Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking

UPDATE, JAN 11, 2009 Three short clips with Russell Ackoff have been posted to YouTube.

UPDATE, OCT 26, 2008: Kevin, who first pointed out to me that the video links in this post were broken, have managed to get in touch with Chicago-Kent. He received the direct links to the missing Ackoff lectures, and passed them on to me. Here they are:

UPDATE: Russell Ackoff’s talks on Girls Link seem to have been taken down. Readers Kevin and Lennart have asked me if there is a way to get hold of them again. I have not yet found such a way. I have, though, tried to get some more info on this via email, but without luck so far. If I find out more about this, I’ll post about it here. Check back here or/and post a comment if you want to know if I find a way to see them again.

UPDATE 2: Over on Anders Vesterberg’s blog, reader Eric posted links to the Girls Link talks in the comments section. The link’s go to cached content at Web Archive. I’m not able to access the talks, but some seem to be, so go ahead and give it a try.

UPDATE 2: I’ll be adding links to Ackoff material on this page as I come across it on the web.

Original post:

Oh my, oh my! Is this sweet or what? A full set of videos with systems thinker Russell Ackoff. Russell Ackoff can argue like no other for the idea that we are in the middle of a paradigm shift, in which we are moving away from the old Newtonian, or mechanistic, way of looking at the world, towards something else – something based on the realization of the importance of synthetic thinking.

Ackoff explains how analytical thinking can help us understand how something works, but it cannot help us understand why that same thing works the way it does. To understand the why, we need to look outside of that which we are inspecting – we need to look at its context.

For more on Russell Ackoff and systems thinking, check out these previous posts.

Author: Tobias Fors

I'm a software management consultant. I help other people succeed with software development. In my work, I help teams and organizations be more effective and ship software.

6 thoughts on “Russell Ackoff on Systems Thinking”

  1. Ok thanks

    Please post back if you hear anything. I checked the Internet Archive to see if I could retrieve these videos and although it stored the page, it did not save the videos

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