System Thinkers, Designers, Engineers and Leaders

"If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants"
Isaac Newton 15th February 1676 in letter to Robert Hooke.

Dr Don Berwick: A Doctor

Don Berwick (1946- ) is a doctor and long-time champion of safety and quality in healthcare. He co-founded the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in 1989 which ushered in the modern era of the Science of Improvement applied in a healthcare context. Here is a recent video of him demonstrating Deming's Red Bead Game and describing Deming's System of Profound Knowledge.

Peter Senge: A Systems Thinker

Peter Senge (1947- ) described Systems Thinking as the Fifth Discipline. This video outlines the principles of whole system design for long term survival.

Russell Ackoff: A Systems Thinker

The late Russell Ackoff (1919-2009) was one of the leading lights of Systems Thinking. This video of him being interviewed in 2001 reveals his deep insight into the principles of Improvement Science.

Jay Wright Forrester: Creator of System Dynamics

Jay Wright Forrester(1918- ), the originator of the concept of system dynamics (SD), realised that we are not biologically equipped to track the complex interdependencies of real systems over time. We find it difficult to explain past behaviour and even more difficult to predict future system behaviour. However, we are very good at developing tools to help extend our capabilities; flints, fire, levers, wheels, arches, machines, and computers. The tool we need here is one that allows us to explain and predict the behaviour of a real system accurately enough to be useful. That tool is called a system dynamics simulator.

Here is a rare archive video of Jay Forrester describing the Whirlwind computer that was developed by the US Navy and was used in 1951 to simulate system behaviour.

William Edwards Deming: A Quality Improvement Teacher

The late William Edwards Deming (1900-1993) helped the US to improve the productivity of their factories during WWII and then helped Japan rebuild their economy after WWII. This video of him being interviewed in 1984 reveals his Five Deadly Diseases of Management.

And this is the NBC documentary from June 1980 that launched Deming into the public eye and triggered the onset of the Quality Improvement movement and ultimately the Institute of Healthcare Improvement.