Review: Redesigning Society

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Games, Models, & Simulations, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Public Administration, Survival & Sustainment, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
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Russell Ackoff and Sheldon Rovin

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 for Democracy as Design, 4 for Fragmentation, 5 on Balance,December 15, 2011

I bought this book after being turned to Reflexivity by Dr. Kent Myers, principal author of Reflexive Practice: Professional Thinking for a Turbulent World–disclosure, he profiled me in that book, to my great surprise, as good a gong as one could ask for. This is a great book, alongside which I recommend Buckminster Fuller's books Critical Path and Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure, and the more recent book from Medard Gabel, co-creator with Buckminster Fuller of the analog World Game, Designing a World That Works for All: How the Youth of the World are Creating Real-World Solutions for the UN Millenium Development Goals and Beyond.In that context the book is a five. I completely agree with the earlier review that graded it a four on basis of spottiness (some great chapters, some not so great), but I upgrade it to 5 for two reasons: first, because the entire book has an explicit focus on Democracy As Design and Democracy as a System of Systems that cannot be “broken down” the way science strives to break down what it studies. In Democracy, as in Reflexivity, the engaged participants are wild cards, nothing can be predicted, agility and resilience are everything, and it is the relationships (the Yang) rather than the objects (the Ying) that really matter. That is six-star stuff no contest.

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Review (Guest): Re-Creating the Corporation – A Design of Organizations for the 21st Century

5 Star, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Economics, Information Society, Intelligence (Commercial), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design
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Russell Ackoff

5.0 out of 5 stars “There are no simple solutions to complex problems”., August 21, 2000

ByTurgay BUGDACIGIL (Istanbul, Turkey) – See all my reviews (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

“This book is a product of applying systems thinking to the management and organization of enterprises”. Russel L. Ackoff writes, “therefore, an understanding of the nature of systems and systems thinking is essential for understanding what this book is about. Although most people can identify many different systems, few know precisely what a system is. Without such knowledge, one cannot understand them, and without such an understanding, one cannot be aware of their implications for their management and organization and for treatment of the most important problems that currently face them” (p.5).

Thus, he firstly argues that a system is a whole consisting of two or more parts that satisfies the following five conditions:

(1). The whole has one or more defining properties or functions.

(2). Each part in the set can affect the behavior or properties of the whole.

(3). There is a subset of parts that is sufficient in one or more environments for carrying out the defining function of the whole; each of these parts is necessary but insufficient for carrying out this defining function.

(4). The way that each essential part of a system affects its behavior or properties depends on (the behavior or properties of) at least one other essential part of the system.

(5). The effect of any subset of essential parts on the system as a whole depends on the behavior of at least one other such subset.

Continue reading “Review (Guest): Re-Creating the Corporation – A Design of Organizations for the 21st Century”

Review (Guest): On Purposeful Systems – An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Individual and Social Behavior as a System of Purposeful Events

5 Star, Change & Innovation, Complexity & Resilience, Economics, Environment (Solutions), Information Operations, Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design
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Russell Ackoff, Fred Emery

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful guide to designing a better world, December 25, 2002

ByW. C. Priest “Dr. W. Curtiss Priest” (Boston, MA United States) – See all my reviews

In 1970 I taught from this book when it was entitled
“Choice, Communication and Conflict”

What makes this book “magical” is Ackoff (from his
management and behavioral science roots) provides
“operational definitions” for many ill-defined words
and concepts — from defining ‘knowledge' & ‘understanding' to providing definitions of feelings/emotions that — operationally — you know — that if certain events take place in a person's life, that you know the feeling they have.

This is only a glimmer of what this book is about. In terms of Kuhn's idea of “paradigm shifts” — this book
represents a shift that has yet to be appreciated, thirty years later!

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Review (Guest): Turning Learning Right Side Up – Putting Education Back on Track

5 Star, Complexity & Resilience, Culture, Research, Education (General), Information Society, Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design
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Russell Ackoff 5.0 out of 5 stars Taking learning seriously, December 12, 2008 By Scott D. Gray (Marlborough, MA United States) – See all my reviews In modern America, everyone and his brother believes that the educational system is broken. But most people suggest responding with more of the same, rather than rethinking what learning is actually about. When the economy does well, people claim that it must be because of the education system and propose spending more money. When it does poorly, people say that it must be because we don't spend enough on education and propose spending more. Ackoff and Greenberg go back to first principals, and to daily experiences, to consider how people learn, and how education might be restructured. What they propose really does turn the modern vision of school on its head. Why do schools in the US — the land of the free and the home of the brave — condition children to be passive and to wait on authority? There is only one suggestion or conclusion that I question. There is an argument posited by one of the authors (Ackoff, I think) for an elaborate voucher system. However, the history of governments' tendency to want to manage how government money is spent would likely crush the innovation that is needed — pushing and encouraging private schools to recoil further from innovation and the cutting edge, and thereby eliminating the laboratories for reform of education. That said, the appeal for a voucher system is a very secondary aspect of the book, and does not distract from the arguments, message, and information.

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Reflections on Integrity UPDATED + Integrity RECAP

All Reflections & Story Boards, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Cultural Intelligence, IO Sense-Making, Officers Call, Open Government, Reform
Amazon Books on Integrity

Updated 1 November 2012 to add core graphic: Graphic: Ethical Evidence-Based Decisions.  Updated 13 April 2012 to add new book: THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust.  Updated 8 March 2012 to add underlying philosophical reference: 2012-03-08 GOD MAN INTERVAL Reformatted & Linked.  Updated 6 December 2011 to add this seminal reference: Journal: Politics & Intelligence–Partners Only When Integrity is Central to Both.  Updated 3 October 2011 to add Steven Johnson and Werner Ekard contributions on integrity. Updated 1 October 2011 to add excuses from colleagues, and a riposte.

Robert David STEELE Vivas
Click Here to See Personal Page


1.  Integrity is not just about honor–it is about wholeness of view, completeness of effort, and accuracy or reliability of all of the elements of the whole.

2.  Industrial-Era Systems do not adapt because they lack integrity and continue to pay for doing the wrong things righter–the Pentagon is a classic example of such as system.

3.  In the 21st Century, intelligence, design, and integrity are the triad that matters most.  The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is the non-negotiable starting position for getting it right, and this is crucially important with respect to the sustainability of the Earth as a home for humanity.

Click on Image to Enlarge

4.  Integrity at the top requires clarity, diversity, and BALANCE–it makes no sense for a Secretary of Defense to continue to screw over the 4% that take 80% of the casualties, spending 80% of the Pentagon budget on the 20% that do not take casualties (occupants of really big expensive things that do not actually go into harm's way).

5.  Integrity can be compounded or discounted.  It is compounded when public understanding demands political accountability and flag officers ultimately understand that they have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, not support the chain of command.  It is discounted when flag officers are careerists, ascribe to rankism, and generally betray the public interest in favor of personal advancement.

6.  Integrity is ultimately a natural attribute of  large groups, and emerges from self-organizing over time.  The Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom is one example; the break-up of the Balkans another; the pending secession of Hawaii and Vermont from the United STATES of America a third.  Legitimate grievances give the aggrieved the moral high ground–this is a power no government can repress.

7.  Universal access to connectivity and content is a means of accelerating both public access to the truth, and the power of the public to off-set “rule by secrecy,” which inherently lacks integrity across the board.

EXCUSES most commonly heard:

1)  I work for the government, we serve the public, I consider myself part of the government, not part of the public, and indeed, choose not to vote or otherwise be active as a citizen.

2)  The public elects the politicians, they appoint the leadership, serving the chain of command is how one serves the public.


1)  Citizenship trumps occupational role.  Every employee is supposed to be a citizen first, a public servant second.  They swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution, that includes a responsibility to protect the public from predatory government actions – the recent assassination of a US citizen without due process is a reprehensible example of what happens with uniformed officers and civil servants become morally disengaged.

2)  Information asymmetries between the public and the government are such that a democracy demands whistle-blowers and open government.  Rule by secrecy is a form of tyranny, a means of avoiding accountability, and ultimately a clear and present danger to the Constitution, the Republic, and the public interest.  Because of their Oath, it can be said that government employees have a special responsibility to detect and confront fraud, waste, and abuse – and certainly to disobey and declare illegal orders and plans or programs inconsistent with the Constitution, such as wars not authorized by Congress, or assassinations not based on the rule of law.

In brief, all of our government employees have been “coping out” and failing to live up to their fullest potential as citizens and human beings.  To be silent and complacent is to be a slave, not a citizen.  Any employee of the government that fails to think about the Constitution and their role in defending the Constitution at every level on every day across every issue area, is failing to honor their Oath of office.

See Also:

2012 Manifesto for Truth: Expanding the Open Source Revolution (Evolver Editions, July 2012)

2010 The Ultimate Hack Re-Inventing Intelligence to Re-Engineer Earth (Chapter for Counter-Terrorism Book Out of Denmark)

2010: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Trilogy Updated

2010 INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

2009 Perhaps We Should Have Shouted: A Twenty-Year Restrospective

2008 World Brain as EarthGame

2008: Creating a Smart Nation

2008 ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig

2008 COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

2006 THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest

About: EarthGame and World Brain

Connecting the Dots: ALL of Them

DefDog: The Importance of Selection Bias in Statistics

Dr. Russell Ackoff on IC and DoD + Design RECAP

Election 2008 Chapter: The Substance of Governance

Graphic: Medard Gabel’s Cost of Peace versus War

Graphic: Tom Atlee on Whole-System Intelligence

Integrity is Essential

Open Source Agency: Executive Access Point

Paul Fernhout: Comments on Integrity at Scale

Reference: Cyber-Intelligence–Restore the Republic Of, By, and For…

Reference: Earth Intelligence Network Concept for Execution

Reference: Integrity–Without it Nothing Works

Reference: Integrity–Without it Nothing Works II

Reference: Russell Ackoff on Doing Right Things Righter

Reference: Strategic Analytic Model for Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

Review: Designing A World That Works For All

Review: Ideas and Integrities–A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure

Review: Knowledge As Design

Review: Reflexive Practice–Professional Thinking for a Turbulent World

Review: Rethink–A Business Manifesto for Cutting Costs and Boosting Innovation

Review: The Collapse of Complex Societies

Review: The Design of Business–Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage

Review: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management–Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century

Robert Garigue: Feedback for Dynamic System Change

Search: design thinking and public administratio

Search: holistic cybernetic integral

Search: whole earth models

Seven Promises to America–Who Will Do This?

Steven Howard Johnson: Integrity as a Profit Multiplier

Stuart Umpleby: Papers on Reflexivity, Soros Reviews

USA: Thirteen Big Lies — Needed Counter-Narrative

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: John N. Warfield

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Robert David STEELE Vivas

Who’s Who in Earth Intelligence: Medard Gabel

Who’s Who in Public Intelligence: Steven Howard Johnson

Worth a Look: Medard Gabel, EarthGame and More

Worth a Look: Systems Community of Inquiry

Reference (2010): Integrity–Without it Nothing Works II


Integrity – A New Model


Academic Paper in Progress

Werner Erhard and Professor Michael C. Jensen discuss their positive model of integrity that links integrity and personal and corporate performance. They address integrity in a developing academic paper, whose primary purpose is to present a positive model of integrity that provides a powerful access to increased performance for individuals, groups, organizations, and societies.

The creation of this model reveals a causal link between integrity and increased performance. Through the work of clarifying and defining what integrity is and it’s causal link to performance, this model provides access to increased performance for private individuals, executives, economists, philosophers, policy makers, leaders, legal and government authorities.

Phi Beta Iota: In late 2009 we pointed to a very important paper in Reference: Integrity–Without it Nothing Works.  That first posting focused on the US member of the two-person team doing all of this original work.  Now we focus on Werner Erhard, whose home page offers a rich combination of background plus a diversity of supporting sources.

Below are a handful of links, we strongly recommend deep attention to every aspect of the web site.  Integrity is a theme that runs through history and the work of, among others, Will Durant and Buckminster Fuller and Robert Steele.  These two authors,  Mssrs. Erhard and Jensen, better than anyone else in modern time, have articulated the pragmatic paradigmatic role that integrity plays in doing what Russell Ackoff calls “doing the right things” and Kent Myers calls “reflexive practice.

Dialogue with Werner H. Erhard and Michael C. Jensen. Integrity: Where Leadership Begins

“Beyond Coordination and Control Is… Transformation” –

Do Markets Need Integrity? – A Publication of the Yale School of Management

Integrity – A Business Conference – Photo Slide Presentation

Worth a Look: Systems Community of Inquiry

Worth A Look

The Systems Community of Inquiry is an open, worldwide network of individuals interested in systems thinking, the systems sciences and/or systems practice.

Inquiry is “an activity which produces knowledge” (Churchman, 1971).  We’re more than a community of interest, but less than a community of practice (Wenger, 1999).  Our interactions as a community will (i) foster interactions contributing knowledge and wisdom to the online world, and (ii) cultivate social relationships between systemicists.

Phi Beta Iota: With the publication of Reflexive Practice–Professional Thinking for a Turbulent World, Dr. Kent Myers has emerged as a trail-blazer reconnecting those active in this area with a larger body of thinkers focused on Collective Intelligence and Public Intelligence.  Their most recent intellectual forebearers are Russell Ackoff of Penn State University and John N. Warfield of George Mason University.  The latest post focuses on the role of negative feedback loops in creating social dysfunction.  Red light camaras, for example, have increased rear-end collisions at stop lights.

See Also:

Journal: Design Thinking for Government
Reference: Strategic Asymmetry–with Comment