September 29, 2019

Unlearning is often a part of effective teaching

Russell L. Ackoff, author of “Redesigning the Future,” once said “The only thing that’s harder than starting something new, is stopping something old.” This is true of education practices that no longer work or never really worked effectively. Teachers sometimes become very skilled at ineffective practices and find them hard to let go. As Ackoff also noted, “The more efficient you are at doing the wrong thing, the wronger you become. It is much better to do the right thing wronger than the wrong thing righter. If you do the right thing wrong and correct it, you get better.”

Unlearning is often a part of effective teaching

Posted by ACASA on September 29, 2019 at 06:22 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 23, 2019

The Deming Cooperative

Ackoff Videos

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) was an important early proponent of the field of operations research, and remained a tireless advocate for an expansive vision of what the field could be. Ackoff was a founding member of the Operations Research Society of America (ORSA), and served the organization as its fifth president. Ackoff was also an author of Introduction to Operations Research (1957), the field’s first textbook written as such. Throughout his time in OR, Ackoff insisted on working on practical problems of management, and maintained ongoing relationships with a number of clients, including Anheuser-Busch, which he collaborated with for decades. Ackoff resisted the confinement of his work to any particular methodology, and remained deeply concerned with problems of ethics and social responsibility. Because OR had become increasingly defined by its mathematical methdology, Ackoff became disillusioned with the subject, and turned instead to what he called Social Systems Science. In the 1970s he would sever his relationship with OR altogether, declaring the field dead.
Through the cooperation of Bill Bellows, John Pourdehnad and the Ackoff family, we are pleased to offer these videos for your viewing.

Posted by ACASA on August 23, 2019 at 06:31 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 09, 2019

ACKOFF 100 Panel Discussion

Panel at Ackoff 💯 event at Jefferson

From left: Moderator Vince Barabba, William Bellows, Nick Pudar, Gerald Midgley, Laura Cabrera, Scott Koerwer and Derek Cabrera

ACKOFF 100 Panel Discussion

Posted by ACASA on August 9, 2019 at 11:18 PM in Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 30, 2019

ACKOFF 100 Panel discussion

It was an amazing weekend at Thomas Jefferson University highlighted with a panel of six of the leading systems-informed scholars and practitioners - Bill Bellows, Nick Pudar, Gerald Midgley, Laura Cabrera, Scott Koerwer and Derek Cabrera - moderated by Vince Barabba, one of the amazing intellectual choreographers

Ackoff 100 panel

Posted by ACASA on July 30, 2019 at 02:45 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 21, 2019

Arama Chair in Action Research

Dear All,
I am writing this invitation to request your participation in the newly founded PhD program in Action Research to be housed in the School of Management of Sabancı University. This is going to be managed by a newly founded chair that I was appointed
to this year entitled “Arama Chair in Action Research”. Arama is the “participatory management consulting” company that I founded some 25 or so years ago in Turkey that has worked with well over 1000 institutions of all types including large corporations, National and International Agencies, Ministeries, NGOs, Universities, and Municipal entities mainly in Turkey but also in countries such as USA, Italy, Russia, Norway, UAE, Australia and Pakistan. Sabanci University is the result of an action research engagement that has been collaboratively designed by Arama and extended group of stakeholder and have entered into the 20th Year of serving as a unique model. The University has been ranked no 1 consecutively for the last 6 years on the most innovative and entrepreneurial University index administered by the Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology.
The Action Research PhD program is conceived as an “industrial PhD” aimed at promising mid career professionals who will co-produce relevant and useful knowledge pertaining to different forms of transformation of organizations, industries and networks. This PhD therefore will serve to understand and to transformation the past, present and the future of the constituent social system as well as serving in the formation of leaders in sponsoring institutions. Each year we will aim to bring on board about 10+ doctoral students who will take 5 required and 4 elected courses as well as pursuing a dissertation topic pertaining to some kind of transformation prefably in their own institutions.

There are several roles for participating faculty: A main role can be offering and conducting a course-that may be arranged with flexible scheduling yet to be held in one of the three semesters: Fall, Spring or Summer. Another role could be to take a supervisory and/or an examiner role or to participate in action research projects in some relevant capacity. We plan to hold annual conferences to bring the extended community together every year in the summer at different appealing parts of Turkey depending on the funding possibilities.
Participation only but hopefully regularly at these annual get-togethers may be another role.
Once you express an interest we will consider you a network faculty who can participate in one of the above capacities. You do not have to indicate the role now but it would be highly desirable if you indicate an interest ASAP. There will be a modest honorarium plus expenses that would be different for different roles.
We would like to start with the first cohort in september or january of next year by the latest and would like to include your name under network faculty.
I sincerely hope to see you all in this social experiment to continue co-creating and facilitating the knowledge production efforts.
As such we can bring about another hub of action research in a world that is in need of more and more hubs of symbiotically uniting action and research.
Look forward to your response. Best wishes
Oğuz Babüroğlu
Arama Chair in Action Research
Sabanci University

Arama Chair in Action Research


Posted by ACASA on July 21, 2019 at 10:27 AM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 30, 2019

ACKOFF 100 Panel discussion

Russell L. Ackoff Centennial Celebration

THOMAS JEFFERSON UNIVERSITY, Alumni Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

July 26 – 28, 2019

Russ Ackoff: The Vincent Van Gogh of Management? Under-appreciated during his lifetime but recognized after his death as a leader and prophet. What evidence do we have?

Download Bios of Panelists in Saturday Afternoon Event - updated June 2 2019

Posted by ACASA on June 30, 2019 at 07:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 16, 2019

Russell L. Ackoff Centennial Celebration


of S-Cubed and the many Colleagues, Students, and Friends of Russ:


a weekend of social renewal and celebration during which we describe new scholarship and initiate the design for an enterprise to sustain the Ackoff name, thinking and practice.


Russell L. Ackoff Centennial Celebration


Alumni Hall

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

July 26 – 28, 2019

Russell L. Ackoff Centennial Celebration


Posted by ACASA on May 16, 2019 at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 11, 2019

Beale Lecture 2019: Mike C Jackson final - The Future of OR Is Present

Dr Mike C Jackson OBE

Dr Mike C Jackson OBE

I am pleased to say that my 2019 Beale Lecture ‘The Future of Operational Research is Present’ has now been posted on YouTube by The Operational Research Society.

Posted by ACASA on April 11, 2019 at 09:58 AM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 03, 2019

Systems Theory (Russell Ackoff)

Post-war America has been good at producing aphorism-spouting management gurus. Wharton School’s Russell L. Ackoff, who died in 2009 at the age of ninety, was up there with the finest. Ackoff’s major specialisation was systems thinking, especially when related to human behaviour and applied to organisations and institutions. Departing from the concept of the purposeful system, Ackoff and his various co-authors argued that understanding about the aims of such systems can ‘only be gained by taking into account the mechanisms of social, cultural and psychological systems.’ Essentially, Ackoff argued for a holistic approach and a clearer understanding about the true ends, aims or ideals of human-created systems. ‘A system,’ he declared, ‘is more than the sum of its parts; it is an indivisible whole. It loses its essential properties when it is taken apart. The elements of a system may themselves be systems, and every system may be part of a larger system.’ And thus, ‘The basic managerial idea introduced by systems thinking, is that to manage a system effectively, you might focus on the interactions of the parts rather than their behaviour taken separately.’

Systems Theory (Russell Ackoff)

Posted by ACASA on April 3, 2019 at 01:45 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 29, 2019

The Nature of 'Soft' Systems Thinking: The Work of Churchman, Ackoff and Checkland

In this paper the task of relating work in applied systems research to social theory in general is further developed. This is an important and necessary step in making the social sciences intelligible and useful to systems practitioners. Checkland's conclusion that 'hard' systems methodologies are guided by functionalist theoretical assumptions is accepted. The author's argument is that 'soft' systems thinking can also be located in one sociological paradigm. The recent work of C. W. Churchman, R. L. Ackoff and P. B. Checkland corresponds to that kind of social theory which is to be found in what Burrell and Morgan call the 'interpretive' sociological paradigm. It is also argued that certain of the weaknesses which haunt interpretive social theory can be identified in 'soft' systems thinking. There are important consequences which limit the effectiveness of the 'soft' systems approach for intervening in the real-world. It is hoped that the understanding gained of the exact nature of these consequences will be an immediate return which justifies in the eyes of practical men another foray into the realms of 'abstract' social theory.

Posted by ACASA on March 29, 2019 at 06:24 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)