“Gentlemen, the telephone system of the United States was destroyed last night.”
—CEO of Bell Laboratories
Idealized design is a way of thinking about change that is deceptively simple to state: In solving problems of virtually any kind, the way to get the best outcome is to imagine what the ideal solution would be and then work backward to where you are today. This ensures that you do not erect imaginary obstacles before you even know what the ideal is.
Nothing better illustrates the power of this idea in action than the experience that one of the authors, Russell L. Ackoff, had many years ago. The experience both enlightened him and proved to him that the idea could facilitate profound change in a major corporation. ...