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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?


News

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


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 papers on the topic of Education as a Complex System for a special issue of Systems Research and Behavioral Science. They invite original research articles on the broad area of Education as a Complex System. 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. Deadline for manuscript submission: November 30, 2015; additional details and 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 office@systemdynamics.org. 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 www.climateinteractive.org

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 PHSR@AcademyHealth.org.

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 office@systemdynamics.org. 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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