November 29, 2020

Omni-channel focus rescues Central Retail’s bottom line

...........Redesign Shopping from Scratch

The first part of any such strategy is facing reality. Retailing executives must acknowledge that the new technologies will get faster, cheaper, and more versatile. They need to forecast the likely digital density in their categories and prepare for the effects. What should I do differently today if I believe that 20% of our sales will soon come from digital retailing—and that 80% of our sales will be heavily influenced by it? Should we be opening any new stores at all? And if so, how different should they be? How should we adjust to a world of greater price transparency? What happens when traffic-building categories shift online and no longer pull customers into our stores?

Situations like these call for start-from-scratch, across-the-board innovation. In the book Idealized Design: How to Dissolve Tomorrow’s Crisis…Today, coauthor Russell L. Ackoff recounts a similar turning point at Bell Labs in 1951. The vice president in charge of the labs asked a group to name the organization’s most important contributions to telephonic communications. The VP pointed out that each one, including the telephone dial and the coaxial cable, had been conceived and implemented before 1900. He challenged the group to assume that the phone system was dead and had to be rebuilt from scratch. What would it look like? How would it work? Soon Bell’s scientists and engineers were busy investigating completely new technologies—and came up with concepts for push-button phones, call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail, conference calls, and mobile phones. Retailers need the same start-over mentality.

The design specifications of omnichannel retailing are growing clearer by the day. Customers want everything. They want the advantages of digital, such as broad selection, rich product information, and customer reviews and tips. They want the advantages of physical stores, such as personal service, the ability to touch products, and shopping as an event and an experience. (Online merchants take note.) Different customer segments will value parts of the shopping experience differently, but all are likely to want perfect integration of the digital and the physical.

The challenge for a retailer is to create innovations that bring the vision to life, wowing those customers, and generating profitable growth. Let’s see what this might mean in practice.

Omni-channel focus rescues Central Retail’s bottom line

Posted by ACASA on November 29, 2020 at 10:41 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 16, 2020

Singapore Institute of Management launches centre for systems leadership

THE Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) has launched a Centre for Systems Leadership to train youths, professionals and organisational leaders to lead more successfully through systems thinking.

The centre, to be located in the existing SIM Management House in Namly Avenue, will run an 18-day programme for working professionals, spread over six months. It will also offer bespoke programmes, tailored for leadership teams in organisations and enterprises.

This is in addition to the 30-hour programmes it will run for youth leaders and final-year undergraduates from February. The centre is also planning its first systems leadership conference that same month.

Learning programmes will be run on-site. However, the centre is also working with collaborators to roll out online options from the first quarter of next year, said Seah Chin Siong, SIM's president and chief executive.

Singapore Institute of Management launches centre for systems leadership

Posted by ACASA on November 16, 2020 at 08:38 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 18, 2020

Russell L. Ackoff | Quotes | Systems Thinking Books

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 the 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 modeling sciences. In the end, he sought to create a better understanding so that people were focused on the correct root cause issues so that they could be successful. Please scroll through his wonderful quotations to get to the videos.

Russell L. Ackoff | Quotes | Systems Thinking Books


Posted by ACASA on June 18, 2020 at 10:27 AM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 29, 2020

How successful leaders avoid predictable surprises

In relation to management theory, in particular, Russell L. Ackoff, a Wharton emeritus professor of management, said, “managers don’t solve simple, isolated problems; they manage messes.” And he defined a mess as “a system of constantly changing, highly interconnected problems, none of which is independent of the other problems that constitute the entire mess. As a result, no problem that is part of a mess can be defined and solved independently of the other problems”.
Whilst Ackoff described the problems as messy, Horst Rittel and Melvin M. Webber called them “wicked” in their 1973 treatise and contrasted them with relatively “tame”, soluble problems. Wicked problems are said to be difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. And problems that cannot be fixed, or for which there is no single solution.

How successful leaders avoid predictable surprises

Posted by ACASA on April 29, 2020 at 10:11 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 22, 2020

Cleanroom monitoring: How to make the most of your data

The DIKUW is a framework that we've found invaluable for thinking about data and generating useful insights. It isn't a prescriptive guide, but an outline of a typical data journey. It will help you see where you are in your data journey, and what to expect. It will also help you understand the limitation of data.

Systems theorist Russell Ackoff outlined the DIKUW hierarchy in his paper "From Data to Wisdom" in 1989, and described it as a 5-step process, which we all go through as individuals and institutions, of transforming data into wisdom.

Cleanroom monitoring: How to make the most of your data

Posted by ACASA on February 22, 2020 at 03:32 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 30, 2020

How to Select Scrum Patterns

Systems Thinking

How do you design a house? Ackoff explains The architect designs to satisfy the needs of the residents, and first draws the house ( the Whole). Then divides the house into rooms ( the parts ). A room is only improved if it also improves the house, and it can be the case that the architect chooses to make a room worse to improve the house as a whole. So, you start with determining the function of the larger Whole, and then improve the Whole by refining it with parts.

We apply the same approach with the Scrum Patterns. You start with the most extensive pattern( the Whole) and then refine it with subsequent patterns. You are always keeping in mind the goals of the Whole.

You might be thinking, so what? Well, it is crucial to understand the boundaries of your system and the goal you are striving to improve, because you are unlikely to improve the performance of the Whole by improving the parts taken separately— R. L. Ackoff, Re-Creating the Corporation, page 21. Let me try to explain using a simple example.

Read more at:

Posted by ACASA on January 30, 2020 at 09:55 PM in blog post | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

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)