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.
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)
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?
The SD Career Link page has several recently posted job listings. Please take a look!
Waters Foundation Systems Thinking in Schools Newsletter
The October 2014 Waters Foundation Systems Thinking in Schools newsletter is now available online. In this issue you can read about how the Waters Foundation team has been busy supporting districts in New York, Wisconsin, Oregon and California in building their systems thinking capacity. Also read about the Project Based Learning workshop held this past summer in Tucson, Arizona, where teachers experienced with systems thinking tools and habits were able to further refine their skills at creating authentic, relevant learning opportunities for students. Also making news is the exciting completion of a 3-year systems thinking capacity-building plan for Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools that came to an impressive closure this past June.
New Feature: Language Field in the Bibliography
We now have a field so that references in our Bibliography can be searched by language. We invite those of you who wish to submit journal articles, books, chapters in books, and other forms of references to do so in your native language.
As always, we are looking for new references or references that have not yet been included in our Bibliography. If you have references that you would like to share with us, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bibliographic Updates page lists recent additions to the System Dynamics Bibliography. This list is updated whenever new submissions are received.
The third update of the 2014 Bibliography is now available. It can be viewed in text format (Notepad) as well as a tab delimited format (database compatible). For those who have EndNote X or higher, there is a compressed version. Instructions may be found on the Download page.
8th Annual German Chapter Meeting and 2014 Gert-von-Kortzfleisch Award Winner
More than 40 participants joined the 8th annual conference of the German Chapter, held in the end of May at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research in Karlsruhe. This year’s conference focused on System Dynamics methodology and the modelling process involving stakeholders. Related to this overall topic, Etienne Rouwette and Laura Black held key note speeches about their current research. Etienne Rouwette presented a project with the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Laura Black talked about “Modelling as Social Act.”
Furthermore, it was the 7th time the German Chapter awarded the Gert-von-Kortzfleisch Award in memory of Prof. Dr. Gert von Kortzfleisch who was a pioneer in teaching and using System Dynamics in his research in Germany. This year, the German Chapter awarded Roland Maximilian Happach for his master thesis titled “Three Scenarios of the European Natural Gas Market: A Market in Arrays”. In his thesis, Roland Maximilian Happach analyzes the impact of three distinct scenarios: the omission of long-term contracts, the increase of liquified natural gas and the introduction of bi-directional gas flows on the inner-European natural gas flows. It was the first time that the Gert-von-Kortzfleisch Award distinguished a master thesis. Segments of the thesis are published in the proceedings of the 2014 System Dynamics Conference (“Modelling the inner-European natural gas flows”). Roland Maximilian Happach completed the European Master in System Dynamics (EMSD) at the universities of Bergen (Norway), Palermo (Italy) and Nijmegen (the Netherlands) in 2012 as part of the first cohort.
Society for Organizational Learning Announces Upcoming Leadership Program with Peter Senge and Robert Hanig
The Society for Organizational Learning (SOL) has announced its “Foundations for Leadership Program.” Deepen your capacity to lead effectively in this intensive three-day program, based on the leadership development process described in The Fifth Discipline, by Peter Senge, identified as a seminal management book by Harvard Business Review. Participants in the program will explore what it takes to create an environment where leadership is a shared responsibility, naturally embedded in the fabric of an organization and community, and connect with and benefit from the perspectives of colleagues from a wide range of organizations from around the world. The program, described by past participants as a “not-to-be-missed opportunity,” is facilitated by Peter Senge and Robert Hanig, and will take place December 9-11, 2014 and March 25-27, 2015 in Bedford, MA.
Creative Learning Exchange Newsletter
The Fall 2014 issue of The Creative Learning Exchange’s newsletter The Exchange is now available on their website. In this issue you will find “Innovation Academy Charter School Reaffirms a Systems Approach to Education,” a compelling article about the implementation of systems thinking and education at the Innovation Academy Charter School. Also in the newsletter is an update about CLE’s 11th biennial Systems Thinking and Dynamics Modeling Conference held near Boston, Massachusetts at the end of June.
Food and Agriculture Organization Call for Papers – Deadline Updates
In the context of their “Meeting Urban Food Needs” project, the Food and Agriculture Organization of UN (FAO), in collaboration with the System Dynamics Italian Chapter and the University of Turin, has announced new deadlines for its call for papers (3/2014) on “Complex-systems dynamics principles applied to food systems.” The new proposal submission deadline is November 15, 2014; and new full paper submission deadline is January 30, 2015. Selected papers will stimulate discussion on how complex-systems dynamics perspective can contribute to the understanding of the characteristics, structure, performance and behavior of food systems meeting urban food needs and to the formulation of appropriate policies, strategies and investments plans. At least five authors among those whose paper will be published (one author per paper) will be invited to attend an expert meeting in FAO-Rome in 2015.
International Research Conference on Systemic Analysis in Economics
Member and Russian Chapter Representative Natalia Lychkina invites system dynamicists to participate in the upcoming “International Research Conference on Systemic Analysis in Economics” to be held November 13-14, 2014 in Moscow. Join in several opportunities for the themes of “Theory of Social and Economic Systems,” “Methods for Systemic Modelling,” “Systemic Analysis in Solving Social and Economic Problems,” “Social and Economic Cybernetics,” and “System Measurement and Soft Computing.” Conference working languages will be in English and Russian. For more information including registration information, please visit the conference website.
Member Andrew Jones to speak at Smithsonian’s Grand Challenges Consortia Symposium
Member Andrew Jones will give a presentation at the one-day symposium titled Living in the Anthropocene: Prospects for Climate, Economics, Health, and Security, organized by the Smithsonian’s Grand Challenges Consortia. It will be held at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, on October 9, 2014. Andrew’s presentation is titled “Solving Climate Change in 20 Minutes: A Guided Simulation.” The symposium will consider how humans are transforming the climate and environments of the Earth at an accelerating rate through agriculture, urbanization, transportation, the use of fossil fuels, and many other activities. The views of leaders in the fields of climate, health, economics, and security who will consider the problems we face will be featured and possible solutions offered. This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited.
Last year Andrew, along with his co-authors, was the recipient of the System Dynamics Applications Award, presented every other year for the best “real world” application of system dynamics. The award was for their work Climate Interactive: The C-ROADS Climate Policy Model. Andrew is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Climate Interactive.
“5 Conditions for Shifting Social Fields” article in The Huffington Post
A recent article in The World Post, a partnership of The Huffington Post and Berggruen Institute on Governance by Otto Scharmer, Senior Lecturer from MIT is titled “5 Conditions for Shifting Social Fields.” It talks about participants engaging in intense discussions with key thought leaders in global finance (Simon Johnson), Systems Thinking (Peter Senge), data-driven societies (Sandy Pentland), urban transformation (Phil Thompson), mindful systems change (Dayna Cunningham), and System Dynamics (John Sterman). The participants of this multi-day event spent one half-day in a workshop related to global climate change. Please click on the article link to read about what it takes to address the current crises of our time at the level of the source (as opposed to the level of the symptoms) and more.
25th Systems Thinking in Action Conference
Systems Thinking in Action+ DC 2014 Conference with the theme “Systems of Wellbeing” will be held November 5 – 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Systems Thinking has long been established as a discipline, a lens, and a set of tools necessary to create long-term, sustainable solutions, especially when focused on solving problems. The conference goal is to go beyond problem solving and start imagining healthy, thriving individuals, communities and families, and organizations and institutions that promote wellbeing. Where is there leverage for wellness? Where is positive change emerging in our world? And what would it look like if we were to redesign systems, big and small, to facilitate wellness and wellbeing? Keynote speakers include Glenda Eoyang, David Stein and Maria Seddio, David Peter Stroh, Marilee Adams, and Victor Garcia.
EURAM’15 – Entrepreneurship SIG track
The EURAM (European Academy of Management) Conference will be held in Warsaw, Poland in mid-June, 2015. Please see the Call for Papers (CfP) and specifically the CfP for the business simulation topic within the Entrepreneurship SIG track. The title of this track is Visionary entrepreneurship in complex worlds: Computer modeling, business games and scenario analysis. Co-proponent for the Entrepreneurship SIG and Society member Stefano Armenia states, “It is a great occasion for System Dynamics people in Europe to attend a great management conference and for our community to spread out and disseminate in a very large attendance event (usually around 1500 attendees).” Submissions will be done on-line on the EURAM 2015 website from December 1, 2014, till January 13, 2015. For more information, please visit the EURAM’15 Conference website www.euram2015.org.
New Publication: Extensive coverage of System Dynamics modeling in new CSS textbook
This new textbook, by Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, Ph.D., D.Sc.Pol., provides a unified Introduction to Computational Social Sciences in a reader-friendly format. The four methodological approaches; automated social information extraction, social network analysis, social complexity theory and social simulation modeling are explained in detail. In addition to explicit mention of all the main pioneers, the System Dynamics Society, the System Dynamics Review, software, and much more, the book features System Dynamics Society member Professor Nazli Choucri of MIT. Chapter 9 includes coverage of System Dynamics models since System Dynamics is an essential component of the CSS core. This book highlights the main theories of the Computational Social Science paradigm as causal explanatory frameworks that bring light on the nature of human and social dynamics.
NIH grant-funding and System Dynamics
The NPR blog posted a new article titled “After The NIH Funding ‘Euphoria’ Comes The ‘Hangover’.” The post reflects on a paper published at Service Science in 2012 by Richard Larson, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, and Mauricio Gomez Diaz. The original published paper developed a simple difference-equation model of new funding versus past commitments for grant funding agencies, and uncovered a balancing loop which can create periodic oscillations in National Institutes of Health new competing grants and magnify effects of change in budget on new funding.
First International Workshop on System Dynamics, Big Data and Cloud Computing
The System Dynamics Africa Chapter is organizing its inaugural Chapter Workshop to exchange novel ideas and practical experience in System dynamics, “The 1st International Workshop on System Dynamics, Big Data and Cloud Computing” will be held at the Safari Park Hotel Nairobi in Kenya on 12-13 January 2015. The theme of this workshop is “Transformation for Sustainable Development” and is therefore designed for SD members and practitioners in Africa and elsewhere in the world who are interested in emerging societal challenges and how to leverage the developments in big data and cloud computing technologies. Participants will benefit from an international perspective and meaningful insights of leading SD experts and fellow delegates from the Africa region and the rest of the world. Click here for more information about this workshop.
Member Jim Thompson to present at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research
Member Jim Thompson is giving a presentation at the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research, co-sponsored by WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. More than 1,700 health systems researchers from 100+ countries are participating in the conference in Cape Town, South Africa, September 30-October 3, 2014. The theme for this Symposium is on people-centered health systems: health systems that recognize that people are their central focus and resource, and that address responsiveness at population and patient levels as a central goal. The event brings together researchers, policy and decision makers, advocates, and implementers from around the world to develop the field of health systems research.
Jim’s session presents a study of a novel medicines access program to assist the poor living in rural villages in Kenya. A System Dynamics model simulates the idealized program and concerns about its actual implementation. Presentation participants will be invited to interact with the model by trying alternative parameter values and suggesting improvements to the concept model.
The presentation includes a section on System Dynamics methodology publications and global learning resources. The slides include a list of System Dynamics courses and degree programs around the world. If you have information on currently offered degree programs and university-level courses in System Dynamics, especially in Africa and East Asia, please send new or updated information to the Society using the course survey form. This information will be used to update the Society Web site.
Jim is a founding member of the Society’s Health Policy Special Interest Group and feels that this occasion is a fantastic opportunity for outreach to highlight System Dynamics as an extremely powerful tool for health policy and systems research.
In Memoriam (September 2014)
Past member Richard Stevenson passed away last week after recently being diagnosed with sarcoma. Richard founded Cognitus Ltd. and did much to promote System Dynamics through teaching and consultancy throughout the 1990’s. Amongst other things, Cognitus Ltd. was a sponsor of the Society, the UK distributor for the ithink System Dynamics software, and the organizer of the annual gathering of the UK Chapter in Harrogate for its first few years. Thanks to Eric Wolstenholme for sharing this information.
Global Sustainability Fellows Program
For the first time, in summer 2014, the Sustainability Laboratories of New York realized the Global Sustainability Fellows Program (GFSP), a trans-disciplinary study program at master level for students from all over the world. The purpose of the GFSP is to support a worldwide transformation toward a sustainable society. The program’s goal is to prepare future leaders and managers from all sectors, including governmental bodies, companies and civil society, to master this challenge. The pilot program took place at EARTH University in Costa Rica. This small university is focused on sustainability; it even has an organic farm on its campus. Participants came from 15 countries and all five continents. Besides theory, an exploration of the tropical rainforest and visits to organic farms and factories, the program included fieldwork in Martina Bustos, a poor district of the city of Liberia. Markus Schwaninger, professor at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and a long-standing member of our Society, was on the faculty of the GSFP. He taught System Dynamics, the qualitative version of which provided excellent tools for the fieldwork: For example, together with citizens of Martina Bustos, students constructed causal loop diagrams in order to explore paths for the development of the district. Final evaluations show that the program was a big success.
Students and faculty of the Global Sustainability Fellows Forum, Costa Rica, 2014
EARTH University, Pococí Campus, Limón, Costa Rica
The Oasis XMILE Technical Committee has been working on the development of a standard for storing System Dynamics models, and have recently approved a Committee Specification Draft (CSD) and submitted it for 30-day public review. The public review started September 12, 2014 and ends October 11, 2014. This document defines an open XML protocol (XMILE) for the sharing, interoperability, and reuse of System Dynamics models and simulations. This is an open invitation to comment, and OASIS solicits feedback from potential users, developers and others, whether OASIS members or not, for the sake of improving the interoperability and quality of its technical work. Reviewers may provide comments directly from the comment-tag version of the document. Full information on the 30-day Public Review of XMILE can be found on the SDForum.
Member John Sterman and Climate Interactive featured in film “Disruption”
The film Disruption features incredible and informative interviews from scientists, activists and leaders – including Climate Interactive partner John Sterman of MIT. The film was released in advance of the People’s Climate March, the largest climate march in history, in the streets of New York City on September 21, 2014. Climate Interactive uses System Dynamics modeling to explore the interplay between social and planetary systems and focuses on climate change research. In 2009, John Sterman was part of the group that developed the Climate Rapid Overview and Decision-support Simulator (C-ROADS). The C-ROADS simulation calculated the long-term climate impacts of proposals that were under consideration in the negotiations to produce a global climate treaty at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2009. Last year, the System Dynamics Applications Award was presented by the Society to John Sterman, Thomas Fiddaman, Travis Franck, Andrew Jones, Stephanie McCauley, Philip Rice, Elizabeth Sawin and Lori Siegel for their work Climate Interactive: The C-ROADS Climate Policy Model. This award is presented for the best “real world” application of System Dynamics.
System Dynamics Included in Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology for the First Time
The new edition of Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology was published in July 2014 by IGI Global. This third edition of the encyclopedia includes System Dynamics in its content for the first time. One whole chapter is devoted to System Dynamics, and is written by the Society member Yutaka Takahashi. This chapter provides a brief introduction to the System Dynamics approach and lists fundamental and recent works in this field. For more information about the encyclopedia and the chapter, please click here.
New Book on Discrete-Event Simulation and System Dynamics Methods
In recent years, there has been a growing debate, particularly in the UK and Europe, over the merits of using discrete-event simulation (DES) and System Dynamics (SD). There are now instances where both methodologies were employed on the same problem. The new book, Discrete-Event Simulation and System Dynamics for Management Decision Making, edited by Sally Brailsford, Leonid Churilov, and Brian Dangerfield (pictured left) details each method and compares each in terms of both theory and their application to various problem situations. It also provides a seamless treatment of various topics–theory, philosophy, and detailed mechanics and practical implementation–providing a systematic treatment of the methodologies of DES and SD, which previously have been treated separately.
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 “Radicalization under deep uncertainty: a multi-model exploration of activism, extremism, and terrorism” by Erik Pruyt and Jan Kwakkel, “Model behaviour and the concept of loop impact: A practical method” by John Hayward and Graeme Boswell, and “Public and health professionals’ misconceptions about the dynamics of body weight gain/loss” by Tarek Abdel-Hamid et al.. Articles in this issue also include a research-problem article “Levels of evidence in system dynamics modeling” by Jack homer, and notes and insights articles “‘Model’ teaching” by George Richardson and “Interactive web-based simulations for strategy and sustainability: The MIT Sloan LearningEdge management flight simulators, Part I” by John Sterman.
System Dynamics Society Awards Given at the Conference
Lifetime Achievement Award
The System Dynamics Society occasionally recognizes people for making a significant contribution to a field or a practice over an extended period of time by giving them Lifetime Achievement Award. This is the only award of the Society that is based on a body of work done over lifetime and not on a single article. This year, the award was presented to Jorgen Randers for his leadership in futures research and global sustainability.
The System Dynamics Society Outstanding Service Award recognizes individuals that have, on a volunteer basis, made exceptional contributions to the Society over an extended period of time. This year the Society awarded Pål Davidsen and Jac A. M. Vennix this award in grateful recognition of their exceptional volunteer contributions to the System Dynamics Society.
Pictured left to right: Pål Davidsen and Jac A. M. Vennix
Pictured left to right: Andy Ford, David Andersen, Pål Davidsen, Roberta Spencer, Jac Vennix, Peter Milling, and Bob Eberlein
Conference Paper Awards
The Dana Meadows Award of the System Dynamics Society is given annually for the best paper by a student presented at the annual System Dynamics Conference. Established in 2001, the prize celebrates and recognizes high quality student work in the field of System Dynamics. The 2014 recipient was Can Sücüllü from Bogaziçi University for his paper (co-authored by Gönenç Yucel) Behavior Analysis and Testing Software (BATS).
The Lupina Young Researchers Award is given annually for outstanding papers dealing with health-related topics authored by students. The 2014 recipient was Mohammad Jalali from Virginia Tech for his paper (co-authored by Hazhir Rahmandad, Sally Bullock, and Alice Ammerman) Dynamics of Obesity Interventions inside Organizations.
The Barry Richmond Scholarship Award is presented annually to a deserving Systems Thinking or System Dynamics practitioner whose work demonstrates a desire to expand the field or to apply it to current social issues. This year’s recipient was Siva Muthuprakash K. M.