April 05, 2012
The Ackoff Centre for Systems and Design Thinking at Da Vinci Institute, South Africa
The Ackoff Centre for Systems and Design Thinking at Da Vinci Institute, Johannerburg, South Africa was launched in May 2010. The Da Vinci Institute is a school of management leadership focusing on, the Management of People, Innovation, Technology and Business. In celebration of the pioneering work in Systems and Design Thinking developed by the late Prof Russell Ackoff, Da Vinci embarked on a journey to develop an intimate working relationship with Prof Ackoff which resulted in the Design Thinking methodology offered by The Ackoff Centre for Systems and Design Thinking at Da Vinci.
December 13, 2008
Russell Ackoff Videos
February 18, 2007
Management f-LAWS -- Book Launch
HUBS Book Launch
A book which takes a sideways view of management, was launched at the University of Hull Business School recently. Management Flaws is the brainchild of American professor Russell Ackoff. With considered responses from the Economists Sally Bib, the book is described as a caricature of modern management.
To watch this podcast, click on the following link:
f-LAWS Book Launch at the University of Hull Business School
February 16, 2007
Anti-guru of joined-up management
Russ Ackoff, the father of 'systems-thinking', tells Stefan Stern how education teaches us to be conservative and why this is bad for business. Just don't call it a doctrine. . .
If you were asked to picture what a management guru should look and sound like, you might come up with a description of someone very like Russ Ackoff. Grey-haired, distinguished, softly spoken, Ackoff fits the bill. And also, since he turns 88 on Monday, he can claim the benefit of wisdom earned over the course of six decades studying and working with businesses and organisations.
Except, of course, that "guru" is not a label that Ackoff is keen to accept.
"A guru produces disciples, and a discipline, and a doctrine," he says. "If you are a follower of a guru, you don't go beyond his thoughts, you accept his thoughts. He gives you the questions and the answers – it's an end to thought. An educator is exactly the opposite," he says. "You take off where he sets you up for the next set of questions. One is open-ended, the other is closed. Most consultants are gurus. They are 'experts', not educators."
So please don't refer to Ackoff's body of work as gurudom and please don't describe his work with clients as management consulting.
"We don't call it consulting," he states firmly. "We make a distinction between consulting and being an educator. A consultant goes in with a solution. He tries to impose it on a situation. An educator tries to train the people responsible for the work to work it out for themselves. We don't pretend to know the way to get the answer."
To read the rest of this article, please click on the following URL:
February 15, 2007
By Harry Goldstein
New simulators could help intelligence analysts think like the enemy
Barry Silverman pecks at the keyboard, and suddenly his computer monitor is showing him the view down a scary-looking alley in the Bakhara market in Mogadishu, Somalia. On the big screen, Silverman sees the market through the eyes of his avatar, a software soldier. It’s a detailed scene, on a par with what you’d see in today’s best first-person shooter video games: in the market’s narrow lanes, militiamen scurry about, checkered headdresses flapping. It has rained recently, and the gray masonry walls of buildings surrounding the market are water stained. The streets are empty except for some abandoned cars and the smoldering wreckage of two helicopters. Silverman’s cybertrooper is part of a virtual squad replaying the scenario described famously in Mark Bowden’s 1999 best seller, Black Hawk Down, in which U.S. Army Rangers attempted a rescue after fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid shot down two U.S. UH-60 choppers.
The Ranger that Silverman controls wanders only a few steps toward the downed helicopters before he encounters a suicide bomber who blows them both to bits.
Silverman, an electrical and systems engineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, restarts the simulation. As his Ranger avatar scans the scene, Silverman describes the attributes of each character—or synthetic human agent—he encounters. He knows them all intimately, their motives, emotions, and physiologies, as well as their political, religious, and moral leanings. He should; he and his group created every last one of them.
To read this article, click on the link: Modeling Terrorists
June 20, 2006
Vince Barabba, Named To Market Research Council Hall of Fame
Vince Barabba is a member of the Ackoff Center Advisory Board. He is a former General Motors
Executive and Market Insight Corporation Chairman.
New York City, NY,
June 16, 2006 – Vince Barabba, former General Motor’s executive and current
chairman and co-founder of Market Insight Corporation, today has been named to
the Market Research Council Hall of Fame. Mr. Barabba was honored
today with an award presented at a luncheon ceremony at the Yale Club in . The Market Research Council
Hall of Fame was established in 1977 to recognize outstanding members of the
market research profession. He was inducted to the Market Research Council Hall
of Fame for his contributions in the field of market research and his leadership
in major public and private enterprises that has led to significant societal and
Mr. Barabba joins a distinguished list of past Hall of fame inductees including: George Gallup, Marion Harper, Jr., Arthur Nielsen, Jr., David Ogilvy, Frank Stanton and Daniel Yankelovich. Coincidentally, Barabba and these six other professionals are the only individuals to have received both the Marketing Research Council Hall of Fame award, and the American Marketing Association’s Parlin Award, two of the highest recognitions in the industry.
In accepting the award, Vince Barabba said, “Although the market research profession has contributed greatly to the betterment of our society, changing societal and market conditions require us to take a hard look at what has worked in the past and determine whether it is still sufficient. We must, as many of the previous recipients of this honor have done, create new and innovative research methods. In doing so, we can continue to make contributions to a dynamically changing future that we, and all the consumers of our services are now facing.”
"The Market Research Council is delighted to welcome Vince Barabba to its Hall of Fame," said Ed Keller, President of the organization. "His many contributions to the theory, practice and management of market research make him a highly deserving honoree. He joins a list of giants in our field, and deservedly so."
About Vince Barabba
After retiring from GM as General Manager, responsible for overseeing Corporate Strategic Planning and the Business Decision Support Center, Barabba founded with Richard Smallwood the Market Insight Corporation. Prior to working at GM he twice served as Director of the United States Bureau of the Census and is the only person to have been appointed to that position by presidents of different political parties. Between his government service and GM assignments he served as the Manager of Market Research for the Xerox Corporation and as the Director of Market Intelligence for Eastman Kodak. As a founder of two companies – Decision Making Information (now WirthlinWorldWide, a part of Harris Interactive) and Market Insight Corporation – Mr. Barabba has leveraged his experience in collecting and delivering market information to build highly-prized marketing research businesses.
Mr. Barabba is the author of two books, Surviving Transformation (2005 Oxford University Press) and Meeting of the Minds (1995 Harvard Business School Press). He is also the co-author of Hearing the Voice of the Market (1991 Harvard Business School Press) and the 1980 Census: Policy Making Amid Turbulence (1983 Lexington Books).
May 20, 2005
IFORS Operational Research Hall of Fame: Russell L. Ackoff
Kirby, MW, Rosenhead, JR. (2005) International Transactions in Operational Research, 12(1), 129-134.
Russell Ackoff has been honored as the latest inductee into the IFORS Operational Research Hall of Fame.
In their recent article, Maurice Kirby and Jonathan Rosenhead track Ackoff's intellectual journey and detail his gradual transition from "OR apostle to OR apostate."
The authors begin by noting Ackoff's influence on the early development of OR in the 1950s and '60s. Teaming up with C. West Churchman, their self-defined mission was to apply philosophy to societal issues, and in 1957 they co-authored the pioneering text, Introduction to Operations Research.
As the Machine Age faded, however, the Systems Age presented an increasingly complex and volatile society, whose issues Ackoff was finding OR models too narrow to effectively address. Increasingly, Ackoff focused more on interdisciplinary approaches to decision-making. Moving away from OR's quantitative/computational norm, he called for a new paradigm for OR rooted in a more participative, holistic systems approach.
Eventually, he found OR completely irrelevant to problems above the purely tactical level. He was quoted in 1987 as saying, "I did not abandon [OR], [OR] abandoned me." The break led him to identify himself with the systems movement, a constituency where his writings have been enormously influential.
To read this article, click on the link: IFORS Operational Research Hall of Fame:
Russell L. Ackoff.
September 23, 2004
For Immediate Release: September 23, 2004
For More Information: Becky Collins, 215-898-6967, email@example.com
Center for Organizational Dynamics and the Ackoff Center for the Advancement of Systems Approaches (ACASA) Form Strategic Partnership
September 23, 2004 (Philadelphia, PA) – The Center for Organizational Dynamics located in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and the Ackoff Center for the Advancement of Systems Approaches (ACASA) located in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) both at the University of Pennsylvania announce a strategic partnership that will take effect September 23, 2004. The partnership will facilitate scholarship and delivery of non-degree educational workshops on systems thinking in management. The partnership will also broaden the courses available for students enrolled in the Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) and Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics (MSOD) degree programs.
“This partnership will focus on delivery of systems thinking research, models, and methods to organizations in the Delaware Valley and across the globe. We are very pleased not only about the relationship with ACASA, but with the continued relationship with Dr. Russell Ackoff for whom ACASA was named and who recently taught in our MSOD program” reported Dr. Larry Starr, Executive Director of the Center for Organizational Dynamics and Director of the Organizational Dynamics Graduate Program.
Dr. Barry Silverman, Director of ACASA and Professor of Engineering and Medicine and Operations and Information Management noted, “This is an excellent combination of resources. Workshops and seminars involving systems thinking, technology, and organizational dynamics will be enhanced by our combined faculties. Furthermore, engineering students will have access to the more than 70 organizational courses in the MSOD program.”
ACASA and the Center for Organizational Dynamics recently combined efforts to help manage the 3rd International Conference on Systems Thinking in Management (ICSTM) held at the University of Pennsylvania May 19-21, 2004.
The mission of the Center for Organizational Dynamics is to support the Organizational Dynamics Degree Program and to increase the effectiveness of leaders and managers by developing and supporting a person-oriented, multi-disciplinary understanding of organizations.
The mission of ACASA is to conduct theoretical and applied research, education and service to industry, government and education, using system sciences and systems thinking as global knowledge and competency resources.
The partnership’s day-to-day activities will be managed jointly by John Pourdehnad, PhD, Associate Director of ACASA and Marie Zecca, EdM, Associate Director of the Center for Organizational Dynamics.
August 03, 2004
Ackoff Center E-Mail Chaos Halted
Dear Friends of Ackoff Center (ACASA):
We have just undergone a most unusual and unpleasant computing experience. Somehow, a message was sent to the ACASA mailing list which bypassed the list's security and went out to thousands of list members. About 10% of the recipients replied to this message, and their replies also bypassed list security and went out to everyone on the list. This created thousands of further email messages to list members. Although many members did not receive these messages due to company firewalls, many did, and this caused an enormous inconvenience.
We want to extend our most sincere apologies for this mess. Though initially outside our control, it was extremely upsetting for our members as well as our organization. Please be assured that the problem is being resolved: the list has been temporarily disabled and is being completely revamped so that it will never be vulnerable to such an incident again.
Please check back soon for further updates. We greatly value your support during this incident and look forward to resuming regular communications in the near future.
September 09, 2003
Movies Demonstrating Emotional Agent Architecture
Dr. Barry Silverman and his team at Ackoff Center for Advancement of Systems Approaches (ACASA) have just completed a series of movies demonstrating their emotional agent architecture, PMFserv, running in a 3D video game environment. The videos are available online (see below).
Dr. Silverman’s group has been researching and modeling the impact of stress and emotion upon rationality over the past several years. Their approach draws together facets of subjective expected utility theory, social decision conflict theory, somatic marker theory, stress and fatigue models, and cognitive complexity theory to create agents that make realistic decisions based on their physical and emotional state. For this demonstration, they embedded their PMFserv agents into characters in a video game environment designed to represent Mogadishu during American support of the UN’s Somalian relief mission of 1993. This agent modeling approach involves no scripting. Instead, each PMFserv agent can choose what behaviors satisfy their internal objectives (e.g., observe, flee, swarm, flock, attack, loot, blow themselves up, act as human shields, etc.). As the world around these agents evolves and as a US Ranger (controlled by the player) and his companions take actions in this world, one can observe how agent micro-decisions effect other agents and ripple across to macro-behaviors and new crowd equilibria. The player’s goal is to leave his/her Humvee, advance to the crash site, secure and destroy a helicopter, and return safely without making tactical errors that arouse the mobs and incur the wrath of the locals - Somalian male, female, and militia agents controlled by PMFserv agents.
The result of their work is summarized in six video clips just completed and viewable at the bottom of the page on the ACASA website. A further output of this effort is a toolset for studying complex adaptive systems behaviors where humans are involved.