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)

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)

August 19, 2018

Which significant bodies have made a solid case for systems thinking?

By:

"A friend of a friend is facing some push-back on the status of systems thinking as compared e.g. to managemen, psychology, other organisational thinking. This could potentially have impacts on her immediate career prospects.

So we are looking to create a collection of high profile organizations who have stated that we need more systems/holistic/joined-up/integrated/etc. thinkers to solve world problems."

Ellen Lewis contributed three stonking examples:

1. 2017, UN Chief Executives’ Board for Coordination described systems thinking as a “key way of working” and an essential “leadership characteristic” needed to respond to the “interconnectedness and indivisibility” of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

United Nations Chief Executives Board for Coordination, 2017
First regular session of 2017, summary of deliberations
Added to Library: 30 Jun 2018Last Updated: 02 Jul 2018

2. In 2018, the Governance Directorship of the OECD declared that “the time for piecemeal solutions in the public sector is over” and they recommended the use of systems thinking to instigate innovative solutions to cross-cutting and complex issues.
Governance Directorate of the OECD
Embracing Innovation in Government
Global Trends 2018
http://www.oecd.org/gov/innovative-government/embracing-innovation-in-government-2018.pdf

3. The International Council for Science (ICSU), which reports to the UN, has released a report saying that a massive shift towards systems thinking for coordinating the SDGs is needed. This report is more systems-focused than any I have seen before, and ICSU are putting their money where their mouths are: they are integrating themselves with the Social Science equivalent body, to have a more systemic approach themselves.
https://www.icsu.org/cms/2018/04/Science-and-Technology-Major-Group-Position-paper-HLPF-2018.pdf

And I came up with (clearly linked to (2) above):
4. OECD-OPSI (Observatory of Public Sector Innovation) said this strongly:
https://www.oecd.org/media/oecdorg/satellitesites/opsi/contents/files/SystemsApproachesDraft.pdf
https://oecd-opsi.org/scotland-improves-national-performance-with-systems-approach/
https://oecd-opsi.org/good-news-systems-change-in-the-public-sector-is-possible-2/
https://oecd-opsi.org/taking-the-systems-work-forward-workshop-for-senior-slovenian-officials/

5. Paulibe Roberts (who has featured here more than once as http://www.systemspractitioner.com) adds the World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/alliance-hpsr/resources/9789241563895/en/

 Which significant bodies have made a solid case for systems thinking?

Posted by ACASA on August 19, 2018 at 11:14 AM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 02, 2018

System Leadership in the Face of Dynamic Change

Presentation by Banny Banerjee who is Director of Stanford ChangeLabs, and teaches Design Innovation and Strategy at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (Stanford University's d.school). His area of expertise is the use of Design Thinking for strategic initiatives and large-scale transformations directed towards sustainable futures. He founded Stanford ChangeLabs, which has ongoing research in Innovation Methodologies and transdisciplinary initiatives aimed at developing a new field: Innovation of Scaled Transformations. His research initiatives are centered on processes, paradigms, and integrated strategies to address complex challenges such as the future of water, energy, governance systems, and organizational transformations. In this presentation, Banny looks at...

1. We are entering an era marked by rapid changes and profound questions.
2. Our dominant models of leadership are ill suited for these new class of challenges.
3. System Leadership is a new approach that is a leadership style better suited to scaled and complex challenges - it has implications at personal, organizational, and policy levels.

System Leadership in the Face of Dynamic Change

Posted by ACASA on March 2, 2018 at 03:10 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 22, 2018

ACKOFF TAPE # 1

This is the first of eight segments recorded over two days at a Naval Training Facility in the 80's. In the first segment Russell Ackoff walks us though the progression of system science from mechanical, to organic, to social systems.

ACKOFF TAPE # 1

Posted by ACASA on February 22, 2018 at 10:28 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)