May 16, 2019

Russell L. Ackoff Centennial Celebration

 
 
 
 
 
TO THE GLOBAL MEMBERS

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

PLEASE HOLD THE DATE AND MAKE YOUR PLANS TO ATTEND

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.

 
YOU ARE INVITED TO THE

Russell L. Ackoff Centennial Celebration

THOMAS JEFFERSON UNIVERSITY

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

Abstract
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)

February 17, 2019

Russell Lincoln Ackoff: 100th birthday (* 12 February 1919). Remembrance. Reverence. Reflection.

By: Harald Kreher

Today, 100 years ago, Russell Ackoff was born.

This is the addendum-closure of a series, started 10 weeks ago, together with a scene-setting introduction, honouring Professor Russell Lincoln Ackoff.

His language was as pure as his logic clear and his humour dry.

He left his mark. On me, too. Here I want to tell a little about it. Also an account of personal experiences and of personal interpretation. Possibly it may inspire others to go on their own systemic journey or, at least, to become curious for what this trans-disciplinary subject (oops, sorry, Russ - practice!) Systems offers and what professionals can be found along the way. Clearly, many know much more of his work and the man himself than I do. And many will have far more detailed knowledge of his approach. I am a generalist and a systemist, no expert on Ackoff. But I try to

see, understand, and apply what is relevant.

Posted by ACASA on February 17, 2019 at 09:58 AM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 15, 2019

Russell L. Ackoff | Posthumous Business Influencer

By: David Dalka 

Russell L Ackoff (1919-2009) was a founding member of the system thinking movement. He was an organizational theorist and pioneer in operations research and management science. He was the first doctoral student of C. West Churchman. They later spent time together at Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio. Later they founded the systems thinking movement. Russell L. Ackoff translated data to wisdomHe once worked for D. Edwards Deming at the U.S. Census Bureau. Peter Drucker acknowledged that Russell L. Ackoff had made critical contributions to his work. Russell L. Ackoff authored or co-authored 35 books and over 150 journal articles, including the popular From Data to Wisdom.

Russell L. Ackoff developed empirical inquiry techniques and theory concerning interdisciplinary and interdependent system dynamics. He was a master reductionist about decision making in organizations. Russell L. Ackoff sought to amplify organizational learning across disciplines, especially for nonlinear, transdisciplinary modelling sciences. In the end, he sought to create better understanding so that people were focused on the correct root cause issues so that they could be successful.

Russell L. Ackoff | Posthumous Business Influencer

Posted by ACASA on February 15, 2019 at 05:46 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 08, 2019

The Problem with the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Hierarchy

           February 02, 2010
 

The data-information-knowledge-wisdom hierarchy seemed like a really great idea when it was first proposed. But its rapid acceptance was in fact a sign of how worried we were about the real value of the information systems we had built at such great expense. What looks like a logical progression is actually a desperate cry for help.

The DIKW hierarchy (as it came to be known) was brought to prominence by Russell Ackoff in his address accepting the presidency of the International Society for General Systems Research in 1989. But the actual first recorded instance of it was in 1934:

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in the information?

Those lines come from the poem “The Rock” by T.S. Eliot. (And for now we can skip over the 1979 reference in the song “Packard Goose” by Frank Zappa.) The sequence seems to have been reinvented in the late 1980s, independent of these poetic invocations.

The DIKW sequence made immediate sense because it extends what every Computer Science 101 class learns: information is a refinement of mere data. Information thus is the value we extract from data. But once the idea of information overload started taking root (popularized in Alvin Toffler’s 1970 Future Shock), we needed a way to characterize the value we extract from information. So we looked for something that would do to information what information did to data. Ackoff suggested knowledge as the value of information, and we collectively nodded our heads.

The Problem with the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Hierarchy

Posted by ACASA on January 8, 2019 at 01:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 04, 2019

‘The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching’

In their book, Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track, authors Russell L. Ackoff and Daniel Greenberg point out that today’s education system is seriously flawed — it focuses on teaching rather than learning. “Why should children — or adults — be asked to do something computers and related equipment can do much better than they can?” the authors ask in the following excerpt from the book. “Why doesn’t education focus on what humans can do better than the machines and instruments they create?”

 

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth learning can be taught.”
   — Oscar Wilde

‘The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching’

Posted by ACASA on January 4, 2019 at 12:07 PM in Blogger Search | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 05, 2018

Russell Lincoln Ackoff: 10-week countdown to his 100th birthday (12 February 1919). Remembrance. Reverence. Reflection.

 

Harald Kreher

Harald Kreher

PhD, lic.oec.HSG. General Management Professional. "If you want to se... See more
 

Professor Russell Ackoff was a great scholar, educator, consultant ... and much more. Intellectual and pragmatic. Logician, mathematician, philosopher, ... , systemist.

He was and excelled at so many things. One could fill an encyclopedia with #s trying to do him justice. The following I want to choose - feeling awkward about it as I am fairly old-fashioned and myself not too at-, dis-, ex-tracted ;-) by what some filters and algos suggest to be of relevance, based on keywords. Nevertheless, today I give in a little because I think Russ had deserved that he catches attention by more than those who watch out for reference to his vast body of contributions anyway.

Professor Russell Ackoff

Posted by ACASA on December 5, 2018 at 09:41 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 29, 2018

Learning to solve the right problems: The case of nuclear power in America

Jonathan B. King

Journal of Business Ethics 12 (2):105 - 116 (1993)
 
ABSTRACT
Three general types of problems entail different strategies. Continuing to seek solutions to tame problems when we face messes, let alone wicked problems, is potentially catastrophic hence fundamentally irresponsible. In our turbulent times, it is therefore becoming a strategic necessity to learn how to solve the right problems. Successful problem solving requires finding the right solution to the right problem. We fail more often because we solve the wrong problem than because we get the wrong solution to the right problem. Russell Ackoff (1974). But then, you may agree that it becomes morally objectionable for the planner to treat a wicked problem as though it were a tame one, or to tame a wicked problem prematurely, or to refuse to recognize the inherent wickedness of social problems. Rittel and Webber (1973).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

Posted by ACASA on November 29, 2018 at 04:12 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)