September 17, 2020

What Management Needs to Become in an Era of Ecosystems

"As with all management metaphors, talk of business ecosystems has some commentators asking: Is this really new? Weren’t companies always embedded in larger systems, and also made up of internal networks? Systems thinking in management, as pioneered by Hans Ulrich, Peter Gomez, and Fredmund Malik at St. Gallen University (and in America, by Jay Forrester, Russell Ackoff, and Peter Senge) has long been part of business school curricula. Indeed, Peter Drucker himself, decades ago, came up with the term “social ecology” to describe the nature of his work as he studied the workings of organizations and their impacts and integration with society.

What has changed is the technology that has us more connected and immersed in data than ever before. In today’s world of networking and collaboration software, big data, analytics, and AI, managers simply cannot continue to assume a carved-out model of the firm for the convenience of seeing how to manage it. Now that firms’ activities are so intertwined and their successes so interdependent, the old tools and techniques no longer work.

To succeed in the era of platforms and partnerships, managers will need to change practice on many levels. And with the new practices of ecosystem management must come new management theory, also reoriented around a larger-scale system-level view. Both practitioners and scholars can begin by dispensing with mechanistic, industrial-age models of inputs, processes, and outputs. They will have to take a more dynamic, organic, and evolutionary view of how organizations’ capacities grow and can be cultivated."

What Management Needs to Become in an Era of Ecosystems

Posted by ACASA on September 17, 2020 at 10:24 AM in Interesting | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 01, 2013


There are four basic types of system depending on whether the parts and the whole can display choice, and therefore, be purposeful.



Type of System Model Parts Whole Example

Mechanistic No choice No choice Machines

Animate No choice Choice Persons

Social Choice Choice Corporations

Ecological Choice No Choice Nature

Posted by ACASA on May 1, 2013 at 06:43 AM in Interesting | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 15, 2011

Stafford Beer, Cybernetics and More!

Here are several videos that have Cybernetics as their main topic, as provided to us by Javier Livas. Some have been made using material from Stafford Beer directly. The rest deal mostly with Management Cybernetics as applied to different situations. Included are two major videos each of which last for more than two hours. The first is UNIVERSO KUBERNETES which talks about the evolution of the science of Cybernetics and its implications. The second is THE UNIVERSAL MANAGER which puts together Beer's ideas on management in a single package.

What is Cybernetics?

Feedback / Stafford Beer

The Intelligent Organization PART I Stafford Beer // Javier Livas

The Intelligent Organization PART II Stafford Beer // Javier Livas

The Intelligent Organization Q&A

Viable System Model

Viable Systems meet Complex Adaptive Systems

Management Cybernetics: Science of Effective Organization

Management Cybernetics & Redesigning Government

Management Cybernetics & Chaos Theory

Management Cybernetics: The Law of Requisite Variety

Management Cybernetics: The Cybernetic State

Pycho-Cybernetics and Management Cybernetics

Law & Cybernetics

The Human Brain & Cybernetics

Stuff, Life & Cybernetics

Soros, Popper & Cybernetics
(The Budapest Conferences and Financial Times Videos by George Soros)

Model of a Living Organization

The Financial Crisis and Cybernetics

Cybernetics vs Status Quo: Ideas from Stafford Beer

Cybernetics and Systemic Traps

The Universe and You

The US DOLLAR, a recursive theory of money creation

CAPTAIN of the Brain Explorer Submarine (ALL)




THE UNIVERSAL MANAGER, based on Stafford Beer's Viable System Model // Javier Livas

Posted by ACASA on July 15, 2011 at 02:26 PM in Interesting | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 05, 2008

A. Stafford Beer and Project Cybersyn

Stafford Beer,  a systems thinking advocate and pioneer and a close friend and colleague of Russell Ackoff over the years and stemming from their roots in Operations Research from which they both progressed their own paths, attempted, in his words, to "implant" an electronic "nervous system" in Chilean society. Voters, workplaces and the government were to be linked together by a new, interactive national communications network, which would transform their relationship into something profoundly
more equal and responsive than before - a sort of socialist Internet, decades ahead of its time.

Recently, an article was published in New York Times detailing the "Chilean" experiment conducted by Stafford Beer and his colleague for the Allende administration. To read the article click on the following URL: Before '73 coup, Chile tried to find the right software for socialism

Posted by ACASA on April 5, 2008 at 11:24 AM in Interesting | 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)

October 21, 2005

Dancing With Systems

By Donella Meadows

Versions of this piece have been published in Whole Earth, winter 2001 and The Systems Thinker, Vol. 13, No. 2 (March 2002).

The Dance

1. Get the beat.
2. Listen to the wisdom of the system.
3. Expose your mental models to the open air.
4. Stay humble. Stay a learner.
5. Honor and protect information.
6. Locate responsibility in the system.
7. Make feedback policies for feedback systems.
8. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable.
9. Go for the good of the whole.
10. Expand time horizons.
11. Expand thought horizons.
12. Expand the boundary of caring.
13. Celebrate complexity.
14. Hold fast to the goal of goodness.

People who are raised in the industrial world and who get enthused about systems thinking are likely to make a terrible mistake. They are likely to assume that here, in systems analysis, in interconnection and complication, in the power of the computer, here at last, is the key to prediction and control. This mistake is likely because the mindset of the industrial world assumes that there is a key to prediction and control.

To read this article, click on the link: Dancing With Systems

Posted by ACASA on October 21, 2005 at 02:39 PM in Interesting | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 16, 2005

Essay in Honor of Dr. Aron Katsenelinboigen

Vera Zubarev writes about Aron Katsenelinboigen - whom she describes as friend, father, and teacher - and discusses their conversation "which never stops."

Dr. Aron Katsenelinboigen was professor emeritus of operations and information management. Born in the Ukraine, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1973. He was professor of social systems and decision sciences in the Wharton School and later professor of operations and information management.  His main area of interest in the last thirty years was General Systems Theory and its application to various fields, including economics, biology, ethics, aesthetics, and theology. Aron is the author of twenty books and numerous articles.

Dr. Vera Zubarev is a bilingual Russian-English poet, writer, and scholar who teaches in the Department of Slavic Languages at the Universityof Pennsylvania. Further information can be obtained from her website:

To read the essay, please click on the following link: My Journey by Vera Zubarev

Posted by ACASA on September 16, 2005 at 03:39 PM in Interesting | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 29, 2005

Design For A Self-Regenerating Organization

Dr. Michael C Geoghegan ([email protected]) and Dr. Paul Pangaro ([email protected])
Ashby Centenary Conference
March 4-6, 2004, University of Illinois, Urbana

Ashby’s Design for a Brain [Ashby 1952] comprises a formal description of the necessary and sufficient conditions for a system to act ‘like a brain,’ that is, to learn in order to remain viable in a changing environment, and to ‘get what it wants’. Remarkably, Ashby gives a complete, formal specification of such a system without any dependency on how the system is implemented. In this presentation the authors will argue how Ashby’s formalisms can be applied to human organizations.

All organizations seek to successfully carry out transactions that achieve their goals and assert their identity, whether to educate college students for employment, to govern a territory fairly, or to make money for shareholders. An organization’s transactions are predicated on agreements, and agreements in turn are based on conversations in a shared language. Thus human organizations are delimited by their operation in the domain of language, and Ashby’s ‘essential variables’ are the ‘shared truths’ of an organization—perturbed by the environment, regulated by employees’ actions, and carried in its language.
To read this article, click on the link: Design For A Self-Regenerating Organization.

Posted by ACASA on June 29, 2005 at 11:17 AM in Interesting | Permalink | Comments (0)