Southbeach notation

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This article originally appeared in Wikipedia, but was deleted because it was judged not to meet Wikipedia notability standards. It describes a useful visual thinking tool, however, and is therefore reproduced in WikIT, which originally had a brief mention of it.

Southbeach Notation is a visual modeling language for situation improvement[1] and is one of an increasing number of methods used around the world for intensifying innovation.[2] It is derived from and extends TRIZ notations for inventive problem solving.[3] Models are created in the form of diagrams similar to Cause-effect graphs that show the different parts of a system (Agents) as red blocks if they are considered harmful and green blocks if they are considered useful. Organizations known to be using Southbeach include CSC, BearingPoint UK, Intel and ShapingTomorrow.

How the different agents affect each other is indicated by drawing different kinds of lines between the agents (see Diagram showing a key to semantic visualisations below). The effects are also coloured according to whether they increase or decrease the usefulness of the agents they affect (see example model).[4]


Southbeach Notation differs from other notable visual languages such as UML in that codification of agents in a system as useful or harmful is defined on an entirely subjective basis, whereas UML models are intended to be an objective statement about a system. Each Southbeach diagram is drawn from a certain perspective; this could be the view or belief of an individual, a role in a process, an organisation, a political view, a legal position, an economic policy or other system of thought or meme.

As such, Southbeach Notation lends itself to perspective analysis in situations where multiple individuals, organisations, or systems of governance are affecting how parts or aspects of the system interact with each other, and more specifically, how parts or aspects of the system may be changed in order to improve the overall performance, effectiveness or quality of the system. What constitutes performance is itself considered a matter of perspective as it depends on how performance is measured. For example, performance of a production line may be considered from the perspective of the wider economy or the speed of production or the quality of product. The notation introduces the notion of dimensions of separation, which are visualised as grids in which agents may be placed, each axis of the grid being a different dimension, e.g. Time (past, present, future) against structure (super-system, system, sub-system) as is used in the TRIZ nine box analysis technique. Southbeach Notation can be used to analyse situations top-down, progressively decomposing agents in the system to focus on the issues preventing the goals being achieved, and also bottom-up analysis of detailed aspects of the system to identify patterns that can be used to match problems against solutions, providing a natural vehicle for Pattern oriented modeling.

Southbeach Notation supports the idea that problems may be abstracted into patterns of interactions between agents that permit generalised problem solving techniques to be applied and to enable predictive analysis of potential interventions that may be considered as ways of improving a system.

TRIZ itself, whilst having certain core principles that define it as a way of thinking (”everything is useful AND harmful”), incorporates a collection of complimentary tools that can be applied within this paradigm. There are various overlaps between TRIZ and other methods as well as a number of variants[3]. P-TRIZ[5] is a variant of Southbeach Notation specifically used in Process management and Process improvement. In P-TRIZ, steps and activities in a process are highlighted as useful or harmful, with the possibility of additionally showing the useful and harmful side effects of each process step over and above the desired effect designed into the process. It is often the additional information relating to the broader impact of each process step that determines how to improve it.


Southbeach Notation is a generic modelling language and as such can be used in various ways (use cases). Like other modelling languages, the ways in which it can be used are determined to some extent by the paradigm the notation is based upon. As Southbeach Notation is fundamentally about describing what is useful and harmful in a situation, and how different agents in a situation interact to increase or decrease that usefulness or harmfulness, the most obvious applications of Southbeach Notation are to do with situation improvement, collaboration, perspective alignment, agreement, communication of ideas, impact analysis, root cause analysis and so on. Some examples applications are described below:

Multi-perspective Situational Modelling[edit]

Southbeach models are used to build a picture of a situation from relevant perspectives in order to foster integrative thinking and collaboration between people with different knowledge, experience, roles, authority, talent, and motivations.

Collections of models from these differing perspectives are then combined or synthesised into a common view of the key features in a situation in terms of what is useful and harmful about that situation. This process of consensus forming is part of the improvement process, as to agree on what to do there must first be agreement on what the problem is and what the goals are moving forward. Development of Southbeach Notation models typically follows a process along the following lines:

  1. Create a model, a hypothesis – describing the problem, and consequences of attempted solutions to date
  2. Elaborate the model with subject matter experts – from all walks; management, industry, government, science, … – Bring in other people’s perspectives on the model
  3. Elaborate further, creating sub-models for drill down into complex or contentious areas
  4. Perform a root cause analysis to understand how this situation arose
  5. Share the model and report with others to gather feedback iteratively
  6. Capture the feedback in terms of model elaborations and ideas entered into the report
  7. Create a plan of action, and show the to-be model next to the as-is model
  8. Do an impact and risk analysis on the plan of action and refine it by mitigating risks and protecting against adverse impacts
  9. Create the final report and action plan for improving your situation
  10. Execute the agreed action to realise the benefits of the planned changes

Also see: Eight Disciplines Problem Solving

Southbeach Notation provides its own semantics; these effectively form a well defined subset of normal written language, designed to focus attention on the affects different agents in the system have on each other and whether these improve or worsen the usefulness of those agents. The rationale behind this approach is that for each kind of effect, there are corresponding counter effects and hence affects that are perceived as problems because they are harmful, have natural solutions that suggest themselves.

Structured Brainstorming[edit]

Once a Southbeach Notation model is created, it naturally lends itself to a process of analysis. This involves looking at each agent, and each effect between agents, and considering options for improvement. This process is not fixed and Southbeach defines no specific methodology. Rather, it is adaptable to each application of the notation. A generic example of this process for situation improvement similar to the Theory of Constraints (TOC) Current Reality Tree is shown below:

  1. If its useful
    1. How can we get more of it?
    2. How can we make it more useful?
    3. How else can we use it? In what other ways could it be useful?
    4. Can we discover the cause and make more of this useful agent?
    5. How can we reduce its dependency on other Agents?
    6. How can we reduce or remove its harmful side effects?
  2. If its harmful
    1. How can we reduce it?
    2. How can we make it less harmful?
    3. How can we protect other agents from the harm?
    4. Can we remove the root cause?
    5. Can we change the causing agent to produce something useful instead?
    6. Can we put it to some use that removes it so as to avoid the harm it would otherwise cause?
    7. Can we convert it into something else that is not harmful?

Once an improvement model is created from a situation model it can be further elaborated to explore the potential consequences of taking the improvement actions in order to identify useful and harmful side effects and improve the action plan. Southbeach Notation models are one way to codify TOC Future Reality Trees and explore the Negative Branch Reservations (including often unforeseen harmful side effects) that could represent fatal flaws in the intended improvement.

Note that the other Thinking Processes of TOC can also be adapted for use with Southbeach Notation models.

Knowledge Representation[edit]

Southbeach Notation models can be used as a formal Knowledge representation for the purposes of capturing collective knowledge, analyzing different perspectives, and applying deductive reasoning to improve the situations described in the model. This is a consequence of the way the semantic is defined; it self to deductive reasoning for how to improve a situation described using the notation by virtue of all agents in the models being useful or harmful and all effects either increasing the usefulness or decreasing it. For example, in the simple model Business Produces Profit, one can infer that having more business will lead to more profit. Similarly, if Spending Counteracts Profit we can infer that increasing Spending will decrease Profit. Chains of reasoning can be used in larger more complex models to deduce ways of improving a system that are either not obvious, or are even counter intuitive.

Example Situation Model[edit]

Example Southbeach Notation Situation Model

This Southbeach Notation diagram illustrates some of the Southbeach Semantics in a simple model of a business. Southbeach Notation models serve multiple purposes:

  • Describe the situation in terms of its parts and how they interact
  • Judge the various agents at work in the situation in terms of whether they are useful or harmful
  • Highlighting the goals that the system being modelled is intended to achieve
  • Identifying the focus of attention for situation improvement that this model was created for
  • Provide a basis from which to agree on key facts (e.g. there are insufficient sales)
  • Agree priorities (e.g. marketing is the focus of attention); whether things in the real world make it into the model or not will depend on how relevant they are to the particular problem or challenge being addressed by this model; note that Southbeach Notation diagrams are usually created with a specific purpose of improvement in mind, rather than being attempts to fully describe some situation from an academic or documentation perspective
  • Support the analysis process in improving the situation, in various ways:
    • Focused improvement of the constraints on the system (harmful counteractions) that are limiting its performance against its goals
    • Evolving the system as a whole, for example through application of the Laws of Technical Systems Evolution
    • Improving the reliability or robustness of the system using techniques such as Failure mode and effects analysis
  • Capture root causes and perform impact analysis

Thus, each element of a Southbeach model can provide a pivot point for improvement. Some examples are provided below.

How to read the diagram[edit]

Spending produces (arrow) materials which are used (small box end) by the manufacturing process to create (star) products which produce sales which produce revenue which produce profit. The profit is the goal (solid green box), and it is counteracted by the spending, considered harmful and hence shown in red. Spending also produces marketing which increases the sales from the products. However, competitors (harmful) counteract the production of sales. Sales are shown as insufficient (dashed box) and marketing is the focus of attention (yellow highlight). Note the filled circle at the start of some effect lines indicating that the agent is necessary for the effect to occur, e.g. Spending is necessary to increase materials, manufacturing, and marketing.

Note the short dashed lines across some of the effects. These indicate that the effect occurs after a delay. For example, there is a delay between acquisition of the materials and use of those materials by the manufacturing process to create the product.

Example Situation Improvement Model[edit]

Example Southbeach Notation Improvement Model

Here are some improvement alternatives created by walking around the diagram as described in the structured brainstorming improvement approach described above. Actions or interventions designed to improve the situation have been added (blue boxes) to the diagram.

All green boxes are useful, so increasing them is likely to increase the usefulness of the overall system. Red boxes are harmful, so need to be reduced, but a balance must be struck as although spending is considered harmful, it has multiple useful effects – spending is necessary – so the reduction of spending is only useful if it can be achieved without reducing the useful products of that spending (materials, manufacturing, and marketing). Similarly, delays on useful effects are opportunities for improvement as they represent a delay in realisation of potential value held in the system. Note that competitors have no useful function in this system as they are harmful, counteract the useful production of profit, and have no useful side effects (from the perspective of the business), so finding ways to avoid, prevent, remove, or diminish the impact of competitors is worthwhile investment as long as it does not cost more than the profit (i.e. as long as the business is actually viable).

There are more subtle ways in which creativity techniques can be combined with Southbeach models. For example, the sales are insufficient. So how can we resolve that? From the model, we can spend more on marketing to increase the production of sales from products, or we can spend more on manufacturing to create more products – more kinds of products to hit more of the market, or more products to places where it is needed if the market is not uniform in its consumption. We can find ways to diminish the effect of the competitors; by selling the products where our competitor has no influence, by removing the competitor through acquisition, by branching out into markets not addressed by our competitor. We can also move into other kinds of sales than products; perhaps there is revenue to be made by providing service contracts. Combining creativity techniques of various forms with Southbeach models as a mechanism for driving a structured brainstorming approach can be a very powerful way to create improvement directions that will be more complete and more directed to where they are needed most.

Impact analysis and refinement of the improvement plan[edit]

Note that this improvement diagram shows how Southbeach Notation models document intended actions or ideas for improving a situation. The next step would be to create multiple future state models that indicate how the system could look after these actions have been performed. The idea is that all agents are useful AND harmful, and so too are all actions; so conducting impact analysis on the planned improvement is an important step in refining those plans. The useful and harmful side effects of these actions would be shown as green and red agents, and their interactions with the other agents already in the system would be mapped. This would typically be performed using subject matter experts, stakeholders in the system, and sponsors of the proposed changes to ensure all pertinent knowledge and lessons learned are brought to bear, and buy-in is achieved.

Communication and stakeholder alignment[edit]

A key aspect of Southbeach Notation models is their subjective nature – whether something is deemed predominantly useful or harmful is a matter of opinion. Identifying the key variances in opinion is seen as a key part of the problem solving process. Whilst bringing together stakeholders with apparently opposing views can cause tension, sharing matter-of-fact diagrams of points of view in this way is much less confrontational than traditional approaches to debate as it creates a concrete representation of the discussion between the various involved parties (the diagram). Very often people who seem at first to disagree on whether something is useful or harmful are using the same terms to mean different things, or are talking about different aspects of that thing. In this example, Spending may be considered harmful by the CEO as it counteracts profit. The head of marketing however is passionate about the need to get the message out there about all their new products and not rely on word of mouth. The head of marketing sees this Spend as useful as it is the only way an effective campaign can be launched. Southbeach Notation recognises that everything is both useful and harmful and it is a question of what you are trying to achieve – your perspective – that determines whether it is predominantly useful or harmful in that situation. This example model is about profit, that is the goal – so spending is harmful. The marketing department may well have its own Southbeach Notation model of how to best attack the market and win out over the competitors. In the marketing model, Spending may well be shown as useful. However, the marketing model is subservient to the business model, so marketing should aim to achieve its goals with the minimum spend possible, without compromising on achieving those goals.

Modelling Constructive Tensions[edit]

The subjective nature of Southbeach Notation lends itself to problem solving in complex areas where typically multiple teams of people are assigned what are essentially conflicting goals in order to arrive at a balance of constructive tension that best resolves the problems and creates the highest performing solution. For example, businesses need to strike a balance between their different functions. They need quality in their product but not so much it breaks the bank, or makes the price of the product beyond the reach of its customers. They need to market their product, which requires spending, but they primarily need to make profit. All of these goals are in tension with each other. Taking money from revenue to spend on marketing reduces profit. The competitive business is the one that finds the best balance of these conflicting goals.

In this context, Southbeach Notation would be used to expose these different perspectives and decompose them into their parts and understand how they interact with each other. Conflict resolution is just one example, impact analysis is another. Multiple Southbeach Notation models would be created from these different perspectives. These models would contradict each other as different functions in the business make different demands on the resources of the business. Once a map of the important interactions and what is considered useful and harmful in achieving the various goals of the different functions is obtained, work can begin on integrating these perspectives to form a consolidated view that enables co-operation and collaboration, as well as the harvesting of beneficial side-effects of initiatives in one area by people in another area, and adaptation of approaches to the needs of the surrounding functional areas to avoid unnecessary adverse impact.

Semantics supported by Southbeach Notation 0.9[edit]

Each Southbeach Notation model is itself considered to be an agent, and each agent within a Southbeach Notation model can itself have a model. Each model can also be created from a different perspective, and may itself contain multiple dimensions through the use of grids to create separations in the existence of agents (e.g. by time or space – see separations below). Southbeach Notation thus supports Information visualization by providing an arbitrary level of granularity for decomposition via a hierarchy of models that also span multiple dimensions.

Abstraction and interpretation of semantics[edit]

Just as usefulness as indicated in a Southbeach Notation model is derived from a subjective perspective, semantics are deliberately limited to high level abstract terms that can be used to mean different things in different circumstances.

Putting the creativity of people at the centre[edit]

One of the key design criteria of Southbeach Notation is that its power of expression is derived from the interpretation of the models made by the people using it.

This has a number of effects; Firstly, it forces discussion between people as agreement on what models mean is necessary to move forward. Second, it permits the ideas of one person, when forcibly expressed in a non-specific abstract way, to drive the creativity process in the minds of others with whom that person is collaborating.

This too, is part of the philosophy of this notation. Unlike computer science style formal methods which are designed to create models of objective truth that are machine interpretable and take the person out of the meaning equation, Southbeach Notation is design to put the person at the centre of that equation in order to leverage the collective wisdom of groups of individuals with different knowledge, experience and talent.

As such, Southbeach Notation is seen by some to compliment other styles of notation, providing more emphasis on creativity, perspective alignment in individuals and problem solving in contrast to specification, or detailed design or documentation.

Use of Synonyms[edit]

Each of the core semantics comes with a pre-defined list of synonyms that characterise the intended nuance of meaning in various guises. In the same vein as walking around the model to explore improvement options is used to drive brainstorming from a completeness perspective, the synonyms themselves form an additional axis, of creativity, from which to drive more lateral brainstorming.

Diagram showing a key to semantic visualisations[edit]

Most Southbeach Notation Semantics have a visualisation. The core semantics are shown below. Diagrams typically use combinations of these semantics to express key facts about a situation that may be helpful in improving that situation (e.g. Marketing is necessary to produce sales sufficiently).

Southbeach Notation 0.9 Semantics.png

Semantic definition[edit]

The following descriptions of these semantics define the ways in which they can be used:

  • Agent box kinds
    • Agent (any part, component, subsystem)
    • Issue (all of the outcomes follow once the issue is resolved)
    • Choice (one of the outcomes follows once the choice is made)
    • Action (An idea, solution option, or intended improvement to the situation arrived at through analysis of the situation using Southbeach Notation. Actions may have potential useful and harmful side effects, and in models of future generations of the system, may be replaced by the agents or changes to existing agents in the system they create)
  • Usefulness (A subjective measure of how useful the agent is from the perspective of the model. The same agent may appear with different usefulness in models that are created from a different perspective)
    • Useful (Pro, positive, solution, enabler, helpful, worthwhile, profitable, beneficial, gainful, productive, valuable, effective, …); if its predominantly useful, we usually want more of it
    • Harmful (Con, negative, problem, inhibitor, harm, disadvantage, danger, risk, contrary to interest, destructive, malign, subversive); if its predominantly harmful, we usually want less of it
    • Neutral; it is considered neither useful nor harmful from this perspective, but perhaps needs to be included in the diagram for context
  • Perspective – Each Southbeach Notation model is from a certain perspective which determines the usefulness of the agents. Models can also be mixed perspective by specifying a specific perspective per agent, or by use of a grid for separating different parts of the model by perspective or other dimensionalities
  • Agent Types The type of each agent can be optionally specified as one of the following. The default is unspecified
    • Process (Procedure, preparation, operation, treatment, action, change, computation, transform, manage, attend to, organize, systematize, categorize, …)
    • Service (Provided to another, work on behalf of another, help or assistance, performance of duties, outsourcing, maintenance, to serve, meeting a need, conduct of business, any specified activity, …)
    • Capability (Capacity, competence, aptitude, ability, advantage, qualification, talent, knowhow, skill, understanding, tolerance to something, features, selling point, …)
    • Function (Use, purpose, role, task, actions assigned, activity, operation, occupation, work, concern, perform as, mission, assignment, play the role of, …)
    • Quality (Characteristic, distinctive property, detail, attribute, desirable or undesirable feature, peculiarity, condition, timbre, detail, personality, tendency, leaning, ability, specialty, advantage or disadvantage, talking point, …)
    • Thing (Article, entity, concrete or abstract, man made object, substance, concept, abstraction, element, un-typed, a vaguely specified concern, …)
    • Resource (Anything of material value or usefulness, source of wealth, reserve supply, asset, holding, gains, capacity to fulfill, help, reinforcement, cache, storehouse, money in the bank, natural resources, income, revenue, profits, inventory, …)
    • Event (A given time and place, occurrence, happening, incident, situation, special circumstances, moment, transition, eventuality, an experience, chance event, outcome, result, aftermath, sequel, …)
    • Idea (Concept, thought, observation, abstraction, understanding, impression, assumption, suspicion, opinion, viewpoint, belief, feeling, culture, philosophy, principle, policy, plan, design, vision, theory, fantasy, …)
    • Trend (Direction, movement, tendency, change, course, heading, track, fashion, inclination, orientation, bias, disposition, style, vogue, swing, …)
  • Separations (Dimension, property, attribute, distance between, independence, grouping, partitioning, degree of freedom, area reserved for some purpose, grouping by class or kind, …)
    • Space (Where something is located in physical or abstract space, spatial bounds, point or extent, spatial relationship, inside-outside, up-down, …)
    • Timespan (A period reckoned from a fixed point or event, periods, intervals, before, after, during, past, present, future, near past, near future, now, epoch, era, phase, milestone, …)
    • Structure (Parts, organization, relationship, composition, hierarchy, construction, configuration, arrangement of parts, business structure, social organization, system, super system, sub-system, infrastructure, superstructure, parts of the whole, segmentation, form, …)
    • Perspective (Viewpoint, opinion, position, belief, judgement, argument, observation, outward appearance, relative view, context, …)
    • Aspect (Distinguishing quality, characteristic, feature, facet, factor, appearance, demeanor, style, nature, character, property, attribute indicative of, characteristic, trait, particularity, …)
    • Role (Provides function, participant, part, actor, role in a process, actions and activities assigned or expected, of people, groups, and organizations and systems, …)
    • Probability (Chance, frequency, likelihood, …)
    • On Condition (State at a point in time, validity, attributes, qualification, definition, delineate, specialize, designate, assign, delimit, determine, nail down, narrow, stipulate, …)
    • Version (Variant, alternative, branch, modification, spin off, rehash, rendering, copy, instance, arrangement, interpretation, adaptation, realization, reality, possible future, perspective, version of the truth, option, opportunity)
  • Sufficiency Modifiers (effects and agents are considered sufficient unless one of these modifiers is specified)
    • Potential (Possibility, non-existent, capacity, expectation, unrealized, imaginable, latent, inactive, dormant, hidden, idle, inert, suspended, likelihood, prospect, hope, conceivable, undeveloped, unseen, passive, hibernating, motionless, unused, deferred, waiting, …)
    • Insufficient (Weak, lacking, inadequate, too little, scarce, in short supply, at a premium, incapable, unable, underpowered, too small, too little too late, understaffed, …)
    • Surplus (Excess, extra, too much, redundancy, spares, duplication, reserve, additional to need, …)
    • Dysfunctional (Opposite of correct function, impaired, failing to serve purpose, diminished in strength, quality or utility, …)
  • Effect (influence, operation, consequence, result, side-effect, impact, production, by-product, implication, purpose, implication, realization, significance, intention, …)
    • Produces (provide, cause, initiate, increase, exaggerate, grow, increment, enhance, magnify, heighten, deepen, reveal, supply, result in, output, return, …); if A produces B then increasing A increases B
    • Counteracts (inhibit, obstruct, act against, reduce, mitigate, hinder, restrain, diminish, conflict with, clash with, work at cross purposes with, offset the benefit of, neutralise, cancel, destroy the effect of, …); If A counteracts B then increasing A decreases B
    • Creates (Make, cause to be, generate, originate, conceive, invent, design, build, construct, manufacture, establish, reveal, inaugurate, launch, expose, discover, show, …); If A creates B then A is causing more of B to come into the world
    • Destroys (Remove, delete, degrade, ruin, break, exterminate, terminate, dissolve, overthrow, wipe out, dismantle, disguise, conceal, hide, obscure, put the kibosh on, cause the downfall of, …); If A destroys B then A is causing Bs to be removed from the world
    • Stores (Accumulate, stock, save, stockpile, amass, treasure, reserve, cache, warehouse, value, prize, appreciate, rely on, tryst in, deposit, conserve, …)
    • Consumes (Exhaust, expend, absorb, take up, draw in, devour, eat, deplete, waste, lose, miss, weaken, dissolve, perish, evaporate, wear out, vanish, …)
    • Opposed (Contradiction, conflict, tension, counterpoise, counterbalance, polarity, paradox, dilemma, balance of forces, incompatible states, extremes acting against each other, disagreement, debate, antithesis, opponent, struggle, impasse, deadlock, difficult choice, puzzle, complex problem, knot, impossibility, unthinkable, war of words, search for truth, …)
    • Is a (Type of, example of, kind of, sub-class of, in the category of, in the cohort of, …), a way of creating Generalizations or Abstractions that permit translation of solutions across problem domains
    • Prevents (Prohibits, blocks, precludes, forestalls, annuls, stop, foil, hold at bay, override, disallow, vetoes, avert, avoid, nip in the bud, render harmless, …)
    • Related (Connected, correlated, corresponding, accompanying, attached, associated, coupled, adjacent, joined, linked, …)
    • Becomes (Change into, transform, grows into, develops into, evolves into, …, also see Laws of Technical Systems Evolution)
    • Replaces (Succeed, supplant, supersede, follow, substitute for, act for, stand in lieu of, step into the shoes of, fill a vacancy, …)
    • Contributes to (Add to, append, bestow, bring something, contribute the case for, impart to, lend weight, confer, subsidize, provide a piece of, cooperate for benefit of, advance, promote, has a hand in, bears a part of, summate, tot up, tally, defend, …)
    • Detracts from (Take away, divert, deflect, belittle, deprecate, talk down, devalue, humiliate, put down, falsify, misrepresent, counter example, attach, …)
    • Uses, in order to function (Employ, utilize, habituate, for the function of, apply, exercise, exert, bring into play, put into service, make the most of, take up, convert to use, profit by, benefit by, reduce availability for others to use, turn to advantage, exploit, use for one’s own ends, applicability, needs, …)
  • Join – Shown as a circle around a dot with multiple effects going into it. Effects coming out of a join require all of the incoming effects in order to manifest, e.g. Oxygen AND Water are required to produce Rust
  • Split – Same visualisation as a Join, a Split indicates that the multiple effects coming out of it are all necessarily a consequence of the effect(s) coming in. Note that multiple effects coming into a Split indicate that all the incoming effects are necessary to generate all the outgoing effects

Links to Southbeach Notation sites:[edit]

See also[edit]

The following are techniques that are related to or complimentary to Southbeach Notation:

  • TRIZ, Russian Theory of Inventive Problem Solving
  • System dynamics, an approach to understanding the behaviour of complex systems over time. Where Southbeach is subjective and qualitative, System dynamics is objective (measurable) and quantitative
  • Ishikawa diagram, (also called fishbone diagrams because of their shape, or cause-and-effect diagrams) are diagrams that show the causes of a certain event. A Southbeach Notation diagram is sometimes likened to multiple fishbone diagrams connected together with effects with useful/harmful qualifications added
  • Brainstorming, a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution of a problem. This article includes the process to follow to set the stage and generate higher volumes of relevant ideas through group interaction
  • Problem solving,general overview of problem solving and its relationship to psychology
  • Creative Problem Solving, techniques designed to efficiently lead to a fresh perspective that causes a solution to become obvious
  • Means-ends analysis a goal based form of problem solving designed to prioritise exploration of solution possibilities
  • Root cause analysis for techniques to do with identifying root causes, or in Southbeach, following the effect chains backward path
  • Why-Because Analysis a technique specifically for looking at the root causes of accidents after the event. In conjunction with Southbeach Notation, this technique would be used to determine the proven failure modes of a system as a starting point for finding improvement initiatives


  1. Southbeach notation specification “Improve everything always” by H. Smith, M. Burnett, C. Young, BPTrends, May 2008
  2. The Future of Innovation “The Future of Innovation, pp.201-202” by Bettina von Stamm, Dec 2009
  3. 3.0 3.1 “Do you have problems?” – exploring variations of TRIZ and P-TRIZ TRIZ Journal, 2005
  4. Southbeach, P-TRIZ, now has software support – Free modeller for reference release by H. Smith, M. Burnett, C. Young , BPTrends ? October 2008
  5. “An Introduction to P-TRIZ”, 2006
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