Russell Ackoff – Systems Thinker Passes Away Suddenly on October 29th

Professor Russell Ackoff, a prolific student and teacher of Systems Thinking, passed away suddenly on Thursday 29th October as a result of complications arising from hip replacement surgery. He was 90 years old.

If you would like to see some of Professor Ackoff’s work, watch his video.

A full obituary can be read from his website.

My own understanding of Systems Thinking was heavily influenced by a video presentation of his titled, “From Mechanistic to Social Systemic Thinking.” I have to admit that I only understood half of it when I first watched it, but I was entranced by the different perspective regarding how the world works that Professor Ackoff was presenting. Many years later his teaching has continued to strongly influence my own thinking.

One of my favourite quotes from Professor Ackoff is:

“All of our social problems arise out of doing the wrong thing righter. 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.” Magnificent!

Professor Russell Ackoff, rest in peace.

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