Session Reports - Wednesday

11 AM Wednesday: Special Convened Session: A Celebration of System Dynamics in K-12 Education; Honoring Jay Forrester

- Honoring Jay Forrester Lees Stuntz, director of the Creative Learning Exchange, opened the session by thanking Jay Forrester for his inspiration and steadfast support for system dynamics in K-12 education. For nearly two decades, Forrester has led the effort to give students the system dynamics skills and perspective they will need to manage the dynamically complex problems facing them—a process that also fundamentally changes the nature of education by making it more learner-centered, engaging and relevant. Forrester has consistently urged high standards of practice and the courage to learn from mistakes. His early writings on K-12 system dynamics are still valuable guideposts for moving forward: “System Dynamics and Learner-Centered-Learning in Kindergarten through 12th Grade Education” in 1992, and “Learning through System Dynamics as Preparation for the 21 st Century” in 1994 (both available from the Creative Learning Exchange at .)

- Do Students Learn More About the Environment from a System Dynamics Model by Themselves or With a Partner? by Kate Thompson and Peter Reiman, University of Sydney, Australia, presented by Kate Thompson. As part of her PhD research, Thompson studied how students’ environmental knowledge improved after using a system dynamics model working with the model in a collaborative learning situation or individually. Fifteen students participated. After pretesting and a brief introduction to SD and the model, students manipulated a 5-stock STELLA model of rubbish accumulation, decomposition and management at a national park. Post-testing of environmental knowledge indicated improved learning when students worked together. Students reported a heightened awareness of the impact of visitor waste on the environment of parks.

- System Dynamics in K-12 Education: Lessons Learned by Debra Lyneis and Lees Stuntz, Creative Learning Exchange, presented by Lees Stuntz. The authors asked educators from nine schools and organizations to reflect on their experience implementing system dynamics in K-12 education over nearly two decades, with particular focus on lessons they had learned in the process. Stuntz summarized general conclusions that emerged. Anecdotal evidence shows that system dynamics holds exciting promise to improve education for even young students, just as Forrester foresaw. Students can grasp basic SD concepts and transfer them to other contexts, even in young grades. Stuntz also outlined conditions most conducive to SD adoption in schools, including community and administrative support, and the availability of quality SD curriculum materials and training. There have been many unforeseen hurdles to K-12 SD, however. Continued progress will require learning from the past to realize the promise of K-12 SD for students.

- Two Loops, Three Loops, Four Loops: Pedagogic Issues in Explaining Epidemic Dynamics by James Lyneis, WPI, and Debra Lyneis, Creative Learning Exchange. The authors described three different feedback loop structures for the same epidemic behavior mode and flow equation. A brief model analysis showed that the epidemic behavior is driven only by the two basic Contagion (+) and Depletion (-) feedback loops. The three-loop model commonly used in K-12 work for many years is not correct because it obscures the basic purpose of SD pedagogy – building an intuition of how feedback loops create the observed behavior in all systems. In more complex models, the four-loop structure may be used to calculate the Total Population, but since these are not active feedback loops, their use should be avoided with beginning students to keep a sharper focus on structure and behavior. (A full analysis is in the paper.)

- K-12 Open Discussion The parallel session adjourned to an open discussion of system dynamics in K-12 education, chaired by Lees Stuntz. Participants discussed ways that the community could work together to foster the growth of K-12 system dynamics. There is a need for quality system dynamics materials that teachers can easily use and integrate into their current curricula. There is also a need for good SD training options for teachers, recognizing that learning system dynamics is “hard” and cannot be done in brief workshops. Participants noted the value of business and community collaboration in K-12 SD and the importance of involving formally trained system dynamicists in the development and review of materials. Stuntz again thanked Forrester along with all the teachers and other supporters who have made work in K-12 system dynamics possible.

Debra Lyneis


11 AM Wednesday: Strategic Research and Decision making

The session on "Strategic Research and Decision Making" was held in Plaza C of Wednesday before lunch. This session featured three presentations reporting on diverse studies that shared a focus on using system dynamics tools for improving decision-making in different domains.

Özge Pala Typical slide from presentation Erik Mosekilde

First Özge Pala presented a study on Effects of Causal Loop Diagrams on Escalating Commitment. This study investigated whether causal loop diagrams can help reduce the commitment by political and business decision-makers to unsuccessful courses of action. Their results suggest that both lists of variables and causal loop diagrams help reduce the commitment. However, no significant difference was observed between the two except in one condition. Next, Erik Mosekilde discussed the new advances in application of dynamic modeling in biology. He emphasized that given the speed of growth of this new field, and availability of data and experimentation, SD researchers can learn a lot from their colleagues in systems biology. Finally, David Todd discussed a cost-benefit analysis for mental health services overhaul in the UK. By including delays in employment of resources and finding job for recovering individuals, a cost-benefit analysis building on a system dynamics model showed much more moderate benefits for the program, compared to a traditional cost-benefit analysis. Full Report

Hazhir Rahmandad


11 AM Wednesday: Business Dynamics

The session consisted of three papers, all of which were devoted to applying system dynamics approach to understanding business dynamics: 1) Exploring Intellectual Capital Investments Policies in a Call Center through a 'System Dynamics' Resource Based View, presented by Enzo Bivona; 2) The Value of System Dynamics in the Wider World, presented by Craig Stephens; and 3) New Venture Commercialization of Clean Energy Technologies, presented by David Miller.

The main objective of the first paper, presented by Enzo Bivona, was to examine the impact of investment in intellectual capital on a call center performance. The underlying conceptual framework utilized the system dynamics resource based view, in which the market value is created through financial capital and intellectual capital (consisting of human, organizational, and customer capital). This perspective was then employed in a case study involving a call center with a large number of permanent and temporary employees. The goal was to understand the impact of different human resource policies on the level of customer satisfaction.

The second paper by Craig Stephens presented a study about system dynamics and how it compares to other traditional analytical approaches in terms of its scientific contributions. The most significant advantage being its capability to incorporate feedbacks, the system dynamics approach was viewed as being particularly suitable for those complex systems having a large number of inter-connected elements as in economic, organizational, and market systems. Other comparative advantages were identified and discussed, but the ultimate question at the end was "after 50 years, has the window of opportunity closed?" The author remains optimistic that it has not.

David Miller started his presentation by observing that clean energy technologies are beneficial but have not been widely adopted. Are there policies to promote these technologies? He claims that clean energy technology is a disruptive innovation and asks if new ventures will succeed in diffusing this technology. He indicates that the new ventures have not historically been successful. Combining a simulation model with the results from over 100 interviews and meetings with clean energy entrepreneurs, he shows the existence of the "valley of death" where there is the initial dip in performance which could be quite severe and long-lasting in its magnitude and duration. The main part of the research addressed what combination of policies will allow the entrepreneurs to avoid the valley of death, thereby improving the odds of long-term success and profitability. The paper nicely demonstrated the value of computational modeling and analyses in the policy design arena, where the model could be informed by the empirical data and the comparative dynamics analyses could assist the policy makers in their evaluation of competing alternatives.

Myong-Hun Chang


11 AM Wednesday: Supply Chain Dynamics

This parallel session was chaired by Prof. Khalid Saeed, who was also one of the speakers in this session. However, different from other parallels, Prof. Saeed suggested the audience save their questions until all the speakers finished their presentations. The first speaker, Margherita Pero, talked on the topic of Supply network design and collaboration: a preliminary study. Supply chain network design was the main focus of her presentation. Experimental runs based on system dynamics modeling were compared with each other in order to find out the effect of supply chain network design. The second speaker, Lizhen Huang, gave a speech on the topic of The bullwhip effect in the closed loop supply chain. Lizhen cut into the topic by studying remanufacturing in a closed loop supply chain. She had two most important findings, both of them about bullwhip effect in a closed/open loop supply chain and inventory variance when remanufacturing was introduced to the loop. The last speaker, Prof. Saeed talked about trend forecasting as derivative control. Prof. Saeed compared these two processes and made very careful analysis during his presentation. When it came to question time, the person with questions asked all the speakers one by one, and the speakers all stood in front ready to answer questions. The asking and answering continued after the session… Full Report

Qian Hu


11 AM Wednesday: Public Policy - Understanding Systems to Improve Public Policies for Management and Prevention

Krystyna Stave chaired the Wednesday morning session on Public Policy. Min Liu and Cécile Emery from the University of Italian Switzerland presented a paper on private-public cycles using Hirschman's theory of shifting involvements. They emphasized the use of system dynamics as a tool for completing social theories. Liu and Emery illustrated their approach using Gone with the Wind.  Stephanie Fincher and Krystyna Stave from University of Nevada Las Vegas presented the second paper on the topic of air quality management. They pointed out that there are still major air quality problems despite thirty years of air quality management efforts, creating opportunities for applying system dynamics to help air quality and environmental managers. Jeremy Sato and Bonnie Stansen from Washington University in St. Louis presented the third paper describing their model of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. They found through their simulation modeling and analysis that recent declines in mortality may to do with depletion of people at risk than effective policy intervention. They argued for the use of system dynamics to develop a better understanding of the structure and pattern of genocides with the aim of earlier detection and prevention of humanitarian crises. 

Peter Hovmand


12 PM Wednesday: Special Session: How the System Dynamics Society Came to Be: A Collective Memoir

The heart of a field’s growth and development is community. One of the most important sources of the innovation, exchange, support and collaboration that have characterized the field of system dynamics, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the System Dynamics Society. The official founding is recognized to have taken place at the 1983 Pine Manor Conference, but can be traced back to the first system dynamics gathering at an earlier IEEE meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts. European leaders were also very important to the founding and development of the field and the Society. Growth of the Society was encouraged by the cooperation of the American and European chapters, and other members worldwide. In addition, the early publications of Dynamica and the System Dynamics Newsletter were critical to the exchange of ideas that fostered development of the field and the Society. The Society’s culture is one of openness and sharing; the culture may be influenced by the longevity and continuing involvement of the field’s founders and leaders. In the future, three initiatives to strengthen the Society might be encouraged: 1) archives formally organized, 2) continuing online presence, 3) creation of a field and Society DVD suitable for presenting to potential corporate sponsors in future Conference locations worldwide. Full Report

Kathleen Lusk Brooke


2 PM Wednesday: Business Applications in Information and Communication Technologies

In this session chaired by Dr. Susan Howick, three diverse papers relating to different practical aspects of ICT usage were presented. All the papers and abstracts are available on the Conference website.

Peter Otto (presenter) and Martin Simon Anas Tawileh and Stephen McIntosh (presenter) Susan Howick (presenter)

1. Structural Interventions in Electronic Networks of Practice: A Dynamic Grid/Group Model of Growth and Decline by Peter Otto (presenter) & Martin Simon

Peter & Martin’s paper used a Grid/Group model embedded in a simulation model to look at how governance needs to evolve over time to enhance a network’s chance of being successful :

2. Network Bandwidth Estimation: A System Dynamics Approach by Stephen McIntosh (presenter) & Anas Tawileh

Based on the following premises

Stephen and Anas presented a compelling case to support the use of system dynamics modeling in bandwidth estimation. Their conclusions were

However they did have some caveats

3. Broadband adoption: the case of rural and remote Scotland by Dr. Susan Howick (presenter) & Dr. Jason Whalley

As well as being a a great geography lesson, Susan’s presentation dealt with identifying the key drivers of broadband adoption in rural and remote Scotland. It is generally accepted that rural and remote areas can gain significant socioeconomic benefits from broadband. Unlike Australia which does not have universal coverage 99.9% of Scots have access to broadband. Their presentation used a Bass Diffusion model and Causal Loop diagrams to elucidate the factors affecting adoption.

Mark Heffernan


2 PM Wednesday: Methodology: Alternative Approaches-Hybrid Modeling

This session opened to a standing-room-only crowd. First up was Jim Duggan describing 'A Simulator for Continuous Agent-Based Modelling'. The paper presented an approach to modeling agent-based dynamics using standard stock-and-flow structures for the agents and aggregation calculations to determine population variables, all within a standard SD simulation package. The second presentation by Ignacio Marinez-Moyano was a 'Design for a Multi-Layer Model of Financial Stability: Exploring the Integration of System Dynamics and Agent-based Models'. The presentation concentrated on the important aspects of integrating agent-based models (representing detailed domain actions in financial markets) and SD models representing the aggregate evolution of the financial system's context. The final paper, 'Qualitative, Quantitative or both?: An Experimental Investigation' was presented by Rajat Dhawan. After an initial discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of Qualitative-SD (such as the use of Causal Loop Diagrams) and Quantitative-SD (modeling and simulation and analysis activities), the paper focuses on tests of various hypotheses about the contribution of one or the other or both kinds of activities compared to a No Intervention situation.

Jim Duggan Ignacio Martinez-Moyano
Rajat Dhawan

The first two papers were received with enthusiasm and were followed by lively discussion. The third paper was a very worthy contribution that would have been more appreciated in another session dealing with experimental tests of the effectiveness of SD approaches to which it made a very positive contribution in its own right. Full Report

R. Joel Rahn


2 PM Wednesday: Diffusion of Alternative Fuel Vehicles

In this parallel session, chaired by Jeroen Struben, all three presenters are discussed the diffusion of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). The talks and the models discussed were very different, yet each shed light on the daunting transition that we face in the essential effort to reduce emissions and petroleum dependence in the transportation sector.

First, Mathias Bosshardt presented a model that illustrated the importance of social norm building and critical mass, and explored the associated dynamics. This presentation also touched on the effect of government subsidies and multiple, competitive drive-train technologies.

Next, Derek Supple presented a model designed to improve understanding among business strategists and policy makers of the complex dynamics associated with transition to AFVs. The model, which includes multiple sectors (policy makers, consumers, producers, fuel retailers) and feedback structures (familiarity, infrastructure, learning) provides much to stimulate useful discussion.

Finally, Jeroen Struben, the session chair, presented his work on the diffusion of AFVs. There is compelling evidence that the typical S-Curve used to chart technology adoption does not apply to diffusion of AFVs. Furthermore, strong policies, coordinated by diverse players and remaining in place for a long time, are needed if a new AFV technology is to reach its 'tipping point.' Full Report

Maggie A. Kean


2 PM Wednesday: Market Dynamics

This session, chaired by Malcolm Brady, contained three papers dealing with dynamic modeling in microeconomics and institutional economics. The growth (and collapse) of a firm and an industry was a common theme, although the technical approaches selected by the authors were rather different.

The first presentation, “Advertising effectiveness and spillover: simulating strategic interaction using advertising,” by Malcolm Brady, presented a dynamic model of two firms competing with different advertising policies. This contribution was most in the traditional way of system dynamics, with reinforcing and balancing loops explicitly defined and multiple simulation studies presented.

The second presentation, “Self-organizing markets,” by Fernando Buendía, presented a dynamic model of self-organizing markets characterized by a highly skewed distribution of firms’ size. The author advocated the use of Pólya stochastic processes for modeling of the combined effect of various sources of increasing returns to the growth of the firm.

The final presentation in this session, “Non-equilibrium industry dynamics with knowledge-based competition: an agent-based computational model,” by Myong-Hun Chang presented a dynamic model of an industry subject to knowledge-based competition, using a population of myopic but adaptive firms that decide on adoption of new technologies as well as on entering or leaving the market by following a set of predefined rules. Full Report

Rudolf Kulhavy


2 PM Wednesday: Product Development Dynamics

"Dynamics of Project Screening in a Product Development Pipeline" by Nitin Joglekar & Paul Figueiredo

To motivate this study, the author described the stage gate process often used to manage the product development pipeline in large organizations. At each stage, the number of projects retained in the pipeline is evaluated based on some trade-off between perceived value creation and throughput. This problem was studied using a 2-stage model consisting of an aging chain and a coflow. The author presented his findings on the total and average NPV at the end of pipeline for a number of scenarios in which the number of starts, the screening levels, bias towards reducing backlog, and fractional resource allocation between stages were varied. The results show that the number of starts and screening levels are important in determining the coflow performance in the presence of screens; bias towards reducing first-stage backlog has a strong effect on NPV in the presence of screens; in the absence of screens bias towards second stage backlog also affects total NPV; front-end loading is less effective when capacity can be adjusted across stages as a function of starts.

"Returns in the Corn Supply Chain" by Paulo Goncalves

The author described a problem encountered at Monsanto in which the manufacturer suffered from rapidly increasing return rates on hybrid corn seed. The first contributor to this problem was identified to be preseason hoarding by dealers to meet volatile demand in the marketplace. These dealers are entitled to return unsold seeds free of penalty at the end of the season, but these returns are not discounted until the following year. The other contributor is the gradual abandonment of careful seed positioning strategies by salesmen focused on meeting seasonal revenue targets. The SD model constructed showed how the existence of both of these phenomena tended to increase seed return rates, and created a feedback loop which resulted in yet more panic buying and pressure to meet sales targets. The author concluded that improved sales resource allocation was necessary to mitigate the the high return rates faced by the seed manufacturer.

"Insights from Modeling the Dynamics of Process Improvement" by J. Bradley Morrison

The author discussed the implementation of process improvement strategies for building capability (2 nd order improvements) while simultaneously boosting current output (1 st order improvement) .This work extends the CLD framework of Repenning & Sterman (2002) to a quantitative simulation. Using the model, the author showed how these competing demands generate tipping dynamics, and that managerial policies focused strictly on performance may have limited effectiveness.

Binita Bhattacharjee


4:15 PM Wednesday: System Dynamics the Next Fifty Years

These are my notes from Jay Forrester’s 50th anniversary talk pertaining to the next 50 years in system dynamics, given on August 1, 2007. I wish I had used a recorder to capture the volume of Jay’s stern remarks … I thought I needed one, but instead, did the best I could with a ball point and several sheets of clean white. Being relatively new to the teachings of JWF, I am impressed to characterize this session’s experience with a quote from another very wise man. Solomon said, “It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man, than for one to listen to the song of fools” [Ecc7:5]. Jay’s messages were great lessons for me to hear, and I am very glad to have had the chance to attend this time of counsel. And, even though it was challenging to capture notes as Jay ripped from one issue to the next, I hope you can benefit from this summary, at least until his paper is published and distributed in a few months.

Without long introduction Jay was welcomed to the podium while some 500 of us welcomed him with a heartfelt round of applause, many photos, and a few books-autographing en-route. His first remark was that while everything [his health] seems to be okay now, he may not in fact be around to see us on the 100th SD Anniversary.

He said that during the past 50 years the field of system dynamics has been successfully introduced, and that its present level of achievements compares to level of achievements in engineering and medicine of 150 years ago.

He emphasized that now is the time to plan to close that gap, and cited the following shortcomings: We do not have universities of four to six years education that includes system dynamics methods. System dynamics is not in elementary schools. The SD field is spread widely but thin; it is found in the management field mostly, but less so in medicine, politics, and government. It is taught to students who do not intend to use it, and the result is that most have only a superficial knowledge of SD.

… Jay went on to say … SD started in a major field but now it is leaning back to universities, where it is mostly used. In the universities it faces the same pressures that operations research and later management science faced, and is now on a long plateau of limited effectiveness.

… Jay went on to say … There is a lack of effects of system dynamics on policies. The public face of SD in the e-mail discussions groups does not represent good work. Those doing good work need to get involved so that the field is not usurped by those who don’t know SD. Why is there so little impact on important issues? Why is there a failure to penetrate government? The problem is within SD. We are not asking the right questions. Those at the top are not decision makers. Big issues cannot be affected by the little solutions?

… Jay went on to say …There is a need for reversal of popular decisions. We need new books addressed to the public. We need to focus on debates within eyes of the public. For example, Limits to Growth has generated lots of important work. There is lack of courage in the field to debate; there are few in this field that can do this. Universities are turning out weak system dynamicists. Sponsorship is expensive, and books to carry SD to the public are needed, but where are the people that can do this? Instead, there are too many dumbed-down SD models with Causal Loop Diagrams and Systems Thinking, while in fact these represent problems that are not as simple as they are made to seem.

… Jay went on to say … Is SD dying because there is a lack of SD in the big fields? We have demonstrated that the human mind cannot evaluate complex systems. Only by going to full simulation can we understand the dynamics. Watering down complex problems should not be done; we should use high leverage policy. Being consistent can be done when based on system dynamics solution or model.

… Jay went on to say … We are being drawn downward. He then used a reference graph, apparently from Appendix K of Industrial Design, to explain that a system variable’s variance in the short run is not large, but that is not the case with a forecast. He emphasized that we should advise on how to make policy decisions that lead to future outcomes. Historical curves are only special cases --- so the model should exhibit the kinds of behavior to be expected. Another trap in this context: “better before worse” scenarios.

… Jay went on to say … SD is threatened by short term practices. SD needs to raise quality in papers, models, and university programs. How often do you see a system dynamics effort that does the following: description of system shortcomings, and how is it caused; is the shortcoming totally endogenous? Is the system in a class or category of other systems? Does it arrive at policies that the system dynamicist is willing to defend? Are preferred practices described? Are they resisted? And if so, how can these be overcome? Educational institutions are to blame for this lacking.

… Jay went on to say … the next 50 years should see the status change in our ability for studying complex systems through an improved education system. For example, design of an aircraft is hard, and doing a heart transplant is hard, but SD of complex systems is even more difficult. Therefore SD needs to have schools of system dynamics like that of medicine or engineering. We should not give short courses that mislead. SD methods should be included in K-12 education. Children are easier to teach because there is not much to unlearn; and a youngster is more willing to deal with important issues. There is also a need for schools that teach teachers, because the future should have students coming to universities with already having twelve years of system dynamic experience. But the universities are not ready for this, being mostly conservative institutions they would resist such and respond to popular demand as usual.

… He described one possible new approach using an analogy comparing the type of training for a pilot with that of an engineer. Pilots are trained in trade schools, and engineers are trained in universities. His point was that managers need to be trained in trade schools like pilots are trained by flying. Such educational boundaries in our current system must be broken. Academic courses must be more like engineering; undergraduate and graduate, and then some time in a practice similar to a medical student’s internship. The courses would include all of the generic SD structures in complete undergraduate and graduate programs.

… Jay went on to close his talk by saying that a 50 year plan should be drawn up as a roadmap. Such a plan would be detailed enough to keep from misleading optimists. To do this we need leadership, full time, and charismatic, to rally people willing to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. As an example plan, he cited his 1948 program plan for use of computers that led to creation of the Lincoln Laboratories. We need books from authors willing to be politically incorrect. We need to go behind the symptoms and identify causes and the battle must be sustained. The challenge is to move understanding of complex systems into the public arena, and to create universities for system dynamics. We need a 50 year plan that is detailed, realistic, and plausible to launch the next 50 years.

… After a lengthy and warm hearted standing ovation, Jay answered several questions from individuals in the audience.

Post-Talk Questions to Jay Forrester:

Victor Auterio


Session Reports - Thursday Workshops


8:30 AM Thursday: Teaching Your Children Systems Dynamics/Systems Thinking

After hearing Jay Forrester’s projections for the next fifty years, over 37 educators attended this workshop beginning with a game simulating the dynamics of an epidemic and illustrating how to accumulate a stock. After collecting data we were encouraged to draw the pattern derived from the data without actually plotting. This savvy group predicted the S pattern, and we finally observed the data in a classic generic structure of growth, saturation, and decline. It was important to observe what was changing, how the data was changing, and why it was changing. We began to recognize reinforcing and balancing loops. The objective was to become aware of how to introduce systems dynamics in grades K-12 and beyond. Rather than leading students to think in a linear fashion, we educators must illustrate how series of events result in patterns revealing structural behaviors. Systems dynamics strives to reinforce critical thinking among global populations.

The plan for the workshop was playing the game to gather data simulating the structure of an epidemic, evaluating playing the game, developing a hypothesis, creating and running models to test the hypothesis, making suggestions for improving the model, and debriefing with further questions, observations, and suggestions for continuous improvement and extensions. A final review must include these questions. Why did we build the model? What did we learn? What difference does it make? Not only will systems dynamics stress critical thinking, but by testing conclusions scientific methodology is reinforced. Each participant received a CD with helpful articles and sample lessons for elementary, middle, and high school students.

Helen Wolfe


10:30 AM Thursday: Modeling Dynamic Systems: Lessons for a First Course

This workshop offered a hand-on experience in teaching with modeling software, specifically Stella. The objective was to ascertain what to include in a first course. Attendees followed a tutorial in “A Study of Population Growth” in order to become familiar with Stella while activating and labeling stock and converter icons and creating flow line connector links. We followed directions to create relationship formulas or behavior definition equations. We soon learned that formulas or relationships could not be created without proper flow line connectors and links. After completing the model, we set up a graphic representation and examined the model’s behavior pattern in a test run. After that, we established a table for numerical output and tested multiple variables for sensitivity analysis. By this time we were anxious to collect the CDs and materials offered by Diane in order to immerse ourselves in building additional models. For many this initial experience made it apparent that modeling enhances abilities to unravel complex structures. To teach effectively, we must learn ourselves. Then we are ready to constantly learn from our students.

There was a seamless transition from the first workshop (288) into the second (289) so that not only were participants immersed in educational philosophy, but also, we had the opportunity to practice playing a game, make predictions, develop behavior over time representations, design dynamic hypothesis, and finally build and run models to test hypothesis and alternative policies. The debriefing question and answer portions made us eager to obtain the resources suggested by Diane. We were so enthusiastic that Diane’s “Modeling Dynamic Systems, Lessons for a First Course“and “Lessons in Mathematics, A Dynamic Approach” were sold out.

Helen Wolfe


8:30 AM Thursday: Strategy Dynamics: Introduction and New Developments

Participants assessed corporate strategy issues by constructing stock-flow diagrams that made use of 'value curve' analysis already used widely in industry. Kim began with a crash course in how to build a resource-based stock-flow diagram by starting with income statement data that link resources to performance measures. The workshop let participants experience how the approach fosters strategic decision-making and how the approach facilitates communication of the key ideas; helping make the key ideas relevant to management not previously exposed to system dynamics (SD). The workshop enabled participants to get the main points from Kim’s Parallel Session 137 presentation: "Connecting System Dynamics with Management Disciplines and Methods" first hand; refer to the Session 137 Report.

The workshop participants were assembled into nine groups of 3 or 4 people each. Each group created their own stock-flow diagrams on paper based on Kim’s crash course guidance. Several groups presented their models at the workshop.

Highlights of the workshop included: Kim's 'crash course,' Kim's RyanAir stock-flow diagram that demonstrated resource inter-dependences and several insights from three of the groups' model presentations. Full Report

C. Michael Reilly


Participant Comments

I am writing to express my appreciation to you and the other organizers of the System Dynamics Society 2007 Conference for presenting a very useful Conference. The Conference was very instructive and interesting, and provided the opportunity to meet with people with a variety of ideas. We benefited from the presentations, workshops, displays and discussions with the people attending the Conference. All these together made it a special learning opportunity. We have returned with a feeling of a week well spent, and look forward to future Conferences. ~ Krishnan. Raman


The conference was delightful -- so many new faces and thoughts, so many old friends to enjoy. The eclectic performances at the 'talent night' displayed our best sides: having fun, relaxing and not taking ourselves too seriously. ~ Jim Thompson

Thank you very much on behalf of the Swiss Chapter and of the Student Chapter for organizing such a wonderful, interesting and smooth conference. The next program and conference chair will have a very hard time in order to keep the high level of quality and professionalism up. ~ Stefan Groesser

After arriving at home, I would like [to give] a great thank's for the impressive and interesting conference this year. Thank you very much. ~ Sabine Schmidt

Conference In Memoriam

During the Tuesday afternoon plenary session, there was a moment of silence while we remembered those in the field of system dynamics who have passed away. The list was gathered through a request for information on the system dynamics listserve and designed by Maggie Kean. If anyone has been inadvertently overlooked, please send the information to the Society office for subsequent inclusion.

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