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Transcript of Idealized Design
(Russell Ackoff, Bell Labs, AT&T, 1950s) “The only way that we can think creatively about the system is to assume it was destroyed last night – it no longer exist.” – a vice president of the Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1950’s. And the philosophy behind that is that “If you don’t know what you would do when you can do whatever you want, right now, then how can you possibly know what to do when you can’t do whatever you want?" And the argue goes like this: the way to get to the best outcome is to imagine what the ideal solution would be and then work backward to where you are today." Constraints Only 2:
Everything remains the same
Technologically Feasible Relevant Concepts!Well, any suggestion here? “Without changing our pattern of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems we created with our current patterns of thought.” - Einstein It’s called “Mental Model”,
Peter Senge (the 5th Discipline book) Quality Quality, by definition, is meeting or exceeding customer expectations. And customer expectations would satisfied by two sides:  the product is functioning right, and  it’s the right product.
You can deliver a product with a high performance, high usability, latest technology, plenty of good features, tremendous design of extendibility, durability, .. and so on with every dimension of the quality, and you’re still.. you’re still delivering the “wrong” product and the real business problem remains the same or even gets worse. Quality, is mainly about doing what do you want rather than getting ride of what you don’t want.
Again, quality by definition is fundamentally “meeting or exceeding customer expectations, ” therefore, if the customer expectations are not met, it is a failure, no matter what's the experts or the product team think.
So, doing the thing right partially satisfies one side of the quality; free of bugs, usability (conformance), performance, .. etc. of the other aspects of quality including the given 8 dimensions in the article. Yet, however, the other side of the quality, which is the more important here, is doing the right thing; is related to the real business needs and value and solving customer problems. Improvement Improvement is also about adding what do you want, not removing or preventing what do not want.
Working on removal of deficiencies of the system (at hand) is not really a true “improvement”. By systemic concept you point out the getting rid of what you don’t want is not equivalent to getting what you do want; that improvement has to be directed towards what you want, not away from what you don’t want.
So, Improvement and quality is about what you want not what you don’t want. And, there is a fundamental difference between “doing the thing right” and “doing the right thing.” Doing the “right” thing There is a fundamental difference between “doing the thing right” and “doing the right thing.” - Peter Druker It is much better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right, because when errors are corrected, it makes doing the wrong thing wronger but the right thing righter.- Russell Ackoff “Why”, “What”, and “How” Conceptualization Hmm! There is a very fundamental question here: Does the “solution” (i.e., the need for it) exist before or after the problem’s existence?
If the answer is “of course the problem exists first before any need or foundation of its possible or suggested solutions (!), then why some people tend to focus on finding some solutions before clearly defining the problem at hand? Aristotle identified three forms of knowledge:
(1) Episteme = universally valid scientific knowledge,
(2) Techne = skill-based technical know-how, and
(3) Phronesis = a true and reasoned state of capacity to act with regard to the things that are good or bad for man. If episteme is ‘know-why’, and
techne is ‘know-how’,
then phronesis is know-what-should-be-done. Example: because no universal notion of a good car exists, episteme cannot answer the question “What is a good car?” That will depend on who is using the car and why, and it will change over time. Techne is knowing how to make a car well; phronesis is knowing both what a good car is and how to build it. Thus phronesis enables managers to determine what is good in specific times and situations and to undertake the best actions at those times to serve the common good. Although the main subject is about forms of knowledge and leadership, but it’s found so relevant to our old ‘why-what-how’ conceptualization (of different perspectives) that’s needed in SW (or, actually, in any other product ) development..
[The source is: Harvard Business Review (HRB) - The Big Idea: The Wise Leader by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi] By the way, this is an interesting (review) article to read and interesting book to get it added to our library.. “We must work at learning how to separate what we truly want, from what we think we need to do in order to achieve it.”
“ While this is very helpful for thinking through alternative strategies for achieving our goals, it is also a sign of lack of discipline when thoughts about the process of achieving our vision continually crowd out our focus on the outcomes we seek.”
From Peter senge, the 5th discipline book "A useful starting excise for learning how to focus more clearly on desired results is to take any particular goal or aspect of your vision... Then ask yourself the question, "If I actually had this, what would it get me?"
What people often discover is that the answer to that question reveals deeper desires laying behind the goal. In fact, the goal is actually an interim step they assume is necessary to reach a more important results.“
- Peter Senge, The 5th Discipline Book In our "analysis" work, there is a good technique called the "5 whys" - to repeatedly put your hand on the root cause of you really want.. Ask Five Whys is a simple and widely used tool used in kaizen. It helps develop problem solving and root cause analysis skills. In response to a problem or defect, a team considers “why?” at least five times. These questions may have multiple and related answers, so some teams create a “5 Whys graph” of branching answers.
The important point of 5 Whys is not the technique or the number 5, but that it is part of the “stop and fix” root-cause problem-solving mindset and culture pervasive at Toyota.
People are taught to become deep problem solvers; to not live with problems, but to think things through deeply. There is also a connection between Go See and 5 Whys: It is easy for people to guess wrong or weak answers unless they see the facts at the real place of the problem. The Golden Circle The Golden Circle (by Simon Sinek): http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html
Please notice that he draws the circles from the view of ‘selling the product’, so he puts it in that sequence; ’why-how-what’. On the other hand, and in my perception of that, when it comes to the ‘product development’, the sequence is a bit changed to ‘why-what-how’ – with the same intellectual meaning of each circle. Systems Thinking Team Alignment Shared vision It is all about of sharing vision and every team member is being part of the team (the whole company), it’s our dream, our vision and our work. And we couldn’t spell “S_ccess” with “U”. Actually, nothing will drive the person but his own personal vision. So, the point here is that the management share their vision and encourage the team members to build theirs, and then work on matching them all together (it’s like hologram lighting image).
So it’s about:
o Sharing vision
o Being open and transparent
o Team work and team learning (together)
o By team, I mean the whole team; the company team.. we are driving the ship as one team – it’s OUR ship, it’s our COMPANY The best thing that can be done to a problem is to solve it. (False.)
The best thing that can be done to a problem is to dissolve it, to redesign the entity that has it or its environment so as to eliminate the problem. Such a design incorporates common sense and research, and increases our learning more than trial-and-error or scientific research alone can.
- Russell Ackoff All learning ultimately derives from mistakes.
When we do something right, we already know how to do it; the most we get out of it is confirmation of our rightness.
Mistakes are of two types: commission (doing what should not have been done) and omission (not doing what should have been done).
Errors of omission are generally much more serious than errors of commission, but errors of commission are the only ones picked up by most accounting systems.
Since mistakes are a no-no in most corporations, and the only mistakes identified and measured are ones involving doing something that should not have been done, the best strategy for managers is to do as little as possible. No wonder managerial paralysis prevails in American organizations.
- Russell Ackoff Without a common purpose the elements would not work together unless compelled to do so. A group of unwilling prisoners or slaves can be organized and forced to do something that they do not want to do, but if so they do not constitute an organization even though they may form a system. An organization consists of elements that have and can exercise their own wills.
- Russell Ackoff An "organization" is a purposeful system that contains at least 2 purposeful elements which have a common purpose.
... An aggregation of purposeful entities does not constitute an organization unless they have at least one common purpose; that is, unless there is some one or more things that they all want. An organization is always organized around this common purpose. It is the relationships between what the purposeful elements do and the pursuit of their common purpose that give unity and identity to their organization.
- Russell Ackoff According to Russell Ackoff, a systems theorist and professor of organizational change, the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories:
1. Data: symbols
2. Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questions
3. Knowledge: application of data and information; answers "how" questions
4. Understanding: appreciation of "why"
5. Wisdom: evaluated understanding. Data... data is raw. It simply exists and has no significance beyond its existence (in and of itself). It can exist in any form, usable or not. It does not have meaning of itself. In computer parlance, a spreadsheet generally starts out by holding data. Information... information is data that has been given meaning by way of relational connection. This "meaning" can be useful, but does not have to be. In computer parlance, a relational database makes information from the data stored within it. Knowledge... knowledge is the appropriate collection of information, such that it's intent is to be useful. Knowledge is a deterministic process. When someone "memorizes" information (as less-aspiring test-bound students often do), then they have amassed knowledge. This knowledge has useful meaning to them, but it does not provide for, in and of itself, an integration such as would infer further knowledge. For example, elementary school children memorize, or amass knowledge of, the "times table". They can tell you that "2 x 2 = 4" because they have amassed that knowledge (it being included in the times table). But when asked what is "1267 x 300", they can not respond correctly because that entry is not in their times table. To correctly answer such a question requires a true cognitive and analytical ability that is only encompassed in the next level... understanding. In computer parlance, most of the applications we use (modeling, simulation, etc.) exercise some type of stored knowledge. Understanding... understanding is an interpolative and probabilistic process. It is cognitive and analytical. It is the process by which I can take knowledge and synthesize new knowledge from the previously held knowledge. The difference between understanding and knowledge is the difference between "learning" and "memorizing". People who have understanding can undertake useful actions because they can synthesize new knowledge, or in some cases, at least new information, from what is previously known (and understood). That is, understanding can build upon currently held information, knowledge and understanding itself. In computer parlance, AI systems possess understanding in the sense that they are able to synthesize new knowledge from previously stored information and knowledge. Wisdom... wisdom is an extrapolative and non-deterministic, non-probabilistic process. It calls upon all the previous levels of consciousness, and specifically upon special types of human programming (moral, ethical codes, etc.). It beckons to give us understanding about which there has previously been no understanding, and in doing so, goes far beyond understanding itself. It is the essence of philosophical probing. Unlike the previous four levels, it asks questions to which there is no (easily-achievable) answer, and in some cases, to which there can be no humanly-known answer period. Wisdom is therefore, the process by which we also discern, or judge, between right and wrong, good and bad. I personally believe that computers do not have, and will never have the ability to posses wisdom. Wisdom is a uniquely human state, or as I see it, wisdom requires one to have a soul, for it resides as much in the heart as in the mind. And a soul is something machines will never possess (or perhaps I should reword that to say, a soul is something that, in general, will never possess a machine). Solving problems by absolution, resolution and solution generally do not change the structure or functions of the entity that uses them.
This implies that sooner or later they need to be fixed again.
Yet, "Dissolution", the 4th way to treat a problem, means to redesign either the society that has the problem or its environment in such a way as to eliminate the problem or the conditions that caused it, thus enabling the society involved to do better in the future than the best it can do today.
The methodology used to do this is called System Thinking.
- Russell Ackoff A dilemma is a problem which cannot be solved within the prevailing view of the world [i.e., the "mental model" or "paradigm"]
- Russell Ackoff A nice "why-what-how" tool; a free online tool that you can use in thinking, documenting and modeling your thoughts and talks.. Here is an example of it (they call it gens :-)) and you can find a plenty of those in the site.. You 've to try that:-)
http://www.knowledgegenes.com/home.aspx?kgid=7214&t=moretext (Effective Requirements Capture)
http://www.knowledgegenes.com/Welcome.aspx (the site hoe page) “The great product does not come simply listening to what customers ask for, but from developing a deep understanding of the customer’s world, discovering unmet needs, and surprising customers by catering to these needs. This is the way to create delighted customers.”
- Kano, the inventor of Kano’s requirements model. A problem never exists in isolation; it is surrounded by other problems in space and time. The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution.
- Russell Ackoff المعلم References.. Beyond Continuous Improvement with Russell Ackoff, http://www.systemswiki.org/index.php?title=Beyond_Continuous_Improvement_with_Russell_Ackoff System Properties:
A whole that consists of parts, each of which can affect its behavior or its properties.
Each part of the system when it affects the system is dependent for its effect on some other part. The parts are interdependent. No part of the system, or collection of parts of the system, has an independent affect on it.
A system is a whole that can not be divided into independent parts. Implications
Essential, or defining properties of any system, are properties of the whole that none of its parts have.
When a system is taken apart is looses its essential properties.
A system is not the sum of the behaviors of its parts but the product of their interactions. Drucker - distinction between doing things right and doing the right things. One might better be doing the right things wrong than doing the wrong things right.
Quality should contain the notion of value not simply efficiency.
Quality should be directed at effectiveness, not efficiency.
The difference between efficiency and effectiveness is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Until managers take into account the systemic nature of their organizations most of their efforts to improve their performance are doomed to failure. Improvement
If we have a system of improvement directed at improving the parts taken separately you can be absolutely certain that the performance of the whole will not be improved.
The performance of a system depends on how the parts fit together, not how they perform separately.
Never modify the whole to improve the quality of the parts unless the quality of the whole is also simultaneously improved.
Finding deficiencies and getting rid of them is not a way of improving the performance of the system. An improvement program must be directed at what you want, not at what you don't want. And, determining what you do want requires redesigning the system, not for the future, but for right now, and asking yourself what would you do right now if you could do whatever you wanted to. If you don't know what you would do if you could do what you wanted to do how could you ever know what you would do under constraints?
Continuous improvement isn't nearly as important as discontinuous improvement. Creativity is a discontinuity. One never becomes a leader by continuously improving. That's imitation of the leader. You only become a leader by leapfrogging those who are ahead of you. Omegapowers, Own work This is from my own knowledge and understanding of DIKW model, May 2008, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DIKW.png Posted by Kathy on April 23, 2006 , http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/04/moving_up_the_w.html Posted by Kathy on April 23, 2006 , http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/04/moving_up_the_w.html Alistair Altitude Metaphor. 2003 Data, Information, Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom.. Analytical thinking allows you to analyze the system at hand in a way that let you describe its behavior, its structure; it allows you to answer the “how?” question. Yet, it never helps you answering the “why?” question. (and always remember that: "When a system is taken apart, it loses all of its essential properties and so its parts. ") Analysis is about taking the system apart, trying to understand the parts (taken separately) and aiming to aggregate them back to understand (and hence improve) the whole. And that's all wrong!
All you can do by that is just try to understand the structure and how it works and hence just improve that. (and that may just lead you to improve doing the thing right, but never make you sure you are doing the right thing. To truly understand the system (the right thing) you must understand its function, its purpose, why it works the way it does (and that's never achieved by analysis) "Analysis" tells you how it works but never tells you why. How the system works is "knowledge", but not "understanding" and there is a difference between knowledge and understanding.
But if you wanna improve the system you mush understand why it works the way it does. Because otherwise, all you can do is make it doing better, but you maybe you aren't doing the right thing (at first place).
- Russell Ackoff Analytical Thinking.. “You never learn by doing something right, because your already doing it right. You only learn by mistakes.”
“There are two kinds of mistakes, the kind you shouldn’t have done. [..] That’s called an error of commission. The other type of error is when you didn’t do something that you should have done. That’s an error of omission.” He goes on to point out that only errors of commission are recorded, and therefore if employees/managers can only get in trouble for doing something they shouldn’t have done, what will they do? Nothing.
“It’s our treatment of error that leads to a stability which prevents significant change.”
- Russell Ackoff - “There are 5 types of content in the human mind: data, information, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. It’s a hierarchy.” (See my previous post for details on the Wisdom Hierarchy)
- Regarding Peter Drucker’s infamous line, “There is a difference between doing things right and doing the right thing.” Dr. Ackoff says: “See, doing the right thing is wisdom, effectiveness. Doing things right is efficiency. The curious thing is that the righter you do the wrong thing, the wronger you become. If you’re doing the wrong thing and you make a mistake and correct it you become wronger. So it’s better to do the right thing wrong, than the wrong thing right.”
- “So we’re now questioning, that it turns out every major social problem today is trying to do the wrong thing righter.”
“So instead of looking at the efficiency with which we are perusing our objectives, we’re beginning to re-examine the objectives.”
Dr. Ackoff considers the education system. “Our system is not about learning, [...] its about teaching. We don’t recognize that teaching is a major obstruction to learning.”;
- “Who in the classroom learns the most…. the teacher. See the classroom is upside down.”
- “You can take each system [...] and you can see that they are all perusing objectives that are contrary to their intention.”
- “You never learn by doing something right, because your already doing it right. You only learn by mistakes.”
- Russell Ackoff I'm interested in the difference between cooperation, competition and conflict.
We have a clearer idea of what cooperation is. If my presence in your environment increases the value of your environment, that's cooperation. If my presence in your environment decreases the value of your environment, that's conflict. But competition is not conflict.
A tennis match is competitive, and it's interesting to analyze it because it has both cooperation and conflict. With respect to winning, we're in conflict because only one of us can win. But with respect to recreation we are cooperating. Competition is conflict in the service of cooperation. Now, what you [talking to Deming] have been describing is what started [in the Western World] as competition but lost the cooperative objective and got converted into conflict.
if we are both trying to win and the more intensely we compete in order to win, the more fun we have, then conflict is servicing our joint objective which is recreation in this case.
A theory in economics which doesn't work was that a competition between two automotive companies which is conflict will serve effectively the interest of the consumer. It was conflict embedded in cooperation. What's wrong with [this] is it's not service the interest of the consumer [it rather serves each company's interest], and so it's conflict, not competition. To me the distinction is very important.
- from an interview between Russell Acckoff with Edward Deming Very important..!
When we know how a system works, how its parts are connected, and how the parts interact to produce the behavior and properties of the whole, we can almost always find one or more points of view that lead to better solutions than those we would have arrived at from the point of view from which the problem was formulated.
For example, we do not try to cure a headache by brain surgery, but by putting a pill in the stomach. We do this because we understand how the body, a biological system, works.
- Russell Ackoffv 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 apparent that our current decisions are based on what we expect the relevant future to be. Obviously, we must do something about those aspects of the future that we cannot control but which can affect us significantly. But this should not be based on forecasts; it should be based on assumptions.
***** Forecasts are about probabilities; assumptions are about possibilities *****
For example, we carry a spare tire in our cars because we assume a flat tire is possible, not because we forecast that one is going to occur on our next trip. In fact, one can easily show by examining our preparations for the next trip by automobile that we forecast implicitly that we will not have a flat tire on that trip.
We handle future possibilities differently than we handle future probabilities.
- Russell Ackoff 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 constantly to 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."
- Russell Ackoff So in idealized re-design, you design the system a whole and then derive the property of the parts from the properties of the whole as opposed to analytical design where you start by taking the parts and extracting the properties of the whole from the characteristics of the parts.
- from an interview of Russell Ackoff with E. Deming Unless the system is right, improving the "quality" of the parts taken separately will not necessarily improve the quality of the output of the system.
- from an interview of Russell Ackoff with E. Deming I've worked for over 400 different companies, in different 17 countries, and dealt with over 1000 problems. I can tell you that in at least 90% of those problems, the solution was not where the problem was identified; it was somewhere else.
But it takes somebody who was not looking at the part that's so called has the problem, but he is looking at the system as a whole to find out where its systemic deficiency so he can use the interactions of the parts to have the most effective solution of the deficiency that he has observed.
- Russell Ackoff Nature and the world are not organized as science and universities are. There is no physical, chemical, biological, psychological, or sociological problems. (the adjective before the word problem tell you nothing about the nature of the problem - only a point of view of the one who describes it) These are names of different points of view, different aspects of the same reality, not different kinds of reality.
Any problematic situation can be looked at from the point of view of any discipline, but not necessarily with equal fruitfulness.
The higher in the evolutionary scale is the object of study, the larger is the number of disciplines that are likely to make a constructive contribution to that study.
For example, a doctor may see the incapacity of an elderly woman as a result of her weak heart; an architect, as deriving from the fact that she must walk up three flights of steep stairs to the meager room she rents; an economist, as due to her lack of income; a social worker, as a consequence of her children's failure to "take her in"; and so on. Planning such an old lady's future ought to involve all these points of view and many others.
Progress in handling messes, as well as problems, derives at least as much from from creative reorganization of the way we pursue knowledge and the knowledge we already have, as it does from new discoveries.
- Russell Ackoff What is a "system"? Like a weather everyone talks and then don't do anything about it. similarly, everyone talks about systems and don't know anything about it.
System = 2 or more E's / 3 conditions
1. Each E --> W.
2. Way each E --> W depends on other E's.
3. G1=[E1, E2,..], G2=[.. ].., Gm= [.., En], where each G -->W depends on other G's
A "system" is a set of 2 or more elements that satisfy 3 conditions.
(Initially speaking this tells you that it's not an "indivisible" part; it's divisible)
1. Each element in the system can affect the behavior of the whole.
2. The way each element affects the whole depends on at least one of the other elements is doing. (In other words, no element has independent effect on the whole; the elements are all inter-connected)
3. If you take the elements and line them up (at any form at all, it does make any different how you do that to them) and you form sub-groups of them (at any form at all, it does not matter you group these elements), then each group of elements will have the following 2 properties:
1. Each group of elements will have an effect on behavior on the whole, and
2. No group will have an independent effect on the whole.
- Russell Ackoff So, the 2 critical aspects of the system, that we begun to recognize in 1954 as a result of focusing on systems. were:
(1) The essential properties of a system are the properties of the whole - that none of each parts have - which are lost when the system is taken apart.
(2) The essential properties of a part are lost when it's seperated form the system in which it's part of.
Now what was the big dilemma of the machine age?
For more than 400 years, the analysis dominates as the common way of thinking (when you say you are analyzing something it was a synonym of your are saying you are thinking about it)..
What is the first step in the analysis?
Taking the thing at hand a part.
And what does happen when you take a system apart?
It loses all of its essential parts!
What's the 2nd step of the analysis?
Try to understand each part taken separately.
And what does happen when you take a part out of the system which is a part?
It loses all its essential parts!!
So, in the 3rd step of the analysis which is trying to aggregate when you understood based on the previous steps you make sure you have understand nothing about this system!!!
And that's what we begun to realize in 1954 - we cannot understand a system by analyzing it; the analysis is a tool to get to know how the system works (its structure and components) not understanding it. (understanding is about explaining and answering the "why" questions and explanation always lie outside the system!) and that was the dilemma that broke the back of the machine age!
- Russell Ackoff In the mid of 1950's, the importance of the systems had grown up tremendously, and we couldn't find a method of thought that understand it. (The dominated method of thought at that time - since the machine age started - was the analysis. And by analysis you could not understand the system)
So, the direction goes into finding out a new way of thinking to complement analysis. Not surprisingly that new method is called "synthetic" thinking. It's the absolute opposite of the analysis method; opposite in step by step.
1. Take it apart (What's the opposite of that? Instead of looking at the thing under study as a whole and break it into parts, rather look at it as a part and look for the whole that's containing it.)
2. Understand the parts (i.e., try to explain the behavior of each part taken separately) (What's the opposite of that? Explain the behavior of the containing whole)
3. Aggregate understanding of the parts into understanding of the whole. (The opposite of that?) (Disaggregate the understanding of the containing whole into understanding of the part)
Just absolutely the reverse method!
Therefore, the synthetic thinking steps are:
1. Identify a whole of which the system which you're trying to understand is a part; identify the containing whole.
2. Understand the behavior of the containing whole.
3. Disaggregate the understanding of the containing whole into understanding of the part.
- Russell Ackoff Take an example: a university..
A university consists of collages which in turn consists of departments. Departments still are not indivisible parts, then you look further and you realize faculty, students and subject matters.
By analysis you examine those elements and then you aggregate that from bottom to the top. Well, the analysis just prevails how the university works; its structure; it does not tell why it works the way it does. It cannot!
Why the automobile was 6 passengers at first and why it becomes 4 passengers now? Take all cars you want and take them apart and try to answer this questions.
Why the British wheel is on the right and why in the rest is on the left?
The answer of the why questions never lie inside the thing! But it lies in its relationship into a something that contains it.
The explanations always lie outside the system.
Now let's apply the synthetic thinking to the university:
1. What's its containing whole? Well, it's the education system.
2. What's the purpose of the education system? It's a transmit of the traditional knowledge, understanding and information and to create new ones and to create a capacity to generates more and so on.
3. Then, what's the university? You explain the university by identifying its role/function in the larger system of which it's part. What's the role of the university within the education system? ..
What's the role of the vehicle in the transportation system? to carry the average family from one place to another. (average size of Americanfamily was 5.6 now it's 3.2)
In 50's we 've recognized that "analysis" yields "knowledge" and "synthesis" yields "understanding".
- Russell Ackoff What we learned in the 50's is that what "analysis" yields is "knowledge" not understanding; yo get understanding you must use "synthetic thinking." That does not negate the value of the "analysis". Science does not progress that way; it always build on top of the old. It says we must combine "analysis" and synthesis" to both know and understand our environment. And the combination of those two came to be called "systems thinking". And that's for that reason I will refer to the emerging age (after the machine age) as "systems age."
- Russell Ackoff Analysis is supplemented by synthesis to produce systems thinking;
(1) to know something you have reduce it to its elements, and
(2) to understand something you have to expand it to its larger system.
- Russell Ackoff Synthetic Thinking Seeing the whole.. Dynamic Complexity and Circle of Influences.. The roots of the war on terrorism, like the US-Soviet arms race, lie not in rival political ideologies, nor in particular arms, but in the way of thinking both sides shared. [In the figure, the above part shows the US viewpoint, while the bottom part is the terrorist's one. Please notice that each of the two viewpoints is just a straight line.]
But the two straight lines form a circle. The two antagonists' individual, "linear", or nonsystemic viewpoints interact to create a "system," a set of variables that influence one another[when you see the "whole" view]
The system view shows a perpetual cycle of aggression. From their individual viewpoints, each side focuses on its short-term goals. Both sides respond to perceived threats. But their actions end up creating escalating danger for everyone.
Here, as in many systems, doing the obvious thing does not produce the obvious, desired outcome. The longer-term result of each side's efforts is heightened insecurity for all.
Interestingly, the US in particular has failed to adopt a true system view, despite an abundance of "systems analysts" studying the terrorists' weapons and resources and state-of the-art information technology, including complex computer simulations. Why is that?
The answer lies in the same reason that sophisticated tools for forecasting and business analysts, as well as elegant plans, usually fail to produce dramatic breakthroughs in managing a business. They are all designed to handle the sort of complexity in which there are many variables: detail complexity. But there is a second type of complexity. It's "dynamic complexity", situations where cause and effects are subtle, and where the effects over time of interventions are not obvious.
Conventional forecasting, planning, analysis methods are not equipped to deal with dynamic complexity.
When the same action had dramatically different effects in the short run and the long, there is dynamic complexity.
When an action has one set of consequences locally and a very different set of consequences in another part of the system, there is dynamic complexity.
When obvious interventions produce nonobvious consequences , there is dynamic complexity.
The real leverage in most management situations lies in understanding dynamic complexity, not detail complexity.
Unfortunately, most systems analysts focus on detail complexity not dynamic complexity. Simulations with thousands of variables and complex arrays of details can actually distract us from seeing patterns and major internationalism.
In fact, sadly, for most people "system thinking" means "fighting complexity with complexity," devising increasingly "complex" problems. In fact, this is the antithesis of real systems thinking.
The war on terrorism is, most fundamentally, a problem of dynamic complexity. Insight into causes and possible cures requires seeing the interrelationships, ... . And it requires seeing patterns of change, not just snapshots, such as the continuing escalation.
Seeing the major interrelations underlying a problem leads to new insight into what might be done.
In case of the war on terrorism, as in any escalating dynamic, the obvious question is, "Can the vicious cycle be run in reverse?" "Can it be run backward to create slowly building cycle of security?"
The essence of the discipline of systems thinking lies in a shift in mind:
seeing interrelationships rather than linear cause-effects chains, and
seeing process of change rather than snapshots
The practice of systems thinking starts with understanding a simple concept called "feedback" that show how actions can reinforce or counteract (balance) each other. It builds to learning to recognize types of "structures" that recur again and again.
Reality is made up of circles but we see straight lines. Herein lie the beginnings of our limitations as system thinkers. What we see depends on what we are prepared to see. if we want to see system-wide interrelationships, we need a language of interrelationships, a language made up of circles.