP Amoco and another site license to Rohm & Haas for $750K.

Since Ideation’ inception, November of 1992, the company history is divided in four distinct chapters as follows:

4 Chapters of Ideation International Inc.

Chapter 1.  $1.978M

Chapter 2.  $13.415M

Chapter 3.  $8.405

Chapter 4.  $2.345M

TOTAL:     $26.143M

Average per year: $1.046M, Monthly: $87K

Chapter 1.  Period 1993 – 1995

Founders: Don Sims, Mark Harrison, Boris Zlotin, Alla Zusman, Zion Bar-El.


 CompanyRevenue CompanyRevenue

Total revenue: $1.978M

Yearly average: $659K

Chapter 2.  Period 1996 – 2001

Don Sims resigned in January 1996

Mark Harrison resigned in March 1996

Gary Baker – Legal Adviser


 CompanyRevenue CompanyRevenue
5W.E.T. Automotive System 

A 10-year corporate agreement with SANNO, revenue $654K

Agreement with CTC for software selling

Total revenue: $13.415M

Yearly average: $2.236M

Chapter 3.  Period 2002 – 2010

January 2002: David Bonner and Peter Hanik joined Ideation as President and Vice President of Business Development


 CompanyRevenue CompanyRevenue

Formation of IPBI, revenue $1.058M

Total revenue: $8.405M

Yearly average: $934K

Chapter 4.  Period 2011 – 2017

Formation of Ideation of Japan

Teruyuki Kamimura is the CEO of Ideation of Japan, shareholder and Vice Chairman of Ideation International Inc., I-TRIZ specialist


 CompanyRevenue CompanyRevenue

Total revenue: $2.345M

Yearly average: $335K

Once the Office of Innovation was completed successfully, Ideation is ready to launch it into several selected companies in the following industries:

  1. Transportation
  2. Electronics
  3. Oil drilling and exploration
  4. Chemicals
  5. Health care
  6. Energy
  7. Food and water
  8. Consumers product

In August 2016, we gave birth to Face Innovation International, Inc. for the purpose of bringing the Inventive Problem Solving (IPS) application to the masses, including any professional that is mature, intelligent and passionate in creative thinking and invention-on-demand. We have over 100 associates and we are looking forward to growing to 1M associates in five years.