Excerpt from Idealized Design: How to Dissolve Tomorrow’s Crisis…Today by Russell L. Ackoff, Jason Magidson and Herbert J. Addison: How Bell Labs Imagined — and Created — the Telephone System of the Future in the 1950s.
Great stuff and another example showing the obsession with “new” ideas is wasteful.
A simple idea, and a powerful one too. Ackoff always presents his ideas very well, in this book, and in many articles by Dr. Ackoff available online. I still remember Dr. Ackoff’s presenting this material at a Hunter conference years ago – great stuff.
We have got to restart by focusing on designing the whole and then designing parts that fit it rather than vice versa. Therefore, gentlemen, we are going to begin by designing the system with which we would replace the existing system right now if we were free to replace it with whatever system we wanted, subject to only two not-very-restrictive constraints.
Yes all the talk about this new idea called “innovation” is silly. But the truth is innovation is and has been important for a very long time. Ackoff’s books are a great source on how to innovate successfully as a company.