April 04, 2014
Transforming the Systems Movement
By Russell L. Ackoff
Posted on 3/31/2014
March 31, 2014
Towards the Social Business School
Posted March 18, 2014
This post is a summary of a devastating critique that the great systems thinker Russell Ackoff made of business schools twenty years ago, why he’s still mainly right, and why social technologies now provide us with phenomenal possibilities for the Social Business School – an alternative and highly effective approach to business education.
To read more click here: Towards the Social Business School
August 22, 2013
Source for Idealized Design
Idealized Design, a segment of Interactive Planning, is an organizational development process developed by Russell L. Ackoff in the 1950's which enables an organization to get beyond the problem solving mode and unleash their innovative potential.
May 28, 2010
Seeing Your Company as a SystemMuch-needed guidance on making companies more employee-centered, adaptive, and capable
This is an article from Strategy+Business by Andrea Gabor:
… No matter how disparate the causes of failure, there is always a common thread: somewhere, somehow, management has let its attention slip. …[Now] is an opportune time to reflect on the leading ideas that have shaped what we know about the management of social systems, particularly corporations, and how to stabilize and improve them.
The recognition that a company is a complex social system and a living community has been an underlying theme of leading management thinkers as far back as the early 20th century. Nevertheless, the machine continues to be the dominant metaphor for business leaders, …
To read the rest of this article, please click on the following url: Seeing Your Company as a System
June 16, 2009
Systems Thinking and Design Thinking
Fred Collopy, co-editor of "Managing as Designing" (Stanford Business Books, 2004), has posted an essay on Design and Systems Thinking called "Why the failure of systems thinking should inform the future of design thinking" on Fast Company magazine's web site...
This - combined with two videos from last week's Business as an Agent of World Benefit conference at Case Western University .
The videos show (a) Peter Senge and Russ speaking about Systems Thinking and (b) Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the Univ. of Toronto doing the same... at this leading edge corporate social responsibility conference which had "Management as a Design Activity" as one of its themes.
The video of Peter Senge and Russ Ackoff is here...
The video of Roger Martin is here...
Case Western's Dr. David Cooperrider's introductory remarks last about 3 minutes. Roger Martin then speaks for about 25 minutes. He also acknowledges Russ Ackoff before talking about how design thinking should be incorporated into business education.
November 22, 2008
Stefan Stern's top 20th-century management theorists
From Financial Times FT.com
By Stefan Stern
Published: November 22 2008 02:00 | Last updated: November 22 2008 02:00
Drucker(1909-2005): the original and best. He said most of it, really, over seven productive decades. He also said people only called him a guru because they weren't sure how to spell "charlatan".
To read the rest of the article, please click on:
May 10, 2008
Russell Ackoff and Mission Statements
On the Mark Frisse's Policy Blog Mark Frisse, wrote the following post on mission statements: "Participating in the AHIC 2.0 discussions, I am repeatedly reminded of an influential talk and paper delivered by Russ Ackoff several years ago. His advice should be heeded when one is talking of ambitious, sincere, and inclusive 'public private partnerships.'
I have located a copy of this paper attributed to him on Charles Warner's Web Site. It seems to be the paper I read long ago. I reprint in full. Emphases in bold or italics are mine."
Continue reading this content at the Mark Frisse's Policy Blog.
March 11, 2008
Blind Spot Creativity
On Creativity Central blog, there is an interesting post . Here's an excerpt from that blog:
Like an earthquake, every eureka moment has a series of aftershocks. One of the most fascinating of these after sights is discovering your blind spots. Typically, you'll hear lines like "The answer was right in front of me and I couldn't see it." "I was solving the wrong problem." "I never challenged the conventional thinking."
Isn't fallibility great?
Years ago, Russell Ackoff, a teacher at the Wharton School wrote a great article called "Infallibility." I am paraphrasing some of the highlights because it sheds some more light on our blind spots. In an experiment conducted by Alex Bavelas at MIT, subjects were taken into a room where slides were projected. The slides were produced by waving a flashlight in dark room over unexposed film.
The subjects sat at desks in front of two buttons. They were told to press one of the buttons after each slide. Here's the twist. If they pressed the "right" one they would be paid, if they pressed the wrong one, they would get nothing.
There was nothing said about what parameters determined the "right" choice. After a few slides, most subjects began to formulate theories to explain the rewards they received and soon they were quite sure that their theory was correct.
When the experiment was completed the subjects were asked to reveal their theories. Then Bavelas told them that they were rewarded at random. There was absolutely no relationship between the buttons pushed and the rewards. Most of the subjects were surprised, but insisted that they theories were correct. They would not abandon their theories.
The blog post continues with more details on the blind spot creativity, and additional footnotes. Continue reading this content at Blind Spot Creativity.
January 19, 2008
Knowledge versus Information
On the Extreme Productivity by Design blog, Skip Walter wrote the following post on Ackoff's hierarchy from data to wisdom perspective. Here's an excerpt from that blog:
As I was wandering into a client today, Greg asked one of those questions that lead to a teachable moment: "So Skip, it's clear from our working sessions that you think that knowledge and information are two different things. I've always thought of them as interchangeable. What is the difference?"
What a great question. It took me a long time and a lot of work by one of my mentors, Russ Ackoff, to help me see that these two concepts are very different. My simple definition of information versus knowledge is that information is structured data and knowledge is information in action. However, to put the question in a larger context, I then introduced Ackoff's hierarchy which I've come to call WUKID - Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Information and Data.
The blog post continues with more details on the knowledge management, and additional footnotes. Continue reading this content at the Extreme Productivity by Design.
December 02, 2007
Value-creating Systems and Business Models: Systems Thinking Inside
On the Coevolving Innovation blog, David Ing wrote the following post on business models from a systems thinking perspective. Here's an excerpt from that blog:
On my quest for management research based on systems theory, I’ve generally been disappointed since the systems foundations are rarely apparent from a superficial reading. Typically, when I read management research, I get a queasy feeling inside, because a lot of the content written is anti-systemic.
In contrast, when I read Johan Wallin’s 2006 book, Business Orchestration: Strategic Leadership in the Era of Digital Convergence, I felt strangely comfortable. I attribute this to the lineage from which Wallin has come, so that there is “systems thinking inside”. Wallin completed his dissertation in 2000 in association with Rafael Ramirez. Ramirez is a graduate of the Social Systems Science (S3) program1 at the University of Pennsylvania, and now a professor at Oxford. In addition, Wallin worked closely with Richard Normann, immersing him in the Value Constellation model. I suspect that the average reader would be oblivious to the fine distinctions that systems theory makes. For management researchers, however, such foundations enable a strong scientific foundation, rather than simplified metaphors that break down under scrutiny.
This book is not targeted at academics, and includes many examples (e.g. Nokia, IBM, Toyota) that make the content easily digestable. For my research interests, however, I’m intrigued that Wallin has provided very specific definitions … with which I’m comfortable. I’m not necessarily a believer in objective definitions for business jargon, but they’re sometimes necessary to move forward. Thus, I’ll highlight some common business terms that everyone uses … and few define well.
The blog post continues with more details on the writings of Johan Wallin and Rafael Ramirez, and additional footnotes. Continue reading this content at the Coevolving Innovations blog.