"Why Organizations are Slow to Adopt Systems Thinking", Russell Ackoff, 49th Annual Meeting of the ISSS, Westin Cancun, July 1, 2005, 9:20 a.m.

Russell Ackoff

49th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Westin Cancun, July 1, 2005

These participant's notes were created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. These should not be viewed as official transcripts of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. These notes have been contributed by David Ing (daviding@systemicbusiness.org) of the Systemic Business Community ( http://systemicbusiness.org ).

Introduction by Enrique Herrscher

[Russ Ackoff]

Gave a lecture to undergraduates

In a year, probably talk to 40 to 50 groups of executives

Why organizations don't adopt

Generally: since youth, taught that mistakes are bad

Was working with an automotive manufacturing

You can't learn by doing something right

Two kinds of mistakes:

In an organization, only one of two types of error are acknowledge: errors of commission

Accounting system only takes account of one type of error: commission

Can only get caught at doing something you shouldn't have done

In U.S. today: has Bush ever admitted a mistake?

What can we do?

Can then check:

Correcting mistakes is also a decision

As systems sciences, have a duty to show them they're conservative, then teach them how to learn.

The general reason

Look at journals:

Have to develop a vocabulary in ordinary English

Three things the society should do:


ISSS... Conferences... Cancun 2005