|New Year Greetings!
Good morning from the San Fernando Valley in southern California (home of our P.O. Box) and welcome to the our first 2010 edition of our newsletter, filled once again with good portions of thought-provoking features, all designed to keep our members thinking (about their thinking) and gaining insights on the actions that will follow.
Why settle for the prevailing style of thought?
Be a leader.
Improve your thinking about thinking.
As always, this edition was prepared monthly by volunteers of the In2:InThinking Network. Content comes from volunteers, in service to our fellow members. We invite you to further develop our network by sharing this newsletter with friends and colleagues.
Click either link below to submit the name(s) and email address(es) of anyone you would like to have added to this mailing list, or let us know if you would like to be removed.
In2:InThinking Network Newsletter Team
(Link here if you're having trouble reading this newsletter.)
PS - Don't forget to check out this month's special DVD special offer at the bottom of the newsletter.
|Welcome First Timers
has been added to our mailing list by virtue of your attendance in our series
of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Thinking Roadmap seminars, workshops, and overviews, or attendance at the
annual In2:InThinking Network Forum,
or through a personal request, from you or a friend. Welcome to our
|Looking Back...Looking Ahead... |
Since our last newsletter was released in November, in tribute to the late Russell Ackoff, we've seen the long-awaited first flight of Boeing's 787, also known as the "Dreamliner." If you missed it, or would value a reminder, follow these links to photos of the big day: 1, 2, landing, takeoff, and trio, more reminders that what goes up....often, but not always, comes down. Once again, it depends....on the context.
In another reminder of "what goes up....often comes down," Akio Toyoda, CEO of the Toyota Motor Corporation, grandson of founder Kiichiro Toyoda, has taken center stage in the evolving story of the fall from grace of the Toyota Production System. In 2003, BusinessWeek magazine featured one of its many cover stories on Toyota, this one titled Can Anything Stop Toyota? If not stopping, it appears that a system of causes have been steering Team Toyota away from a "true north" direction, wherein Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, former Chairman and President (1982-1999) of Toyota, accepted the American Society for Quality's 2005 Deming Medal by acknowledging "Every day I think about what he [Dr. Deming] meant to us. Deming is the core of our management."
Only time will tell if Team Toyota resorts to driving change with Quality Circles, Statistical Quality Control, Quality Function Deployment, Taguchi Methods, Total Quality Management, Six Sigma Quality, and other predecessors to the Toyota Production System (as well as TPS itself) for the solution to its problems, as its many competitors have since 1980. To quote Dr. Deming on his thoughts on Quality Circles;
"That's all window dressing. That's not fundamental. That's not getting at change and the transformation that must take place. Sure we have to solve problems. Certainly stamp out the fire. Stamp out the fire and get nowhere. Stamp out the fires puts us back to where we were in the first place. Taking action on the basis of results without theory of knowledge, without theory of variation, without knowledge about a system. Anything goes wrong, do something about it, overreacting; acting without knowledge, the effect is to make things worse. With the best of intentions and best efforts, managing by results is, in effect, exactly the same, as Dr. Myron Tribus put it, while driving your automobile, keeping your eye on the rear view mirror, what would happen? And that's what management by results is, keeping your eye on results."
Instead, a systemic focus on Management by Means
, as aptly defined by Tom Johnson, a 2-time Forum keynote speaker (2003
, and soon to be third-time in 2011
) could be part of
a solution to steer Team Toyoda back on track. For leaders, such as Akio Toyoda and all others within an organization who are not limited by classically (i.e., hierarchically) defined leadership roles, Dr. Deming would advise us to move beyond best efforts. A great source of insight into Dr. Deming's enduring philosophy and it's widespread applicability can be found in the Deming Video Library, a 32-volume set prepared by Clare Crawford-Mason and her husband, Bob Mason, in the 1980s. Links to buy discounted copies of 3 of these volumes follows below, as part of a regular discount offer to our members.
As we look ahead to 2010, we hope our newsletter and annual Forum, plus our partnership with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's monthly "Ongoing Discussions" sessions can be of great use to our community of leaders in provoking a better awareness of the difference between solutions which serve to rearrange the parts in the current system (reformation, per Russ Ackoff) or a movement to focus on the interactions between the parts of the system (transformation, per Russ). At issue is not the value proposition of a timely rearrangement of the parts, but an awareness that these recurring solutions do not create a transformation in how we understand sub-systems, variation, people, knowledge, and their multiple interactions. The aim of our Network is to foster conversations among our members about the potential of such a transformation focus and provide peer guidance on how effective leaders manage interactions and resources as well.
|Our 2009 Forum Scholarships|
|The In2:InThinking Network's Forum Team is dedicated to designing and delivering an annual event which allows our members to come together for an extended weekend of compelling conversation about better possibilities for thinking together, learning together, and working together in our respective organizations. Through our team work with members, including presenters, and a growing list of Partners InThinking, we can do so at a modest fee. For those who are nonetheless challenged in meeting the resulting expenses, we have a proud tradition of awarding various kinds of scholarship assistance to bring some individuals to our Annual Forum who might not otherwise be able to attend, or who perhaps would not be aware of our Network. Initially, as a starting point, our Board of Directors granted one or two scholarships each year to cover the registration fee of needy attendees. Since that time, we have expanded our scholarship efforts with the introduction of the Oscar Mink and Van Bowen Scholarships, started in 2004 to honor both colleagues after their untimely deaths.
Later, in 2006, we established the Russell L. Ackoff Scholarship, which is funded annually by a donation from Metalex Manufacuring, in Cincinnati, Ohio, whose founder and president, Werner Kummerle, is a great admirer of Russ Ackoff and our efforts as well. In 2007, we had the good fortune to establish yet another annual scholarship, the Community Service Scholarship, funded by Spincraft, from North Billerica, Massachusetts. In the spirit of team work, Len Paolillo, Spincraft's President, established this scholarship "to help develop and advance connections between the Network and individuals doing important work in their communities."
In 2008, we sought additional scholarship funding from friends of our Network, both new and old, to create our Student Scholarships. We applaud the leadership several anonymous donors in funding this effort. In 2009, we added our latest scholarship, the W. Edwards Deming Scholarship, funded by our "Louisville Slugger" friends at Hillerich & Bradsby in Louisville, Kentucky.
Given the support of our donors, in 2009 we were able to host the scholarship recipients listed below;
Emma Langman - Russell L. Ackoff Scholarship
Emma joined us from Knutsford, England, where she is a self-employed consultant, specializing in systems thinking.
Margaret Benavides and
and Vanesa Geiberger - Community Service Scholarship
Margaret and Vanesa are both actively engaged in community improvement efforts in greater Los Angeles, and are committed to extending the reach of our Network through their involvement on our 2010 Forum Team.
Luis Carbajo, Ben Harati, Carina Howell, and Richard Morgan - Student Scholarship
Justin Bailey, Simon Rigdon, Hilary Schnirring, and Leah Yablong - W. Edwards Deming Scholarship
|Partner InThinking - Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada |
|In this edition, we introduce the Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada, a recent addition to our growing list of Partners InThinking. |
The Facts: YSEC was founded by six individuals: Anshula, Assaf, Eyal, Lulwa, Maya and Nogah, who came together to address common frustrations felt by young organizers trying to improve the world. Within our individual experiences, we saw that every other youth group we met faced the same hardships as we had faced: sparse professional guidance, no community of peers or business education, team troubles, little access to funding, lack of legitimacy, and so on. We soon realized these hardships were systematic; they arose from a lack of supportive infrastructure.The Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada was our response to this. Drawing on the lessons learned from our parent organization, Project Equity and other projects we were involved in, we set out to research and reach out to youth-led initiatives and find out what were the biggest challenges and roadblocks they faced. The resulting program that we have developed is our answer to this year and a half of development and planning. Our goal is to support youth organizers and youth-led groups in creating social enterprises. Our vision is to make social change a viable career option for extraordinary youth.
Follow this link to find the continuation of this profile, including news on YSEC's re: Vision 2010 conference, set for March 27th-28th.
|Gipsie Ranney - Gooooooooooooooooooals!|
|A year ago, Gipsie Ranney, a former Forum keynote speaker (2008), a pre-conference presenter in 2010, as well as a noted Deming Scholar, provided us with material for a blog entry on the ever-relevent topic of "stretch goals." Fortunately, this topic is not one to decay over time. Nonetheless, we regret presenting it a few months late....well past our goal. |
According to Gipsie; "A friend and I have carried on a conversation for several years about so-called "stretch" goals. We both had the privilege to learn from W. Edwards Deming and we knew well his dislike of arbitrary numerical goals, usually imposed by management and often unaccompanied by the resources needed to achieve them. One of Deming's favorite questions was, "By what method?" He would say, "If you knew how to do it, you should have been doing it last year; you must have been goofing off." When my friend brought up the issue of leaders using stretch goals, I would respond negatively, thinking that this was a bad thing for any executive or leader to do. However, in the past decade my friend has seen one charismatic leader use stretch goals to apparent benefit in mobilizing groups of professionals to accomplish remarkable improvements. Recently, I decided to revisit the issue."
Follow this link to the read the remainder of Gipsie's first blog entry with us.....with many more to follow, and way more timely.
|Lew Rhodes - Serious Thinking About Thinking|
|In September 2007, we were treated to our first monthly column from Shel Rovin, professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business school, and a dear friend of our Network efforts. Shel's column topics included "On Education," as well as a 5-part series on the topic of "What Organizations Might Learn From Nature." |
In the spirit of keeping our readers "thinking about thinking," Lew Rhodes, an Ongoing Discussion Thought Leader from 2008 and a Forum presenter in 2010, has accepted an offer to continue the column that Shel started. With Shel's help, we call it "Transforming OurSpace Using Thinker's Thoughts." Look for Lew's first entry in our March edition and then make plans to meet him at our Forum in April.
|UK Deming Forum - May 11-13|
As you look for conferences to attend in 2010, here's one to consider for our U.K. members, as well as others looking for a mindful getaway to the U.K. Our Partners InThinking with the U.K. Deming Forum have confirmed plans for their annual Forum from May 11th - 13th in Wyboston Lakes. With a theme of "Out of the Crisis...Back to the Future," we invite you to follow this link
to their website to learn more. And, don't be surprised to see Tony Heald in attendance. Tony is the Artist in Residence
for this event and his work includes the image to the left. He also served as our 2003 Forum Artist
|Closing Thot...A Tale of Two Disasters|
|On July 25, 2000, 113 people were killed when an Air France Concorde crashed on take-off in Paris. On October 12, 1999, an attack on the USS Cole in Yemen resulted in the death of 17 sailors. In keeping with the never-say-die approach to finding root cause and laying blame on one aspect of a system of causes, lawyers for Air France and Continental Airlines will soon argue the Corcorde crash in the best sense of Edward de Bono's book, "I am Right, You Are Wrong." At stake is whether or not Continental Airlines is responsible for a titanium strip left on the runway by a departing Continental plane. Air France lawyers will claim that this stake pierced a Concorde tire, beginning a rapid chain of events that solely caused the crash, leading to blame of Continental. |
As for the Captain of the USS Cole, Kirk Lippold, a lengthy Pentagon investigation, resulting in a 1600-page report, found him to be amongst the root causes of the bombing, along with the suicide bombers, Osama bin Laden, and, according to a NYTimes article, "many shortcomings in training, intelligence, equipment and security support" in the Yemeni port of Aden. In referencing the report, Secretary of Defense William Cohen acknowledged the role of "collective blame." In the spirit of seeing root causes, he added, ''I think that we have pointed out that we didn't do all that needed to be done." His "we" included "the chain of command, all the way from the central commander, right up through to the secretary of the Navy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and myself."
The tale of retired Captain Lippold does not end here, as the world remains divided on his primary or contributing role in the protection of the USS Cole.
For those eager to move beyond the limitations of root cause solutions (and blame of individuals), you are invited to attend a pre-conference seminar at our upcoming Forum, one led by Cade Wilson on the topic of "Cause(s) of Confusion: Beyond Root Cause Analysis." Join in and become part of the cure, not the disease, for moving organizations to better appreciate the root causes of root cause analyses.
|2010 Forum Title and Presenters Confirmed - Registration Coming Soon|
|Our Forum Team is pleased to announce the title for our 2010 Forum -
"Juggling Roles, Goals, and Context...In2 Harmony"
We are also pleased to announce that all of our conference speakers have been confirmed as well. Our 13-member guest list includes: Nancy Abrams, Doug Adams, Annie Barron, Doug Busch, Elaine Johnson, David Langford, Scott Lennox, Debra Lewis, Joel Primack, Lew Rhodes, Robin Solomon, Peter Stonefield, and Felix Tarasenko.
Additional details on the conference presentations, plus 13 pre-conference sessions on April 15th and 16th and 7 post-conference sessions on April 19th and 20th. Link here for details on all 20 sessions, all offered without any fee to attend, other than your time and energy.
The opening of our new online registration system will follow later this week. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about registration or our 6-day program.
|2010 Forum - Logistics and Pricing|
|Mark your calendars and follow this link to find details for our 2010 Forum. As for location, we'll be in Los Angeles, on the west side the San Fernando Valley. As for pricing, the registration fee for this 6-day event will be $400, with a $50 discount on registrations made on or before March 25th. This price includes all of our pre- and post-conference seminars and workshops, plus all conference presentations and activities, materials, and meals (dinner on Friday, continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, and lunch and dinner on Saturday).
We will also continue a tradition we started on 2007 of offering a discounted registration price of $200 for students in home school, public schools, colleges, or universities who are not employed in full-time positions and, therefore, are in greater need of financial assistance among all of our student attendees. It is for these special need students that we have allocated funding, provided through private donations as well as through our annual Forum Raffle and Silent Auction events.
|Ongoing Discussion Preview|
|Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's February Ongoing Discussion will feature photographer, film maker, and student of creativity, Norman Seeff, as the second Thought Leader of the year on March 1st and 2nd (formerly February 25th and 26th).|
Follow this link to register now.
Follow this link to a YouTube clip of one of Norman's many "Sessions Projects" interviews that form the basis of his mode of the creative process. This session features one and only Ray Charles.
The formal "OD" announcement for Norman's appearance will be released on or before February 22nd.
And, if you missed the January OD sessions with Gipsie Ranney, or would like to listen to them again, the audio files from these sessions are posted on our website at this link.
|Check out the Ackoff Center Blog for the latest updates on plans for a Memorial Service for Russ Ackoff, set for February 12th and 13th at the University of Pennsylvania.|
In addition, follow this link to download the mp3 files from our "OD" sessions with "Friends of Russ" in December 2009.
You might also be interested in a reading a 2002 interview with Russ, with topics ranging the role of business schools to how they need to do to change. As to the first, he replied "When I retired from Wharton, I wrote an article which endeared me to the faculty. The question was, "What are the contributions of business education?" I said there were three:
The first was to equip students with a vocabulary that enables them to talk authoritatively about subjects they do not understand.
The second was to give students principles that would demonstrate their ability to withstand any amount of disconfirming evidence.
The third was to give students a ticket of admission to a job where they could learn something about management."
In addition to the December 2009 OD with Friends of Russ, link here
to Russ's appearance as a Thought Leader in 2008 and here
to his 2009 appearance.
|2009 Forum DVD|
|For the seventh year in a row, we contracted with Kid Flix, the after-school video services team at Placerita Junior High School in nearby Valencia, CA to videotape the entire (weekend) conference portion of our 2009 Forum. Once again, the Kid Flix "CREW" was led by Paul Kass in recording the conference footage and the resulting videos converted into our final DVD package by Dave Nave & Associates. The package of 10 presentations, plus the performance of the after-dinner jazz quartet, The Steve Davidson Group, sells for $150. To order the 2009 DVD set, as well as packages from 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, follow the link from the DVD image above.
We are also soliciting sponsors to underwrite the production costs of our 2010 Forum DVD set. Contact Bill Bellows for details on how to place your logo on our DVDs in exchange for a donation.
|Donate to the In2:IN|
|Our Network efforts are enabled day-by-day, month-by-month, and year-by-year by civic-minded volunteers whose contributions include a passion for making a difference, coupled with ideas, time and energy. Together, we are working, learning, and thinking about how we can foster and inspire "better thinking for a better future" and what this effort enables individuals and organizations of all shapes and sizes to do differently. |
Contributions to our Network also include financial support from our members, coupled with the proceeds of our annual Forum. Towards this end, please consider contributing a tax-deductible donation to the In2:InThinking Network, which is charted as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation can be towards our general fund (to support the website and newsletter), or towards scholarships and financial assistance of future attendees of our annual Forum.
|Contact Bill Bellows for additional information on how to contribute.|