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)

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.

The Ackoff Centre at Da Vinci



Posted by ACASA on April 5, 2012 at 10:37 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

December 13, 2008

Russell Ackoff Videos

New Ackoff videos have been posted on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJxWoZJAD8k (part 1 on the difference between analysis and synthesis... only synthesis answers the question "Why?" as contrasted with "What?")
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdBiXbuD1h4 (part 2 on the difference between analysis and synthesis... including talking about what makes a system a system)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBrEJjT-dWU (part 3 on how architects think systemically... on how the best parts don't automatically make the best "whole"...and on what real problem solving involves)

Posted by ACASA on December 13, 2008 at 10:07 AM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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

Posted by ACASA on February 18, 2007 at 10:42 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

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.

Russ Achoff
Russ Achoff, author of Management f-laws

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:

Anti-guru of joined-up management

Posted by ACASA on February 16, 2007 at 08:10 AM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 15, 2007

Modeling Terrorists

By Harry Goldstein
New simulators could help intelligence analysts think like the enemy

Silverman 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

Posted by ACASA on February 15, 2007 at 02:49 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

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.

Posted by ACASA on May 20, 2005 at 10:46 AM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 23, 2004

Strategic Partnership


For Immediate Release: September 23, 2004
For More Information: Becky Collins, 215-898-6967, [email protected]

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.

Posted by ACASA on September 23, 2004 at 12:11 PM in ACASA News | Permalink | Comments (0)