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System Dynamics Society
Milne 300, Rockefeller College
135 Western Avenue
University at Albany
Albany, NY 12222 USA

Phone: +1 (518) 442-3865
FAX: +1 (518) 442-3398

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The System Dynamics Society is open to all individuals. Membership includes a subscription to The System Dynamics Review. It is simple to become a member.

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The Society’s annual international conference is held alternately in North America and Europe, with occasional appearances in Asia and the Pacific Rim. These conferences, and the meetings of local chapters and interest groups… (read on)

SD Conference

2015, July 19 – 23, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA


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The System Dynamics Case Repository is a collection of consulting projects since 1990 that have used System Dynamics as their primary methodology. A capsule summary of each case is provided, and many have links to full articles. Submit your own — help us build this important resource for the SD community!

About the Society

The System Dynamics Society is an international, nonprofit organization devoted to encouraging the development and use of System Dynamics and systems thinking around the world. With members in seventy countries, the Society provides a forum in which researchers, educators, consultants, and practitioners in the corporate and public sectors interact to introduce newcomers to the field, keep abreast of current developments, and build on each other’s work. What is System Dynamics?


Send us your news at The SD Career Link page has several recently posted job listings. Please take a look!

Enterprise Architecture and System Dynamics

Strategy Dynamics is pleased to announce a practice-and-research collaboration with Chinese Culture University of Taiwan into the opportunity for System Dynamics to contribute to Enterprise Architecture (the mapping of organisational processes and capabilities as a platform for enterprise-wide information-systems planning – for more on the topic, see the Open Group, a network of global organisations collaborating on EA).

A summary slide-show on the connection we will be exploring is at A video of the announcement is at Segments of a lecture to an Enterprise Architecture conference in Taipei on the EA<>SD linkages are in a playlist at Essentially, EA focuses on descriptive mapping of an organisation’s business processes, while SD builds working models of the system itself, on which those processes act – so combining the two should be both possible and valuable, especially to the IS/IT community.

Kim Warren of Strategy Dynamics Ltd states “We are delighted to be working with Professors Simon Lu and Min-Ren Yan and Dr. Lesly Lin at CCU’s School of Continuing Education on this.” For enquiries please write to

The Forrester Seminar Series on System Dynamics

Professor Jay W. Forrester, founder of the field of System Dynamics, led a seminar series for PhD students in the fall of 1999 on the topic of System Dynamics. Taking place at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, the 11 part series was videotaped. Each three-hour session covers a different stand-alone topic. Please preview Session A: What is System Dynamics. The entire video series is available for purchase with an accompanying CD containing suggested readings for each session. Those who are applying System Dynamics in business and social situations will find the series useful in broadening and deepening their understanding of the field. For more information on the series, please visit the website. To purchase the series, please contact the System Dynamics Society at

Calling All System Dynamicists!

We invite you to participate in our workshop “Modeling Psychological and Sociological Dynamics” on Thursday July 23, 2015 at the System Dynamics Society Conference in Cambridge.

Register for the conference and attend the workshop —

Led by Psychology Interest Group Co-Chairs Pascal Gambardella (a physicist) and David Lounsbury (a psychologist), we hope to provide you with unique insights into using psychological and sociological concepts (e.g., motivation, trust, morale, customer satisfaction, and burnout) as variables in system dynamics models.

Some people are skeptical about using these concepts in models and have labeled them as “soft” or “intangible.” They question whether these concepts can be measured or quantified. Yet these concepts can be essential for a model to properly address its objective or purpose. Come and learn how to integrate such variables into your models in useful, defensible ways.

We invite you to participate in our workshop as we describe the process (complete with activity diagram and decision tree) of transforming a psychological and/or sociological concept into a variable. We illustrate the detailed mechanics of building a model with these variables, and also discuss how to validate both the variables and the model.

Where else, but in our workshop, can you hear a discussion of Hamlet, the Stanford prison experiment, the Milgram experiment, burnout, family in crisis over care of a sick child, dynamics of HIV prevention and care, and riots? In addition, we have compiled a comprehensive literature search and used the resulting information to create the workshop, developed an associated annotated bibliography, and collected and generated example models in Vensim and iThink/Stella (see the conference website for our workshop materials).

Questions? Please e-mail Pascal Gambardella: and David Lounsbury: Hope to see you on July 23rd!

Third Symposium Held by the Brazil Chapter

The Brazil Chapter will hold its 3rd Symposium on October 16-17, 2015, in São Paulo. The Call for Papers is now available. On Friday, October 16, there will be presentations and discussions focusing on papers submitted. Submissions of applied work in progress are encouraged. On Saturday, October 17, there will be a full-day workshop with Karim Chichakly and Andy Ford, engaging stakeholders and clients in applied modeling. The instructors will share their experiences and facilitate thread-based discussions aimed at promoting the impact and quality of ongoing and potential applications. The threads will be chosen based upon submissions, and the interests of modelers and model users in attendance. Submissions in Portuguese are welcome, but it may be advantageous to the authors to submit their papers in English. Please send email submission summaries (600-800 words) to by July 6.

Jay Forrester is the topic of an article published this week in the MIT Technology Review. The article, titled “The Many Careers of Jay Forrester,” explains how a young boy, born and raised on a Nebraska farm, went on to develop magnetic-core memory and founded the field of System Dynamics. Forrester’s long and distinguished career is chronicled in this article, with sections devoted to the many occupations and roles he has had. Ranch hand, military engineer, computing pioneer, Lincoln Lab division leader, management theorist, educator, and social analyst are just some of the titles used to describe Forrester’s many careers. If you would like to learn more about Jay’s life, a great article by David Lane can be found in your System Dynamics Review, in the article “The Power of the Bond Between Cause and Effect: Jay Wright Forrester and the field of system dynamics.” Anyone interested in learning more about the life and achievements of Jay Forrester and the growth System Dynamics will find these articles to be worth the read.  

Society to Collapse by 2040?

A recent article in the Mint Press News, “Society to Collapse by 2040 Due to Catastrophic Food Shortages, Environmental Disaster,” explains how industrial civilization will cease to exist if the current course of events is not altered. The article is based on new scientific models supported by the British government’s Foreign Office but the scientists who conducted the study maintain that the models are not predictive as they do not include any reaction from people to the crises. The topic of sustainability is also found in the book 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by Society member Jorgen Randers. Published in 2012, Randers’s book draws on his experience in the sustainability arena as well as input from numerous experts to synthesize a prediction of what the world will look like in 2052. From population and consumption to energy and ecosystems, 2052 provides an in depth analysis of what lies ahead and what we all can do.

System Dynamics Society Applications Award

Nominations are open for the System Dynamics Society Applications Award, presented for the best full-length paper describing a “real world” application of System Dynamics. Award details may be found on the Society website. To nominate a paper, please send the paper or a citation and your comments in support to Brad Morrison at Nominations will close on June 30. The list of past winners includes:

  • 2013: John Sterman, Thomas Fiddaman, Travis Franck, Andrew Jones, Stephanie McCauley, Philip Rice, Elizabeth Sawin and Lori Siegel
    “Climate Interactive: the C-ROADS Climate Policy Model”
  • 2011: Jack Homer, Kristina Wile, Gary Hirsch, Justin Trogdon, Amanda Honeycutt, Bobby Milstein, Diane Orenstein and Lawton Cooper
    “Prevention Impacts Simulation Model (PRISM) for Chronic Disease Policymaking”
  • 2009: Kenneth Cooper and Gregory Lee
    “Application of System Dynamics: Managing the Dynamics of Projects and Changes at Fluor”
  • 2007: Vince Barabba, Chet Huber, Fred Cooke, Nick Pudar, Jim Smith, and Mark Paich
    “A Multimethod Approach for Creating New Business Models: The General Motors OnStar Project”

SD Career Link Bulletin Board

During the conference the SD Career Link Bulletin Board will be available. The Bulletin Board provides an opportunity for businesses and organizations to post information and connect with the conference audience: clients, students and interested persons. The Bulletin Board will highlight company profiles that describe how System Dynamics fits into the organization, as well as current job opening for people with System Dynamics expertise. For a preview, please visit the SD Career Link page. If your organization is not listed, please taking advantage of this opportunity to post a company profile and/or career information. Many companies will have a representative/attendee at the conference making this a great networking opportunity.

Schedule Update for 1st Mediterranean Conference

Plenary sessions at the System Dynamics Italian Chapter / 1st Mediterranean Conference on Food Supply and Distribution Systems in Urban Environments will include:

  • Planetary issues and Food Systems meeting Urban Food Needs
  • Inclusive and Resilient Food Supply
  • Distribution Systems Meeting Urban Food Needs
  • Complex systems approaches to manage Food Systems Meeting Urban Food Needs
  • Cities and Policies for better FSDS Meeting Urban Food Needs.

For further details on the program including parallel sessions, workshops, meetings and other events please visit the website.

Along with program and organizing chair, Stefano Armenia, the organizing team includes Olivio Argenti, Andrea Furlan, Alberto Atzori, Vanessa Armendariz, Valerio Ciuffini, and Eleanor Piacenza. The Sapienza University of Rome will serve as the host of the conference. For further information, you can contact the SYDIC organizing team at the following email addresses: and The conference will take place in Rome from July 6-7, 2015.

New eBook on Systems Thinking

A new eBook, Systems Thinking: An Enabler for Innovation by Dr. Thomas Gannon and Dr. Jamie Monat of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is available for download from WPI’s website. The book focuses on how systems thinking can be used in the development of innovative products and services that fuel business growth. In a global economy as technology increases complexity, companies must compete while doing more with less. This eBook will provide companies with a strategic competitive advantage by using systems thinking.

What Students Are Up To

See what System Dynamics students are doing! A new webpage on the conference site highlights student papers scheduled for presentation at the upcoming System Dynamics Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to be held July 19 – 23, 2015. Please take a moment to read through the important works of these hard-working students. (If you are a student with an accepted paper that does not appear in this list please contact the Society). To learn more about System Dynamics Society student events, please visit the Student Chapter Website and LinkedIn Group. To help support students to attend the conference, please consider donating today to our Conference Scholarship Fund.

Member Hazhir Rahmandad’s course ‘Research Seminar in System Dynamics’ Now Online

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is now offering the course Research Seminar in System Dynamics as part of its OpenCourseWare. This doctoral level seminar in System Dynamics modeling provides background on classic works in dynamic modeling as well as current research problems and papers. With a focus on social, economic and technical systems, participants will learn to critique theories and models. The course was originally taught in the spring of 2014 by Professor Hazhir Rahmandad. MIT OpenCourseWare, founded in 1999, provides free and open materials online from the MIT curriculum.

Professor Khalid Saeed Discusses the System Dynamics Approach to Economics In his most recent paper, “Jay Forrester’s operational approach to economics,” (System Dynamics Review Volume 30, Issue 4) Khalid Saeed discusses the importance of Forrester’s contribution to the field. Instead of focusing on rational agency, Forrester bases his economic models on managerial roles and policies that relate to everyday decisions. Saeed believes that System Dynamics does not have a specific take on economics, saying that it is a neutral methodology that can be used to model any concept. The paper is not about one specific model built by Forrester, but instead explains how his approach is different from mainstream economic practices. Economists wishing to operationalize the field, managers and policy makers dealing with firms, regions and nations, and those wishing to learn about Forrester’s work in general will all find the paper to be worth the read! Please watch the video as Professor Saeed talks about this work.

Agile SD – fast, reliable, effective

This workshop will be taught by Kim Warren.

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Join us on the Workshop day to discover the “agile” approach to building reliable models, fast, with teams. This will be a very ‘hands-on’ session.

Anyone about to start out with system dynamics modelling, or recently started, may worry about how to get – and keep! – their audience engaged in the process, and whether the effort will produce a valuable result. Standard recommended approaches take too long, and are too uncertain in their outcome, so this workshop will give you a strong capability that will instill confidence, both for yourself and those you are helping.

Experienced modelers can also benefit, by comparing this alternative method to their current approaches, and assessing the opportunity that may exist to deliver better results more efficiently.

Getting started with the 2015 version of Sysdea browser modeling app.

This workshop will be taught by Kim Warren.

Register for the conference and attend the workshop —

System dynamics models are complex (!) so you need the greatest possible ease-of-use and the clearest-possible presentation of what a model is doing and why. Beginners in particular need the lowest possible barriers to getting started with building good models.

Sysdea is a browser-based software, based on principles that aid fast and reliable models. Time-charts on every object, and time-series for both actual (or desired) and simulated values, plus a non-technical interface, allow anyone to be building models very fast, and with much less chance of errors – if the lines don’t match, there’s a problem! Participants from K-12 schools, colleges and Universities will see plans for simple institutional access to Sysdea, and how this will help manage the modeling for whole classes.

The 2015 version has been entirely rebuilt, to add speed and reliability to this ease-of-use, so that more demanding features can be added without compromising power. We will show you how to use the basic elements and mechanisms of the software, along with some of its more advanced features, such as intuitive user-defined functions and powerful sub-models.

Getting Started with Powersim Studio

Powersim Studio covers all your needs when building simulations, running in-depth analyses, risk analyses, and optimizations.

Studio has 223 built-in functions, MS Excel and database connectivity, the most complete unit handling on the market, native complex application design tools including embedded html, sophisticated debugging and run time diagnostics, context sensitive help, and more.

Studio also has the ability to build your own functions, especially useful for hybrid modeling. The workshop will introduce you Studio’s interactive development environment (IDE), self-training opportunities, the user community, best practices, and more.

The workshop will be taught by Len Malczynski, Group Moderator of the Powersim Tools User Group on Yahoo. The group has been operating since December 2003 and has 600+ members.

If you do not already run Studio, please download a copy at and visit the User Group at

See you in Cambridge.

Forrester Seminar Series Screenings begin June 8th in Albany

The Albany System Dynamics Group will be screening the Forrester Seminar Series over the summer break. On Monday, June 8th, we begin with the first half of Session A – “What is System Dynamics.” Join us on the UAlbany Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany NY 12222–Room BB 368 (that is the new School of Business building) at 5:00 PM. We will watch together and have an informal discussion afterwards. The suggested readings will be made available for attendees. For more information, please contact Eliot Rich at

Forrester Seminar Series on System Dynamics

Professor Jay W. Forrester, the founder of the field
Jay Forrester is Professor of Management at the Sloan School of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is founder of the field of system dynamics. Beginning in 1946, Forrester directed the MIT Digital Computer Laboratory, which built whirlwind, the first digital computer, at MIT. He invented random-access, coincident-current, magnetic memory which launched the era of reliable digital computers. Later, at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, he directed development and installation of the SAGE system for North American air defense. Forrester has pioneered the use of system dynamics in management education, applications to social systems, and more recently, system dynamics as a foundation for a more relevant pre-college education from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Seminar Information
Professor Jay Forrester, in the fall of 1999, conducted a seminar series for Ph.D. students in system dynamics. Each of the eleven three-hour sessions is devoted to a different stand-alone topic, which should be of benefit to any student or practitioner in the field. The series is not a progressive tutorial for learning system dynamics, but covers related concepts and philosophy.

In an educational setting, these sessions can be used as assignments, to be viewed in preparation for a follow-up class discussion. Those who are applying system dynamics in business and social situations should find these sessions useful in broadening their understanding of the field.

Session Descriptions:

Session A: What is System Dynamics?
Professor Jay W. Forrester discusses how system dynamics started with a history beginning just before World War II. The students ask about mental models, kinds of feedback, and the relationship between system dynamics and cybernetics.

Beer game at Technical Univeristy of Denmark

During the 28 and 29 of May, a System Dynamics workshop was held at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), located in Lyngby, north of Copenhagen. In this activity, the classic beer game was played, and the assistants got the chance of experiencing the need for understanding structure which drives nonlinear behavior. Additionally, lectures and group activities introduced PhD students and researchers from DTU and the University of Aalborg to the basic tools for systems thinking and System Dynamics modeling. The sessions were led by Prof. Christian Erik Kampmann, MIT PhD and professor of the Copenhagen Business School, Prof. Josef Oehmen, PhD and professor form the department of Management Engineering at DTU, as well as Daniel Sepulveda, System Dynamics Society member and PhD student at DTU.

The Creative Learning Exchange (CLE) Hosts DynamiQueST again at WPI

The CLE and the Boston Area Systems Thinking Educators put on the eighth DynamiQueST, an exposition of K-12 student learning on Friday, May 29th with the support of the WPI System Dynamics Program. The day featured 21 students presenting projects to expert system dynamicists and knowledgeable K-12 teachers as well as their peers. A rendition of the Infection Game (see CLE website) was run with liquid in cups for the whole group and the afternoon session featured a guided group discussion run by a dear friend of K-12, George Richardson, featuring a NY Times article about the unintended consequences of the distribution of mosquito nets to prevent malaria.

Innovation Academy, a school with System Dynamics in their charter, brought multiple groups of students and was joined by students from the Lawrence Elementary (K-8) School in Brookline, MA. The project titles included: Fish Banks Policy Project, Population Growth and Energy Efficient Innovation; The Simplicity of Catapults, A Taste of Hollywood: Expressing Character Development and Theme with the Support of Systems Thinking Tools; American Revolution: Causes and Reflections; Systems of Rome; Rocket Modeling Project; and Solar Oven Modeling Project.

Mentoring in Health Modeling

Are you looking for a mentor or mentee as you develop models in areas of health policy, population health, health care delivery and related fields? The Health Policy SIG of the System Dynamics Society believes that mentoring can improve the work of everyone involved. With that in mind, a new process is being offered by the Health Policy SIG to match mentors and mentees with similar interests. If you would like a mentor or are looking to serve as a mentor, please contact by June 10 with the following:

  • Your name and contact information, at least your e-mail address and any other means of communicating such as Skype address;
  • Whether or not you are planning on attending this year’s ISDC in Cambridge, MA;
  • For mentees, the problem or area in which you are working and need help;
  • For potential mentors, areas in which you are interested in and feel qualified to serve as a mentor. Let us know if you are willing to mentor multiple people or only one;
  • For both, any other information you feel would be useful (e.g., preferred modeling software).

The Brown School Social System Design Lab Will Host the Changing Systems Student Summit on Racism in June

The Brown School’s Social System Design Lab (SSDL) at Washington University in St. Louis is hosting a 3-day Student Summit that will use systems thinking/systems dynamics tools to address issues pertaining to structural racism in the St. Louis region. The Summit will bring together approximately 120 students from over 14 local school districts to engage in conversations about how to create social change from a systems perspective. The event is being designed and led by a group of 12 high school interns at the the Brown School’s SSDL. Megan Odenthal will be the Program Coordinator for this initiative. Megan is a graduate of the Brown School MSW program with the System Dynamics Specialization and Gephardt Civic Scholar with a background in youth development. The Changing Systems Student Summit on Racism in June is the result of longstanding commitments in St. Louis to systems thinking by the Waters Foundation, Ritenour School District, and Boeing.

Teaching Students to Create Original Models in a Ten-Week Course

This workshop will be taught by Diana Fisher.

Register for the conference and attend the workshop —

If you have wanted to include a System Dynamics (SD) model-building component in your course that can include having student teams build small original SD models, write short technical papers explaining their models, and present their models to the class, this workshop could get you started. Those SD concepts, the sequence of concepts, and suggestions for assessments, that have been successfully used for a number of years in environmental modeling classes that are 10-weeks in duration will be presented and discussed.

The workshop is appropriate for professionals in any discipline, but is aimed more directly at those who are in an instructional/academic setting.

Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling for Math and Science Instruction: Online Professional Development Opportunity

This workshop will be taught by Diana Fisher.

Register for the conference and attend the workshop —

If you are looking for a sequence of online courses that provide a gentle introduction to System Dynamics (SD) modeling, and you are a math or science instructor (of students ages 15 – 20+), you will find this workshop instructive. Samples of the instructional videos, samples of participant & student lessons, and a display of the general organization of each session for the first course will be presented. The examples and lessons are directly related to mathematics and science concepts. For those professionals in other disciplines, who are comfortable reading graphs and have average comfort with algebra concepts (linear, exponential, oscillatory behavior) these courses would be appropriate, with one caveat. The examples and lessons are specifically designed for math and science so application to your area would have to be your own task.

These courses provide extensive hands-on model building activities for the participants that can then be modified (or used as-is) for their students. The model-building lessons have been tested in a classroom setting.

The three courses are:

  1. Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling for Math and Science Instructors: Course 1: Basic Models (Course starts June 22, 2015)
    For more information and to register go to:;
  2. Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling for Math and Science Instructors: Course 2: More Advanced Models;
  3. System Dynamics Modeling: A Different Way to Think: Course 3: Building Original Models from the News.

Calling All System Dynamicists! We need you to run World Climate before the UN Climate talks in Paris.

Join John Sterman, Drew Jones, Florian Kapmeier, and partners of Climate Interactive for a one-day training in Cambridge, MA at the System Dynamics Society Conference – Thursday Workshop Day (July 23) to learn to lead the World Climate Exercise, a mock UN climate negotiation backed by the C-ROADS System Dynamics model used at the actual UN climate negotiations.

Register for the conference and attend the workshop —

Check out this short video of World Climate ( being led at MIT by John Sterman.

Be part of the movement that won the recent System Dynamics Society Award for Best Application of System Dynamics. This effort needs you.

While world leaders prepare to gather in Paris for the UN climate change negotiations in December, people everywhere are needed to engage in acts of leadership on climate change. The World Climate Project will offer you the resources to confidently engage people with rigorous, science-based tools developed with MIT and facilitate engaging “mock-UN” events that simulate the Paris climate talks in order to engage people about what is needed to address the climate challenge.

Thousands have participated in World Climate events ranging from Fortune 500 business CEO’s to primary school students in Austria. And longtime SD folks such as Michael Goodman, Kris Wile, Rogelio Oliva, David Ford, Eliot Rich, Fabian Szulanski, Eduardo Fracassi, and Chris Soderquist have led the game.

New and updated materials will be released, making it easier than ever to lead your own World Climate event from wherever you are.

We’ve assessed the impact of these transformative learning experiences – through scientific studies we found that 76% of UMass Lowell students who took the workshop reported they were more likely to take action to address climate change.

Questions? Email Drew Jones: and Ellie Johnston: Hope to see you on July 23rd!

CALL FOR PAPERS – Education as a Complex System 

Guest editors Navid Ghaffarzadegan (Virginia Tech), Joshua Hawley (The Ohio State University), and Richard Larson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have issued a call for original research articles/papers on the topic of Education as a Complex System for a special issue of Systems Research and Behavioral Science. Some examples of potential topics are: education as a socio-technical system; massive open online courses (MOOCs); guided learning pathways (GLP); customized education; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education; performance in Kindergarden-12 education; higher education; education enterprises; research in higher education; government and education; research funding and higher education; and the research and education workforce including teachers, postdoctoral associates, and professors. The deadline for manuscript submission is November 30, 2015. Additional details may be found here.

Otto Scharmer awarded the Jamieson Teaching Award

Otto Scharmer has been awarded the Jamieson Teaching Award at MIT Sloan. The Jamieson Award is the highest teaching award at MIT Sloan, and was established to honor educational innovation and excellence. Otto works closely with people in the System Dynamics community. Besides pioneering important methods to complement and enhance the effectiveness of System Dynamics tools, Otto has also used a variety of System Dynamics models in his work including C-ROADS and the World Climate role-playing simulation based exercise developed by Climate Interactive. Otto is receiving the Jamieson Prize for two decades of dedication to pedagogical innovation at Sloan, with impact extending across the School and beyond to the Institute. Congratulations Otto!

Fifth-year Anniversary of the First SD Class at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

To celebrate the fifth-year anniversary of the first module (class) in Dynamic Modeling of Public Policy Systems, at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, John Richardson’s students will be giving “final examination” presentations describing their original model-based projects. Presentations are given using the “Pecha Kucha” format (20 slides 20 seconds per slide, 6 min, 40 seconds) first introduced by a community of architects in Japan.  As in recent past years, they will be acknowledging their achievements with presentations to a wider audience, comprising not only National University of Singapore faculty and students, but also members of the wider Singapore Community.  This will also mark the completion of the module by more than 100 students from Singapore, China, India, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Pakistan and the many other nations that the Lee Kuan Yew School serves. Most students will return to or embark on careers as public policy professionals.

What does the module in the Dynamic Modeling of Public Policy Systems entail? Students are expected to define a policy relevant problem and craft a system dynamics model that addresses it. After rigorous validity and robustness testing, the model is used to diagnose the problem and point to policy recommendations. These must be accessible and compelling to potential clients with no background in dynamic systems modeling. These final oral presentations, backed up with written reports and documentation, provide class members with the opportunity to demonstrate the level of mastery in public policy modeling that they have attained.

Mississippi State University receives grant from USDA for SD Modeling

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced three research grants totaling almost $3 Million that are designed to boost food security by minimizing livestock losses to insects and diseases. The awards to support research, education, and Extension efforts were made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Mississippi State University has been awarded $47,464 to create a portable computer and communication center for training veterinary students, graduate students, practicing veterinarians, and other food production stakeholders to use System Dynamics modeling, other forms of stochastic and deterministic modeling and health data management or analysis software to protect livestock from pests and disease.

The Creative Learning Exchange Spring 2015 newsletter is now available online

The Exchange newsletter is now available on The Creative Learning Exchange’s website. This issue contains the Fish Banks Simulation Guide, an online multi-user simulation that explores the management of a marine fishery. In the new issue you’ll also find an article about “Engineering Mission to Mars,” a course currently taking place at the Worcester Think Tank. Using the scientific method, the engineering design process, and concepts in system dynamics, students ages 9-12 are learning to provide solutions to problems associated with a successful human mission to Mars. This issue also contains information about the upcoming DynamiQueST, an exciting showcase of student projects that utilize critical thinking skills to analyze complex dynamic systems in a relaxed environment, free from “winner/loser” constraints.

New issue of System Dynamics Review Available

The latest issue of System Dynamics Review is available on Wiley Online Library. This issue of System Dynamics Review includes research articles “Jay Forrester’s operational approach to economics (pages 233–261)” by Khalid Saeed, and “A realistic leverage point for one-planet living: more compulsory vacation in the rich world (pages 264–282)” by Jorgen Randers. Articles in this issue also include two “notes and insights” article “Model teaching II: Examples for the early stages (pages 283–290)” and “Model teaching III: Examples for the later stages (pages 291–299)” by George P. Richardson, and a piece of announcement Citation Lifetime Achievement Award (pages 262–263) by Jack Homer.

Martin Kunc Awarded the Geoff Coyle Medal The Geoff Coyle Medal was awarded to Dr. Martin Kunc at the International System Dynamics Society UK Chapter Conference on March 26, 2015. The Geoff Coyle Medal is a new prize, awarded for innovative System Dynamics work in the UK.  Since Geoff Coyle had encouraged early career developments in System Dynamics, this forms the scope of the prize for either research or practice. The award recognizes Martin’s major contributions in terms of introducing System Dynamics to a wide number of people and a new area of management research within his first 10 years of using SD. Dr. Martin Kunc is Associate Professor of Operational Research and Management Science at Warwick Business School. The main contribution of his research has been to embed the use of System Dynamics into one of the main streams in the strategic management field: the Resource-Based View of the firm to which he has brought a behavioral and cognitive perspective. He has organized the Strategy stream in several diverse conferences: International System Dynamics Conference, Operational Research Society, International Federation of Operational Research Societies and European Academy of Management for the last five years, and has recently taken the role of System Dynamics co-chair in the merged Simulation Interest Group in the OR Society. Martin has taught at all levels at Warwick from undergraduate, postgraduate (taught and research) and executive education.  He has supervised four PhDs to completion, acting as first supervisor, as well as many MBA student dissertations. Prior to joining WBS he was a consultant at Arthur Andersen, and then an independent consultant with projects in media, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services, consumer goods, and the cement and wine industries.

Berlin WINS Announces PhD Course – “Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research: Cybersystemic Possibilities for governing the Anthropocene Berlin Workshop in Institutional Analysis of Social-Ecological Systems (WINS), together with ISSS and Humboldt University, announces the PhD course, “Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research: Cybersystemic Possibilities for governing the Anthropocene.” The course will be held in connection to the 2015 ISSS Conference in Berlin (July 30 –August 7, 2015), “Governing the Anthropocene.” The objective is to work strategically to negotiate boundaries for research in a meaningful way in the areas of contemporary concern, such as sustainability, development, health, farming, food, rural areas and environment/biodiversity, to name a few. The purpose of the course is to help the PhD student develop skills in contextualizing their research, to make connections among issues using systems, cybernetic and complexity thinking and to so improve their ability to work together strategically and purposefully. Nominations are open to any current PhD students studying anywhere in the world. Click here for a pdf with complete details.

Springtime in Switzerland

The Bibliography has been updated! The most recent version of the Bibliography (2015a) includes references that have been sent in by authors. In addition, this update features references from the bibliographies of the three Virtual Issues of the System Dynamics Review that had not been previously in the bibliography. If you are looking for journal articles, papers, or books relating to health and healthcare, structural dominance or project management the System Dynamics Bibliography now contains a more complete set of references. We are always appreciative of references sent in by our authors. Please send us your publications (journal articles, books, papers, thesis, etc.) with key words included. Submissions may be sent to The Updates page always includes a current list of recent additions to the Bibliography.

New issue of The New Systems Thinker is now available Leverage Networks’ latest issue of The New Systems Thinker (TNST) is now available on their website. In this issue you will find articles about celebrating the use of systemic thinking in a legislative setting; exploring the interpersonal dynamics of introverts and extroverts; revisiting the dynamics of terrorism; and examining important patterns in project management for large projects. The issue also contains their regular monthly columns, Success Stories, Off the Shelf, From the Headlines, and Systems Thinker. Subscription information can be found here. Leverage Networks is also very excited to announce their new website with easier navigation, better organization, new membership opportunities, and content-rich Learning Pathways.

First Mediterranean Conference to be held July 6-7, 2015 – “Food Supply and Distribution Systems in Urban Environments”

The System Dynamics Italian Chapter (SYDIC) and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with “Sapienza” University of Rome, the System Dynamics Society (SDS), and with the organizational support of OWS Srl, is proud to announce the First Mediterranean Conference on Food Supply and Distribution Systems in Urban Environments, to be held in Rome on July 6-7, 2015. The Conference will be held at “Dipartimento di Scienze Odontostomatologiche e Maxillo Facciali,” and will deal with the topic of food supply and distribution systems dynamics in urban environments, with a specific focus across the Mediterranean basin. The FAO and SYDIC have recently been working on the Call for Papers of the FAO Project “Meeting Urban Food Needs (MUFN).” Some of the best selected papers of this activity will be presented at the conference. The conference will bring together outstanding scholars in the field of Complex Systems and System Dynamics who apply their research to the food and sustainability arenas, but also high level political and social stakeholders in the field. The SYDIC Conference brochure can be viewed here.

David F. Andersen PhD, Distinguished Service Professor of Public Administration and Policy in the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, and Associate Dean of the University at Albany College of Computing and Information, will be recognized with the College’s Distinguished Service Award on May 15, 2015. This Award recognizes David’s contributions during his thirty-eight years of affiliation with the College and University in both scholarship and service. While David is well known to the field of System Dynamics through his leadership in the System Dynamics Society, including his service as a founding member, Past President, and current Vice President Finance of the Society, he is also an important leader at the University at Albany as well. Professor Andersen’s current work centers on evaluating the cost and performance characteristics of information systems and decision support systems in the public sector. His recent work has focused on the use of formal computer-based tools and models to help groups understand the system-wide impacts of information and decision support systems. His consulting and research activities include assembling and managing research and consulting teams to address a wide variety of public policy problems with clients in the public and private sectors. Prof. Andersen is the co-author of Introduction to Computer Simulation: The System Dynamics Modeling Approach and Government Information Management as well as over eighty other edited volumes, journal articles, and book chapters dealing with System Dynamics, public policy and management, and information systems. He is a recipient of the Jay W. Forrester Prize for the best published work in System Dynamics. The faculty and staff of the College and University extend their congratulations and thanks to Professor Andersen for his manifold contributions over the last thirty-eight years. The 2015 Rockefeller College Annual Alumni & Awards Dinner will be held on May 15, at 6:00pm at the New York State Museum in Albany.

Dr. Florian Kapmeier and World Climate Inspire German Students

C-ROADS World Climate computer simulation game was introduced by Dr. Florian Kapmeier to college students in Reutlingen University’s ESB Business School in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the game, students were assigned roles as United Nation delegates to negotiate, make decisions, and try to reach an agreement that aims at a minimum rise of the global temperature. According to Dr. Kapmeier, the simulation game is a much more effective way for students to learn that early action is needed compared with traditional lectures. The event was reported by Climate Interactive and a local newspaper Reutlinger General-Anzeiger in Germany.

Photo courtesy Reutlinger General-Anzeiger

Brazil Chapter News About 2014 and 2015 Symposiums On December 4, 2014, the Brazilian Chapter of the System Dynamics Society held a one-day symposium in São Paulo. Three of the presentations are now available (video & slides) at the Chapter webpage. – by Kim Warren, on “Agile System Dynamics: Fast, Effective, Reliable” – by Khalid Saeed, on “Economic Development, Creative Destruction and Urban Dynamics: Proposal for Rethinking Developmental Agendas” – by Andrew Ford, on “Energy Market Dynamics: Lessons from the Case Study of Energy Storage for the Ontario Power System” The Brazil Chapter welcomes everyone who may be interested in these topics to visit their webpage and to benefit from the availability of these materials, thanks to the generosity of our colleagues Kim, Khalid and Andy. These presentations were possible thanks to the initiative and technology provided by Karim Chichakly, of isee systems. The symposium was organized by our Chapter President Marciano Morozowski and hosted by Edmilson Moraes, at FEI University. Fifty participants attended in person. Local presenters were Edmilson Moraes, Newton Bueno, João Arantes and Rudolf Flunger. The Chapter leadership has decided to expand the symposium this year (2015), to include not only presentations but also posters (on October 2), and workshops (on October 3). The event will once again be hosted by Edmilson Moraes at FEI University, in São Paulo. Marciano Morozowski and Karim Chichakly have agreed to serve as Program and Workshop Chairs, respectively. A call for papers is being prepared and key deadlines will be announced soon.

New opportunity for systems science methodologists AcademyHealth announces a new scholarship opportunity for those with an advanced understanding of complex methodologies and rigorous approaches to systems-level challenges.The inaugural Systems Science Scholarship is now accepting applications. This scholarship will introduce systems science methods to the health services research (HSR) community. In particular, the scholarship seeks to foster collaboration between the scholars and those in HSR who are investigating systems-level challenges related to public health. It will provide travel support to five expert systems science methodologists to attend the 2015 Annual Research Meeting and Public Health Systems Research (PHSR) Interest Group Annual Meeting in June.  Applications are due March 31. Ideal candidates will have formal training in one or more systems science methodologies (e.g., complexity science, system dynamics modeling, agent-based modeling, social network analysis, discrete event simulation, microsimulation) and will have significant practical expertise in applying these methods. Experience in health or health care is not required. However, while preference will be given to applicants from outside of the health space, applicants should show an interest in understanding the complex nature of population health improvement. Please consider sharing this new opportunity with any colleagues who are systems experts. Please direct questions to

A Festschrift to Jorgen Randers, 70 years, 2015 Jorgen Randers will be honored in May with a Festschrift, featuring a tabula gratulatoria, an extended list of academic colleagues and friends who send their best wishes. If you would like to sign up to congratulation Jorgen, purchase the forthcoming “Science Based Activism” celebration publication, or learn more about the associated seminar “Green Economics & Science Based Activism” please visit the event website. The deadline for inclusion in the tabula gratulatoria is April 7th. Jorgen is a founding member of System Dynamics Society, Professor of Climate Strategy at the BI Norwegian Business School, and formerly served as Deputy Director-General of the World Wildlife Fund. Happy birthday Jorgen!

Member Lukas Sihombing is now VP Construction Certification at IAMPI IAMPI is the Indonesia Society of Project Management Professionals. Lukas is responsible to ensure that all of the candidates who desire project management professional certification pass the examination by IAMPI. IAMPI’s project management certification is competence-based and divided to be three levels: certified practicing project practitioners, certified practicing project manager, certified practicing project director and portfolio. The relationship between IAMPI and System Dynamics in Indonesia is still developing, some project management professionals have use System Dynamics as a tool to analyze projects’ scheduling, project finance, cost, etc. It is the first organization in Indonesia to incorporate System Dynamics in project management, and it has been challenging to ensure the use of System Dynamics for construction and public policy.

New PhD at Radboud University in Nijmegen: Philipp Wunderlich On 13 March 2015 Philipp Wunderlich successfully defended his doctoral thesis at Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. His dissertation is titled “Innovation Diffusion within Organizations – Word of mouth and the effectiveness of intra-organizational innovation implementation.” After studying Business Administration at Mannheim University, Philipp joined the System Dynamics Group at Radboud in 2011. He supported System Dynamics education, for instance in the European Master in System Dynamics programme, and presented his research at the International System Dynamics Conferences. Part of his thesis was published as: P. Wunderlich, A. Größler, N. Zimmermann, J. Vennix (2014): “Managerial Influence on the Diffusion of Innovations within Intra-organizational Networks” in System Dynamics Review 30(3), 161–185. His doctoral work was supervised by Professors Vennix and Größler. The photo shows Jac Vennix handing over the doctoral diploma to Philipp Wunderlich after his defense. In the background, the thesis committee (from left to right): Andreas Größler, Ad van Deemen, Peter Milling, David Lane, Kristina Lauche, Etienne Rouwette, and Nicole Zimmermann (present but not pictured). Congratulations Philipp!

Bibliography Highlights for March: Aging

Population characteristics draw more and more attention in diverse fields with special concern for the effects of aging on system behavior. Health care utilization, social welfare needs and consumer purchasing patterns change as people age. The selections for this month focus on how we simulate population attributes – from one-stock representations to the simple progression of an aging chain to the precise tracking of continuous cohorts. If you wish to submit additional references for high-quality applications of System Dynamics in Aging, please send them to See what you can find in the System Dynamics Bibliography.

Author Year Title Journal
Ansah, J. P., Eberlein, R. L., Love, S. R., Bautista, M. A., Thompson, J. P., Malhotra, R., & Matchar, D. B. 2014 Implications of long-term care capacity response policies for an aging population: A simulation analysis Health Policy
Thompson, J. P., Riley, C. M. and Eberlein, R. L. 2014 Modelling for Insight: The Case of Dementia in Singapore Systems Research and Behavioral Science
Thompson, J. P., Riley, C. M., Eberlein, R. L. and Matchar, D. B. 2012 Future Living Arrangements of Singaporeans with Age-Related Dementia International Psychogeriatrics
Walker, B. and Haslett, T. 2001 System Dynamics and Action Research in Aged Care Australian Health Review
Mohapatra, P. K. J., Mandal, P. and Mahanty, B. 1992 Dynamic Modelling for Age Distribution and Age-Based Policies in Manpower Planning Applied Math Modelling
Barlas, Y. and Wu, J. 1988 A System Dynamics Model of Population Growth and Regulation Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America

Member David Keith participates in “Innovations in Energy and Mobility Affecting the Future of Our Cities” “Innovations in Energy and Mobility Affecting the Future of Our Cities,” hosted by Iceland Naturally, MIT Media Lab, and City Science Initiative, is one of the events that took place at the Taste of Iceland Festival in Boston on March 12. The discussion was a city-to-city dialogue about energy innovation centered on Boston and Reykjavik’s efforts to innovate energy for a better future. Among the speakers was David Keith, System Dynamics Society member and assistant professor of System Dynamics at MIT. Other speakers included Dagur B. Eggertsson, Reykjavik’s mayor, and Vineet Gupta, director of Planning for Boston Transportation.

Member Etiënne Rouwette has been appointed as a Full Professor of Research and Intervention Methodology as of March 1 this year. He will be Chair of the Methodology and System Dynamics Group of the Nijmegen School of Management, which will continue the strong future presence of System Dynamics in Nijmegen. Future plans include the continuation of the work in Group Model Building and Facilitated Modelling, the development of the Nijmegen Decision Lab, and the further advancement of the European Master Program in System Dynamics together with Andreas Grössler. Etiënne received his PhD from Radboud University in 2003. He has been teaching System Dynamics and Group Model Building since 1995. He conducted many GMB projects for a wide variety of organizations. In his research he focuses on the systematic, empirical assessment of GMB interventions and the further development of scripts for GMB. Etiënne has a long history of volunteering for the System Dynamics Society (e.g. Policy Council Member, Conference Host of the European SD Workshop in 2005, Organizing Chair of ISDC 2006 in Nijmegen, Co-program Chair ISDC 2014, and VP of Membership) . He is currently President Elect. Congratulations to Etiënne and good luck on behalf of the Society!

World Climate Game, developed by Climate Interactive and MIT SD Group, featured in ScienceInsider American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) magazine ScienceInsider published an article about World Climate, a game co-developed by the nonprofit Climate Interactive and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology System Dynamics Group. A colleague of the Group, Juliette Rooney-Varge (Director of Climate Change Initiative at UMass), ran it at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco this past fall. The game, which simulates international climate change negotiations, was created in 2010. It is to U.N. climate negotiations what Model U.N. is to the real thing: a chance for outsiders to get a glimpse of what it takes to hammer out a consensus on a thorny international issue. After the game, Rooney-Varga gathered the group to debrief. “It wasn’t obvious until we did this exercise just how strong the change needs to be…” said Lev Horodyskyj, an astrobiologist at Arizona State University, Tempe. Organizers said that the goal of the game is to inspire, not terrify. Mitigating climate change is an enormous task, but it’s not impossible; and it won’t be resolved without teamwork. “The key insights are that you need everybody to act,” Rooney-Varga said. “It’s all in.”

NASPAA’s First National Student Simulation Competition Uses a System Dynamics Simulator

Photos taken by George P. Richardson

The National Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration(NASPAA) conducted its first-ever National Student Simulation Competition, “Creating a Locally-Led ‘Bottom Up’ Reform to the Affordable Care Act” on February 28, 2015. The daylong event brought together about 200 students from 93 NASPAA member graduate schools to five regional locations across the country to analyze the delivery of health care service at the local level. Participants presented their solutions to a national panel of judges. The competition featured ReThink Health Dynamics Model, a System Dynamics simulation model, which enables students to think dynamically and over long time horizons to identify sustainable solutions to health care problems. Participants ran more than 4,400 different simulation runs using a Forio user interface that worked flawlessly. According to Laurel McFarland, NASPAA Executive Director, “This competition demonstrates the tremendous learning opportunities gained by using simulations to immerse students in situations where they are able to immediately see the complexities and systemic aspects of public policy and management challenges.” Bobby Milstein, Director of ReThink Health wrote “It was a thrill to hear the insights from each regional winner about where the real leverage may lie in shaping sound health policy. These teams displayed a mix of curiosity, skill, and moral clarity that bodes well for effective action on this critical national challenge. I was also amazed that students from different schools could instantly work so well together and accomplish so much in a single day. . . . Hopefully, we’ll look back on this as an important landmark both for educational methodology and for the U.S. health reform movement. ”

The Discover magazine posted a new article titled “Does Science Produce Too Many PhD Graduates?” The post reflects on a 2014 paper published in System Research and Behavioral Science by Richard Larson, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, and Yi Xue. The original published paper which is titled “Too Many PhD Graduates or Too Few Academic Job Openings: The Basic Reproductive Number R0 in Academia” analyzes the growth in population of PhDs in academia. A follow-on article by the same group of researchers uncovers structural reasons and systemic flaws of science workforce development in the US.

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