I recently found these videotapes of a two-day workshop Russell Ackoff gave in the 1980s. These tapes are copies of the original tapes that were owned by a colleague of mine from the Aldus Corporation.
I was introduced to Russell Ackoff’s work by Skip Walter, another Aldus employee who was the VP of Engineering in the early 1990s. I recently called Skip to thank him for introducing me to Russell Ackoff’s ideas on Systems Thinking, “Mess Management,” and Idealized Design when I was a new software testing manager at Aldus and to tell him how much these ideas influenced the trajectory of my career.
I told Skip that my goal for 2021 is to make these ideas available to the next generation of technology professionals. I got permission from the Executor of Russell Ackoff’s estate to digitize the tapes and make them available online. I am starting the process of cataloging and distilling the topics he covered in the workshop. Skip has generously helped me get transcripts of the tapes to make the editing process easier. Thanks, Skip!
I will be writing about the process in my Field Notes over the next month. If you are interested in getting access to early versions of Russell Ackoff’s talks, please contact me.
This short video of a speech he gave in the 1990s will give you preview of the kind of wit and wisdom Russell Ackoff shared with his students, colleagues and clients that I want to make available to others: