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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 Vbarabba1_1 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 business contributions.
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).

Posted by ACASA on June 20, 2006 at 01:19 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 15, 2006

Thinking about the Future and Globalization

Forum 2006 keynoter, Dr. Russell Ackoff, discusses his thoughts on the issue of global development at the occasion of his receipt of the Tallberg Foundation / Swedbank Leadership Award.

So much time is currently spent in worrying about the future that the present is allowed to go to hell. Unless we correct some of the world's current systemic deficiencies now, the future is condemned to be as disappointing as the present. My preoccupation is with where we would ideally like to be right now. Knowing this, we can act now so as to constantly reduce the gap between where we are and where we want to be. Then, to a large extent, the future is created by what we do now. Now is the only time in which we can act.
I have found widespread agreement among governmental and organizational executives that their current state is more a product of what their organizations did in the past than a product of what was done to them. Therefore, our future state will be more a product of what we do now than of what is done to us.
If we don't know what state we would be in right now if we could be in whatever state we wanted, how can we possibly know in what state we would like to be in the future? Furthermore, statements   of where we want to be in the future are usually based on forecasts of what the future will be. Such forecasts are inevitably wrong; we cannot identify all the significant changes that will occur in our environments between now and then.           
It is for this reason that so many plans are never completely implemented; they are dropped when it becomes apparent that the forecasts on which they are based are false. I was once told by a public planner that only two percent of the public-sector plans produced in my country were ever completely implemented for this and other reasons.

Download ackoffstallbergtalk.pdf

Posted by ACASA on June 15, 2006 at 02:46 PM in Interesting | Permalink | Comments (1)

Is systemic thinking enough to explain networks?

Weltanschauung is the word Germans use to refer to 'our concept of the nature of reality'. That's only one of the many interesting things I picked up from this interesting essay on systemic thinking by Russell Ackoff. (Thanks to Nivi for posting a link to this essay) I highly recommend that you read the essay and not go with the my little summary of it.

Like a true philosopher, Ackoff draws on the evolution of scientific thinking since Renaissance to build an understanding of why we think the way we think or in his words why we hold a particular "world view", "a concept of the nature of the world" or "theory of reality". The essay makes for interesting reading as a whole, though at moments I thought that he had indeed taken certain liberties in terms of development of his arguments.
To read this article, click on the link: Is systemic thinking enough to explain networks

Russell Ackoff's Response:
Of course parts of a system — e.g. departments of a coporation — can compete with each other.  The reason for redesign is to eliminate such competition and have all parts collaborating.  Competition between parts is evidence of bad design.

A network is not a system.  The telephone network is not a system but AT&T is.  A network, unlike a system, has no essential parts.  If a link breaks down — say Phila. to NYC — then one can go through Tranton or Newark,  Etc.

Russ Ackoff

Posted by ACASA on June 15, 2006 at 02:15 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (3)

June 09, 2006

Eclectic university degree teaches managers 'people smarts'

Philadelphia Business Journal - May 26, 2006

Test pilots and astronauts, according to author Tom Wolfe, have the right stuff.

The University of Pennsylvania's Center for Organizational Dynamics, according to Larry M. Starr, has everything else.

Larry_starr "We own the other stuff," said Starr, who has been the center's executive director and the director of Penn's Organizational Dynamics Graduate Programs since 2002.

By other stuff, Starr means the things that managers need to succeed besides knowledge of their profession and industry, which can be easily obtained.

It's the other stuff that can get managers and organizations into trouble if they don't know it. And helping them get a grip on it is what the center is all about.

"What do you do if you're already a manager and you realize that, 'I'm managing other accountants or other people and there are all these silos?'" Starr said. "Where do you learn the other stuff, the partisanship, the politics, the social side, the bringing-people-together component?"

Since 1977, managers have been coming to Philadelphia to learn those important soft skills from Penn's organizational dynamics program.

To read this article, click on the link: Eclectic university degree teaches managers 'people smarts'

Posted by ACASA on June 9, 2006 at 04:24 PM in Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)