A memorial service was held on the 12th February for our dear friend Russel L Ackoff in Philadelphia. Bo Ekman was asked to speak at the ceremony but could - alas - not go because of the snow storms. This text was read in the church.
Bo Ekman's contribution at the Memorial service for Russel L. Ackoff
- First Citizen of Freedonia –
My relationship to Russ has been one of continuous liberation.
His thinking and way of educating me to think has forced a never ending process of freeing myself from my baggage of unclarity. That precious moment, when you get a glimpse of truth.
In order to stay with truth you needed to talk to and read Russ again and again. To take yourself out of the tempting concessions to pragmatism, that is: to stay bonded to the conventional wisdoms that constitute the modus operandi of any establishment - academic, political, social or economic.
Russ forced me, gently, to become truer to myself and more honest in the face of the real problems to be solved; be it the design of a motor car or of a transport system, a social community or even of global governance.
Russ taught me - us - that the pursuit of integrity is an ever lasting, never ending process.
Achieving truth is achieving freedom.
Russ gave me the courage to understand that truth is more important than social bondings. He gave me the courage to again and again venture out into the mess, not staying in the comfort of structures and bureaucracies.
Russ is the leader who walked in the first row and gave the example. He broke his faculty out of the confinement of the university bureaucracy. He taught us how to adopt a highway.
Russ was a great humanist. He inspired me from my early academic years on.
He gave me invaluable gifts: belief in myself, understanding of systems thinking and the power of conversations.
His spirit permeates since 30 years the Tällberg Foundation, to which he came when circumstances allowed.
He was also the first recipient of its Leadership Award for Principled Pragmatism.
Russel Ackoff – a great man. His spirit will change the world. He taught me that achieving truth is achieving freedom.
He is a citizen of Freedonia.