Volume 24 – Number 2 June 2011
Special Issue on Sponsor News
Welcome to the June 2011 issue of the System Dynamics Newsletter. With this issue we spotlight our sponsors. It is my pleasure to work with our sponsors, both individuals and organizations, all of whom believe in the Society and have key interests in developing of the field. Their sponsorship helps to support our members and to increase our ability to encourage, enrich and grow the worldwide system dynamics community. I am sure you will enjoy reading about their activities.
The Washington, DC Conference Opening is July 25, in just over a month. The Tentative Schedule is online; please use the Table of Contents link to jump to the conference update. Here at the home office we are in the daily countdown mode and looking forward to an exciting conference! It is always very satisfying to see all the planning and preparation come together. I look forward to seeing you next month.
Other items found in this issue include news from professionals, academics and students who are making innovative contributions in their respective fields using system dynamics. Please see the Announcements, News and Notes section for details. Also, the 2012 St. Gallen Conference Team is already very busy. A progress update is included here, and a preliminary Call for Papers will be available at the DC Conference.
The final page of the newsletter lists the 2011 Governance of the Society. If you would like to learn more about Society governance, or if you are interested in serving on the Policy Council, please visit the Governance page on the Society website or contact one of the PC officers or members.
Please contact me if we can assist in any way. Best, Roberta
WPI continues to offer the only online program in System Dynamics. You can broaden your knowledge and experience in System Dynamics by taking individual courses, a certificate, or a Master of Science degree. Courses begin in September, January and May.
As the use of System Dynamics continues to grow, so does the number of students enrolled in courses in WPI's Online System Dynamics Programs. Current students live globally including Australia, Brazil, Spain, Indonesia, Canada, Uruguay, India, and the U.S. More than 300 students have furthered their knowledge through WPI's System Dynamics offerings.
Individuals possessing knowledge of strategic modeling can make important contributions to their companies and organizations. Each SD course at WPI requires students to develop and refine models. These students then immediately leverage these new insights and skills into their workplace, thus increasing their professional value.
What background is needed for the WPI courses and programs in System Dynamics? One of the most significant aspects of WPI's System Dynamics program is the diversity of its student body. They are employed in a wide array of industries from finance to technology to medicine to government research to military and more. They live around the world and their ages range from the twenties to retired after long careers. There is one common aspect though—WPI's System Dynamics students are highly intelligent and continuously want to learn.
WPI will is exhibiting at the 2011 Conference in Washington, D.C. Please stop by and say hello!
The Whole Systems Partnership was pleased to receive the Steer Davies Gleave Prize for System Dynamics at the annual gathering of the UK Chapter of the SD Society in February. The prize is awarded to the best example of the use of system dynamics modelling to impact on real life challenges. The case study was based on work to model the impact of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review on home care services in a local area in the East of England. A copy of the presentation is available on the WSP website and a podcast of the talk is available at this link.
We are also pleased to inform Society members of a significant achievement in gaining national profile and access to an SD modelling tool through its work with the National Programme for End of Life Care in the UK. The model is deployed online and has extensive supporting material to enable end users to optimise learning and insight. WSP is now continuing to support the roll-out of this tool through regionally held master classes sponsored by the National End of Life Care Programme. As a result of its work on this programme WSP has also been successful in being selected as part of the team to develop an approach to funding palliative care services. They are working in partnership with Kings College London and the leading Public Health Observatory for End of Life Care to deliver on this work.
Recent work in the area of dementia services has also led to the launch of a network for localities using our generic modelling tool which looks at the impact on services and funding across health and social care in response to national policy objectives for improved early diagnosis and more responsive services. WSP is working with 5 locations (with two more joining soon) who have a calibrated version of the model and who are sharing service models and improving our understanding of the assumptions and relationships within the modelling tool.
Finally, we are about to run two training events—one in the North of England on the 17th and 18th May and one in partnership with Brunel University (only 5 miles from Heathrow) on the 23rd and 24th May. Details of the 17th and 18th training course are available at www.thewholesystem.co.uk/training.asp. The second course has the same content and places are still available for booking.
The Whole Systems Partnership
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Ventana® helps organizations in complex environments make better decisions through a combination of high-quality models and advanced treatment of data.
In our 26th year, Ventana consultants are,
Ventana's focus on robust models, serious use of data, and transparency continues to be reflected in Vensim software development. The new Vensim business and development teams have created a roadmap for exciting new technology.
Recent Vensim releases bring direct spreadsheet access, improved Mac compatibility, on-the-fly array dimensioning from databases and spreadsheets, integer allocation functions, and extensive help and sample model improvements.
Our commitment to learning continues with free access to Vensim PLE for personal and educational use, training courses, and class-leading technical support.
transentis is a small management consultancy specialised in business transformation. We assist in exploring the potential of your current business, in designing new business models, and in realizing these designs in practice.
We help manage the complexity of the transformation process using business prototyping techniques. These allow clients to explore their business in depth and test design and realization options before putting them into practice—we frequently use system dynamics in our consulting engagements, but (depending on the situation) also employ other modeling languages such as UML and BPMN and simulation approaches such as agent based modeling.
Our commitment to system dynamics is evident through our consulting partnership with isee systems (since 2006) and our sponsorship of the System Dynamics Society (since 2008). In May 2010 we became an organizational member of the German Chapter of the System Dynamics Society.
We regularly host webinars on applying system dynamics and iThink to business situations, both in English and in German. So please do check our website www.transentis.com.
Who We Are
Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. provides research, testimony, reports and regulatory support to consumer advocates, environmental organizations, regulatory commissions, state energy and others. The firm was founded in May 1996 to specialize in consulting on energy, electricity, regulatory, economic, and environmental topics. We have a professional staff of twenty-five with more than 300 years of experience in the electricity and natural gas industries.
Synapse assesses the implications of electricity and natural gas industry planning, regulation and restructuring. Our work covers various interrelated issues such as transmission planning, service reliability, siting, fuel diversity, resource planning, financial and economic risks, renewable potential and renewable portfolio standards, energy efficiency, electricity modeling, portfolio customer service and more. With this expertise, we have been successful at helping our clients respond to the changing face of the electricity and natural gas marketplace and at recommending strategies that protect consumers.
Synapse works for a wide range of clients throughout the United States, including attorneys general, offices of consumer advocates, public utility commissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, Commission, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, and others.
Our staff's areas of expertise include:
To Learn More
Please visit our website at www.synapse-energy.com.
“If you as an author...
... Springer is your publisher of choice.We are thoroughly committed to a change towards the digital age, however, we will also ensure that your publishing experience remains a personal and individual one. Our staff values your work and gives it the attention it deserves. Visit us at the System Dynamics conference in Washington D.C.!”
Dynamic Ranges adds flexibility
With the latest Feature Pack release of Studio 8 Enterprise, Feature Pack 3, you have the possibility to work with Dynamic Ranges for array variables.
How often have you defined the dimension of your model only to find that a new market segment is emerging or several new types of products must be added to your model, which imply some rework in your model, depending on the complexity of your model?
Or have you developed a great business case that you reuse on a regular basis, but where the different clients require different dimensions for the model's array variables? Now, with Dynamic Ranges, you can change the number of elements in an array at a later stage without the need for model adaptations.
Dynamic ranges can be edited through a Presentation in a Powersim Studio 8 tool by the end-user. With a set of Action Buttons, the user may add new elements to a Dynamic Range and all associated input variables will have a default value assigned to it. The end user may change these default values to create new and updated analysis. This method is well suited for arrays that have a few elements.
As an alternative, the Dynamic Range can be defined with an Excel Spreadsheet. The Dynamic Range is set up to read the elements from the spreadsheet, which is a well suited method to import hundreds or more input data into array variables. With Dynamic Ranges the end user may update or add to the input list more elements for each dynamic range, and give corresponding input values that will be loaded into the simulation model and updated already from the next simulation.
Dynamic Ranges will add flexibility to your model project by reducing time for redesign of the model whenever requirements changes and ease the transition of using a model in another subsidiary. Also, and most important is that it will keep the simulation model alive and updated due to the fact that end-users themselves can keep the model updated in regards to the latest business conditions.
Take a look at our demonstration video of a production company on the Powersim web pages!
Powersim Software is a Norwegian company, based in Bergen. The company is the developer of all Powersim Studio 8 simulation tools. The software is based on stock-and-flow diagrams and allows for both continuous and discrete modeling.
Pegasus Communications' focus is on helping individuals and organizations thrive by managing the complexities of the workplace and the world by:
Please join us for our 21st Annual Systems Thinking in Action® Conference. This year's conference; Systems Thinking in Action: Because Sustainable Success Doesn't Just Happen will take place at the Seattle Westin Hotel from October 31-November 2, 2011. It's the highlight of our year and remains the largest public conference of people involved in the application of systems thinking and the related disciplines around organizational learning and change. Whether you are new to systems thinking or an industry veteran, join us to explore how systems thinking can provide renewed energy, spark momentum, and help us create improved performance in the areas we care most about. For registration or conference information click on the link below.Products that support your change efforts—Pegasus continues to develop new ways to connect with thought leaders to learn about the practical aspects of systems thinking and organizational learning. Whether through our conference or other learning events, extensive catalog of books, audio and video products, our monthly webinar series, The System Thinker or Leverage Points newsletters and now a growing library electronic titles available for download. Join us to interact with systems thinkers from around the world as we share stories, examine best practices and learn about practical tips, tools and techniques for driving improvement. Click on the links below to check out all of our products. We would like to hear from you, let us know if there is a particular speaker you would like us to feature in a webinar or a specific topics we can address that would help you address the key challenges within your organization or community.
Our website [http://www.pegasuscom.com]
PA continues to have a strong and growing practice using system dynamics analysis for a range of corporate and government clients on high-stakes issues.
Our work falls broadly into two areas—strategy and policy analysis to support executive-level decision-making, and ongoing strategic risk management on major programs and program portfolios. We combine rigorous analysis with a client-focused approach to help organizations address challenging strategic problems and identify and build support for action strategies that make a sustained difference.
We are hiring consultants who possess the combination of superb analytical skills, strong teamwork, results-orientation, and an ability to communicate effectively with senior clients. Our focus for growth is Washington DC, Boston, and London. Look for us at the conference or drop us a note in advance(firstname.lastname@example.org) / +1 617-225-2700!
Northwater Capital Management Inc. (Toronto and Chicago) has shifted direction dramatically over the last two years. It has sold off its fund of funds business and is currently focused on investing $500 million from its Intellectual Property Fund. The Fund is making investments where there are rich patents, copyrights, trademarks or trade secrets that can provide a legal monopoly to the investee company. Some of the investments are in theatrical properties, some in patent management and litigation and some in small early stage companies that have break-through technologies. In the latter category the firm has made investments in energy storage and in computer vision technologies. Northwater welcomes contact from those looking for funding in any of these areas. Northwater is particularly interested in investments that have positive feed-back loops that look like the "success to the successful" archetype.
Millennium Institute (MI) is nonprofit development research and service organization established over 25 years ago. MI provides consulting services on development issues to governments, national planning institutions, international organizations and multinational companies. MI's expertise in system dynamics modeling complements the vast field experience in macro analysis of economic, social, and environmental issues. We work with clients to develop dynamic macroeconomic models that support comprehensive and integrated scenario analysis of global, regional, and national development challenges such as poverty reduction, economic growth, climate change and global warming, and peace-building in post conflict regions. MI remains the primary pioneer in the use of system dynamics modeling and integrated analysis for long-term national planning for sustainability.
Jantz Morgan LLC would like to welcome Timothy L. Schmidt as our new Director of Business Development. He joins the firm with 18 years of management, marketing and finance experience and we are very excited to have him on our team.
Jantz Morgan is a boutique investment management company which offers responsible portfolios designed for individuals and institutions that not only believe a system dynamics based approach has the potential for long-term out-performance, but also would like their investments to reflect higher levels of environmental, social and corporate values.For more information, please contact Sean Morgan (email@example.com) or Timothy L. Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org). And feel free to visit our company web site (www.jantzmorgan.com).
isee systems develops system dynamics-based products and training that enable people to think, learn, communicate and act more systemically. Our modeling and simulation software, STELLA and iThink, has been used for more than 25 years by individuals in business, government and education to gain insight about all kinds of dynamic systems.
We continue to upgrade and update our offerings based on customer input and feedback. This past year we have been working hard on a major new release of STELLA and iThink, Version 10. Version 10 will support the new industry standard XMILE file format developed through efforts initiated by the Information Science SIG as a common interchange format for system dynamics models. Other exciting new features in Version 10 will include support for multi-dimensional arrays, data management with the ability to archive and recall simulation results, a more powerful modeling engine (STEAM) and more.
isee recently published and released the third and final edition of Diana Fisher's book, Modeling Dynamic Systems: Lessons for a First Course. This book continues to be the go-to resource for teachers and beginning modelers. The third edition incorporates the latest material that Diana uses to teach her own students including lessons on explaining a feedback loop, specifying units, starting a model in equilibrium, and using the storytelling feature of STELLA.To learn more, visit us on the web at www.iseesystems.com and blog.iseesystems.com, or give us a call at (603) 448-4990.
The Signature Research Program for Health Services and Systems Research (HSSR) at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore is delighted to be a first-time sponsor of the 2011 International System Dynamics Conference hosted by the System Dynamics Society.
HSSR is established as a center of academic excellence for research and education on the organization, funding, and delivery of health services. Our focus is on public health and clinical service innovation in an increasingly complex and connected world. HSSR employs a systems perspective to addressing critical health issues. Systems thinking cuts across all of our research priorities and recognizes the multiple leverage points and feedback loops involved. This includes health, social, economic, political, biological and other systems.
The aim of our Program is to bridge theory and practice in a way that advances the state of scientific theory and is sufficiently pragmatic to actually improve health care practices. Our strategy for achieving this aim is to establish 'flagship' projects that are of practical importance for Singapore, engage multiple health services research participants, involve a 'systems' perspective and provide insights applicable to other countries.
Our first flagship activity is Dr. David Matchar's project 'Establishing a practical and theoretical foundation for comprehensive and integrated community, policy and academic efforts to improve dementia care in Singapore.' This project has been funded by the National Medical Research Council through their Singapore Translational Research Investigator Award (STaR Award) scheme. The main objective of this 5-year project is to establish a laboratory in Singapore for health systems modeling, focusing on the theory and methods of system dynamics. The first application of the methodology focuses on how to manage the care and treatment of older individuals with cognitive impairment. In the longer term, our goal is to build capacity in Singapore to apply system dynamics to complex issues in health.
In 2010 we created our Health Systems Design Laboratory (HSDL), led by Dr. James Thompson. One of the first public activities of HSDL was a four-day System Dynamics Workshop in March 2011. Instructors included Bob Eberlein, Jim Hines, Jim Thompson and John Ansah. Response to the workshop was overwhelming. The morning of 29 March saw the Atrium of the Duke-NUS building abuzz with activity, laughter and some confusion. Ten tables, stretched out across the Atrium space, held eighty people participating in The Beer Game. With the first day of introductory activity and lectures behind them, participants spent a day learning how to recognize when complex situations lend themselves to the application of system dynamics methodology and helped conceptualize problems using a rigorous conceptual framework. The final two days of the workshop involved a core group of thirty-six participants who experienced fundamental system dynamics computer model building. This group of participants is primed to undertake further studies of system dynamics, and several have requested more advanced instruction in system dynamics methodology. We see this as the inception of Singapore's pivotal role in expanding the application of the methodology in the field of healthcare.
HSDL members will be present at the System Dynamics Conference 2011 to present a series of papers related to the care and treatment of cognitive impairment disorders in Singapore.
The GoldSim Technology Group provides probabilistic simulation software. Organizations worldwide use GoldSim to evaluate and compare alternative designs, plans and policies in order to minimize risks and make better decisions in an uncertain world.
Our software differs from traditional system dynamics approaches in that 1) it puts much greater emphasis on probabilistic simulation techniques to support representation of uncertain and/or stochastic systems; and 2) it provides a wide variety of specialized model objects (beyond stocks, flows and converters) in order to make models less abstract (and hence more transparent) and help represent processes and events that cannot easily be represented using a traditional system dynamics approach. These differences are due to the fact that GoldSim is primarily used for engineering and scientific applications where quantitative probabilistic predictions of future performance are required (e.g., by regulators and other stakeholders) in order to inform and defend policy and design designs.
The software is widely used in the environmental and energy arenas. For example, Los Alamos National Laboratory is currently using GoldSim to perform probabilistic simulations of CO2 sequestration in geologic reservoirs. Sandia National Laboratories is using GoldSim to model the reliability and availability of solar photovoltaic systems. They recently used GoldSim to model a system operated by Tucson Electric Power to study the sensitivity of energy output as a function of photovoltaic (PV) module degradation at different rates and the effect of location (solar irradiance). GoldSim is also the premier simulation tool for building probabilistic water management models in the mining industry. As such, it is used by hundreds of consulting firms and mines worldwide.
Looking for Experienced Scientific Programmers and ModelersWe are currently looking for scientific programmers with experience in energy, water resources or risk and reliability analysis. Please see the description for this and other open positions at http://www.goldsim.com/Web/Company/Employment/.
Evans & Peck is a management consultancy that has been providing decision modelling advice since its inception in 1984.
Evans & Peck assists private and public sector clients to make better decisions by giving them access to leading edge decision modelling tools and advising them on structured and transparent approaches for dealing with complex problems.
Examples of decisions where clients have used Evans & Peck's decision modelling capabilities include:
Operating in Australia, China and Hong Kong, Evans & Peck is strategically positioned to provide localised support to firms throughout the Asia Pacific region.
In December 2010, one of our team members, Gönenç Yüçel, successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "Analyzing Transition Dynamics–The Actor-Option Framework for Modelling Socio-Technical Systems." Gönenç continues to work in our System Dynamics lab, now as a post-doc researcher, primarily in the SD Simulation and Gaming team, but also partly in the Exploratory SD Modeling and Analysis team.
Dr. Jan Kwakkel also joined the Exploratory SD Modeling and Analysis team as a post-doc researcher. Jan developed—and continues to develop—a Python shell for Exploratory System Dynamics Modeling and Analysis. This shell can be used—together with commercially available SD software packages—to explore multi-dimensional uncertainty spaces, perform directed searches, and test deep robustness of (adaptive) policies. In addition, Iman Mohammed joined our SD Simulation and Gaming team (from Bergen University) as a PhD researcher. The Exploratory SD Modeling and Analysis team will soon be joined by another PhD researcher.
New research projects—related to demographic aging and migration, to plausible mineral and metal scarcity, and to the evolution of the Dutch housing market—were initiated jointly with TNO, HCSS, OTB and other organizations. Four temporary team members are currently developing SD models related to these topics. These models will be used to explore the ensemble of plausible futures and seek robust policies over the entire ensemble of plausible futures.
On 14 April 2011, Erik Pruyt hosted the second conference of the Benelux Chapter of the System Dynamics Society (see picture). SD scholars and practitioners, policy analysts, philosophers and ethicists, operations researchers with an interest in ethical dilemmas, complexity scientists, and policy makers gathered at Delft University of Technology for this conference on "Complexity, Uncertainty and Ethics." The conference program and video streaming of some of the presentations are available on the following web site: http://simulation.tbm.tudelft.nl/BeneluxChapter/News.html.
Also in the first three quarters of this academic year, our SD staff contributed to system dynamics education by teaching System Dynamics to 250-300 BSc and MSc students in the introductory SD courses, 200 BSc and MSc students in the SD project courses, 22 MSc students in the advanced SD course, and supervised 14 theses in System Dynamics. Two grants were awarded to the Introductory System Dynamics course to turn it into Open Course Ware and make teaching and testing materials publicly available (for more information, contact Erik Pruyt).Dr. Erik Pruyt, Assistant Professor of System Dynamics at Delft University of Technology
Decision Advancement works with organizations to take the guesswork out of decision-making, and system dynamics is an integral part of our work.
In many organizations, decisions are based on BEG: Biases, Experiences, and Guesses. This is the default human approach, and in steady state situations it sometimes works. But in dynamic situations, where things are changing either endogenously or exogenously, the BEG approach is inadequate.
Decision Advancement has a seven step framework that provides structural, operational, and behavioral insights for our clients. Both in strategic work and in departmental work we use causal diagrams as well as model simulation to identify the key aspects of the structure of the situation. This leads to discussion of operational issues and most importantly the biases and filters that people are bringing to their decision-making. We next help them to identify the true leverage points that allow them the best value for their time and money. Everyone talks these days about having to do more with less; we use system dynamics to reveal exactly how to do that.
Led by Randy Park, who holds a Bachelor in Physics and a Master in Engineering Physics, Decision Advancement works with progressive organizations. We deliver workshops and training on systems and critical thinking, experiential learning such as the Beer Game, and facilitate identification of structural organizational issues. We also help organizations prepare for the future by facilitating scenario exploration.
Decision Advancement collaborates with specialists in a variety of fields, including strategy, risk management, planning, sales, leadership, marketing, and others. We work with corporations, nonprofit, and associations in a wide variety of fields.
Randy Park has written two books: Thinking for Results-Success Strategies, and The Prediction Trap-and how to avoid it.
One example of our work is a model that illustrates the link between member satisfaction and the success of an association such as the System Dynamics Society. Member satisfaction is obviously important to association success, but most association executives and boards miss the significance of the many feedback loops that involve member satisfaction. Satisfied members do not simply renew their membership; they also talk about the Association, raising visibility and attractiveness. Yet most associations use the number of members as their key metric, a lagging indicator, whereas member satisfaction is a leading indicator. Associations around the world have told us the model is eye-opening.
CROSSMARK is a leading sales and marketing services company in the consumer goods industry that provides growth solutions with exceptional service to manufacturers and retailers. For over 100 years, CROSSMARK has been helping some of the most powerful brands in the world reach and exceed their business objectives across a wide range of retail channels.
Expertise encompasses the areas of Headquarter Sales, Retail Merchandising, Retailer Solutions, Event Marketing, In-Store Data Collection, Retail Analytics, and Business Technology Solutions. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, CROSSMARK employs more than 30,000 associates worldwide with 40 offices throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.
We are recognized industry-wide for our exceptional client services, analytic capabilities, and ability to deliver go-to-market solutions regardless of their complexity. It is a legacy we have worked hard to create, and one we continue to build on every day.
Analytics is a key part of our overarching competitive strategy, and we push business intelligence down to decision makers at every level. We arm our employees with the best evidence and quantitative tools for making the best decisions, big and small, every day to help our clients win in the market.
We have been leveraging the power of system dynamics for over six years in helping us understand the complex processes that we work in every day, e.g. which factors impact productivity, how to manage customer expectations, ways to reduce out-of-stocks at retail, and other key activities.One current project using System Dynamics is our initiative to design and optimize an innovative business process called CROSSVIEW. With advanced analytics and innovative processes as critical components, CROSSVIEW drives faster and better sales results for our clients. It eliminates the complexity and cost associated with managing the vast network of headquarter buying points across the U.S. marketplace. We ensure the process is transparent, with no unwanted surprises, resulting in a better sales plan, better execution, and a better experience for our clients.
The Boeing Company is pleased to sponsor this year's System Dynamics Conference in Washington, DC. In recent years, Boeing has increasingly used system dynamics models and insights to assist in strategy development across the company.Thank you to the System Dynamics Society for annually bringing together such a talented and diverse group of academics and professionals.
AnyLogic North America is the US-based branch of XJ Technologies, the developer of AnyLogic—a leading simulation application and the only multi-method software supporting: agent based, system dynamics, and discrete event modeling. Due to its power, ease-of-use, and its unique ability to capture and represent the complexity of business, economic and social systems, AnyLogic is the tool of choice among leading US and international companies and government research organizations including: IBM Global Business Services and Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Boeing, MITRE, the US Air Force, the IRS, CAE, and Aptima.
Our consulting operations are supporting both large clients as technical resources as well as efficiently delivering turnkey solutions for smaller companies and other consultancies. This year our consultants start advanced level training sessions that should be of interest to people who already have experience using AnyLogic. The first advanced course will be in Washington DC, 19-21 of September.
Please visit our website www.anylogic.com to download and try AnyLogic and to read more about the product and our consulting services.You can also check out our blog at www.alna.typepad.com, join our LinkedIn group "Anylogic Users", or follow us on Twitter at AnyLogicAmerica.
The Applied Systems Thinking (ASysT) Institute was established in 2007 as a collaborative endeavor of Analytic Services Inc., a not-for-profit public service institution that provides objective studies and analyses to decision makers in the areas of national and homeland security. ASysT applies systems thinking principles to complex problems of national significance in the fields of national security, homeland security, intelligence, energy, environment, education and healthcare. As a public service institute, ASysT seeks to advance the understanding and application of systems thinking concepts, principles and tools.
ASysT continually strives to contribute to the systems thinking body of knowledge by developing new methodologies and providing insightful applications of existing systems thinking frameworks. Recent work includes a systems thinking based approach to the development of concepts of operations (CONOPs) and a systems thinking enabled methodology for the task of problem definition. ASysT regularly participates in academic conferences and leverages these opportunities to spread its research and findings to a broader community of interest.
ASysT also engages in fundamental research efforts aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the interagency. ASysT's current Resilience Strategic Initiative applies a whole-of-system approach to describing factors that contribute to the infrastructural, operational, and community resilience of sociotechnical systems. Systems thinking methods and tools are a key component of ASysT's approach to articulating resilience concepts and demonstrating their application throughout the interagency. Additional research is being conducted in governance of complex systems and extended enterprises.
To further the availability and application of systems thinking tools, ASysT is developing the "Systems Thinking Toolkit"—an integrated and extensible platform of visualization tools that enables storytelling and facilitates analysis of complex systems. The Toolkit is a browser-based application that does not require software installation and is fully functional without an internet connection. The initial version of the Toolkit combines systemigrams and radial maps, allowing analysts to quickly shift between structured storytelling and relationship exploration. Additional tools will be integrated with future versions.
Society and Conference Sponsors
New PhDsWarren D. Hamilton successfully defended his PhD dissertation, "A System Dynamics Perspective of Finger Lakes Winery Capacity Utilization and Implications of the Wine Industry and Liquor Store Revitalization Act for Wine Distribution," in March 2011. It was approved by the Graduate School of Management and Technology, University of Maryland University College. Congratulations, Warren!
Joe Hsueh successfully defended his PhD dissertation, "Dynamics of Shared Capitalism Policies in a Start-up Company," in February 2011. It was approved by the MIT Sloan School of Management. Congratulations, Joe!
Nicole Zimmermann successfully defended her PhD dissertation, “Drivers of Organizational Change: A System Dynamics Analysis Integrating Environmental Determinism and Managerial Choice,” in October 2010. It was approved by Mannheim University. She has joined University of Siegen, Germany as a Junior Professor in the area Organization Studies. Congratulations, Nici!
System Dynamics Society India Chapter 1st Annual Conference, SICSR, Pune: 5-6 May, 2011
The System Dynamics Society, India Chapter held its First Annual Meeting from the 5-6th of May 2011, in collaboration with the Symbiosis Institute of Computer Science and Research (SICSR), Pune. Over 60 participants and leading practitioners from the field of System Dynamics came from across India to share, learn and network. The event was host to students and faculty from leading educational institutes, such as Symbiosis, Washington University, IIM, IIT and Jindal Business school, leaders from industry groups such as Tata Consultancy Services, Nissan, as well as from civil society organizations, WOTR and Prayas, Yashadha to name a few.
Participants at the First Annual Meeting of the System Dynamics Society India Chapter,
Over the course of the two-day conference, fourteen presentations were made along with post--session tutorials on systems modeling provided by Dr. Anupam Saraph (Former CIO, Pune City) and Mr. Karan Khosla (CEO EarthSafe Enterprises, Council Member SDS India Chapter). Various participants including Dr. Santosh Prushty (IIM Shillong), Dr. Saroj Koul (Jindal Business School) and Dr. Veeredrak Rai (TCS) demonstrated various frameworks for designing intelligent systems and frameworks for problem solving at an organizational level. Dr Anupam Saraph, strategy advisor and council member of the System Dynamics Society India Chapter, highlighted several System Dynamics interventions he has undertaken over the last two decades, and also highlighted the use of SD for helping organizations to bring about change in a focused way.
Many presentations also focused on the relevance of system dynamics to environmental and socio–economic issues. Mr. Kalyan Tanksale (Research Consultant, IIT CTARA) and Dr. Peter Hovmand (Washington University) demonstrated how system dynamics can be used at the village level to help communities come together to understand resource issues and livelihood opportunities. Mr. Sushil Bajpai, CEO of WOTR took the opportunity to launch at the conference, two recently developed simulation "Games" aimed at helping grass root communities understand the issues related resource management: "Water Budgeting" and "Transformations: a rural community simulator".
The conference proceedings and more information on system dynamics and the System Dynamics India Chapter may be found at: http://www.systemdynamics.co.in
The website also hosts a "wiki" which is open to the public for viewing and registered members can post profiles, events and jobs.
The very first System Dynamics (SD) conference was organized at Earl Haig Secondary School, Toronto, Canada by a group of students of the SD club at the school, Haig Dynamics. The conference program included two keynote presentations, workshops on games and simulations, introductory speeches and club presentations.
The introduction to the conference was given by the school principal, Ms. Renata Gonsalves. Her speech welcomed all the participants, who included students, teachers, and members of the community, for attending. A special thank you and welcome to Ms. Lees Stuntz was also given. The next introductory speech was given by Ms. Sue Pfeffer; a Superintendent on the Toronto District School Board, one of the largest in Canada. She spoke about the importance of education and good education for allowing students to be the leaders of the future. The last introductory speech was given by Ms. Mari Rutka, a school trustee. In her message she referred to the importance of education and students' leadership. Ms Rutka also referred to Haig Dynamics and the conference as an opportunity to learn from students.
After the introductory speeches, the first presentation was given by Yannick Ngana, president and founder of Haig Dynamics, on the “Birth of Haig Dynamics.” The major topic addressed in this presentation was the purpose of Haig Dynamics and system dynamics as a catalyst for student ideals as well as what the mandate of the club is. The speaker also briefly explained how he got interested in system dynamics and what he had hoped to achieve in learning the discipline. This presentation was then followed by the keynote presentation given by Ms. Lees Stuntz, Executive Director of the Creative Learning Exchange. Ms. Stuntz did a presentation on System Dynamics and K-12 Education. In this presentation Ms. Stuntz talked about the application of system dynamics in different schools across the United States and had video testimonies of students expressing their growth with system dynamics. These testimonies were amazing and truly powerful as they allowed for students to easily relate to them and then see for themselves how they can benefit from SD. This was then followed by the "Infections Game." This game helped instilled the notion of exponential growth and its relevance in today's society. Overall, Ms. Stuntz's presentation was spectacular in bringing about why system dynamics should be brought to high schools and in K-12 education.
Ms. Stuntz's presentation concluded the morning half of the conference, which was theme oriented on system dynamics and K-12 education. The morning half was followed by a networking–lunch which allowed for people to talk amongst themselves and reflect on the presentations they had seen. After the lunch break workshops were then run.
The workshops were led by the Executives of Haig Dynamics and some keen members of the club. There were two simultaneous workshops which were then rotated after half an hour so that people could experience both workshops.
The workshops never repeated so that different experiences with SD could have been seen. One of the two workshops was Simulations. In this workshop, simulations were run with the participants in the attempt of understanding the given system and hence optimize the outcomes. One of the simulations was a Startup Inc. Simulation. In this simulation participants were given the model for the economy the company was found in as well as its link with the structure of a company. Simulations were then run with suggestions of courses of actions given by the participants. This was also done with a School Reform simulation where the model of a school in relation to students and their performances, and the community was given. The second workshop was System Dynamics through games. The games used at the workshop were found in the Systems Thinking Playbook, which was kindly donated by Ms. Linda Booth Sweeney. This workshop was also a major success as students were able to learn about systems thinking and system dynamics through games, which continued to give positive impressions about SD.
These workshops served well to transition from the morning theme of SD in K-12 education to the afternoon theme of SD in addressing important problems in today's society. The workshops were followed by a keynote presentation prepared by Mr. Jeff Potash, who due to unfortunate circumstances couldn't make it to the conference. His presentation was given on his behalf by Ms. Lees Stuntz. Ms. Stuntz once again did an amazing job in giving the presentation about system dynamics and its various applications in addressing important and key questions. This presentation gave students the perspective needed to address these important issues that plague today's society. The presentation was then followed by another presentation on Haig Dynamics but this time on its “Life” and continued legacy at Earl Haig Secondary School. This presentation included pictures and examples of some of the activities done during club meetings as the members looked at the problems that society has and how it can all be a system.
Finally, the conference was closed by thanking all those who attended and giving special thanks to those who helped make the conference a success and to those who donated books and materials for our school's library. As a result of holding the conference many items were accumulated for the school's library. These items include a variety of books, videos of lectures by Professor Jay Forrester, and monetary donations of over $500 all for the continuation of SD at Earl Haig Secondary School. The conference also got the interest of the Toronto District School Board and they were impressed and intrigued by the applications of SD in education. At the conclusion of the conference, many goals that had been set out had been achieved, the primary one being to expose students to SD. The conference exposed students to SD through various lenses, which were K-12 education, addressing important questions, games, and simulations. This was done because students have various interests and with the various lenses we hoped to captivate the interests of multiple students and the conference did just this. Not only did it succeed in exposing students to SD, but it also was able to provide a medium for students to further their knowledge in the domain through the materials now readily available in our school's library.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all those who helped make the event a great success. Special thanks to the Creative Learning Exchange and Ms. Lees Stuntz for not only having travelled the distance and supporting the school with her donations of books but also for her continued support to the club. Thank you also to Mr. Randy Park of Decision Advancement for having joined us and for donated materials for he library. Thanks also to all those who helped with the advertisement of the conference, including Ms. Roberta Spencer, Executive Director of the System Dynamics Society. I would also like to thank the Administrative team of Earl Haig Secondary School and Vice-principal Mr. Sukhram for not only having helped in planning the event but also for having allowed teachers to miss an entire day of school to attend the conference as they felt SD is something very important. I would also like to thank Haig Dynamics' staff advisor, Ms. Christine Scholler, and her math department for continuously supporting the club and our initiatives including the conference. Finally, I would also like to thank the teachers who brought their classes to attend the conference as they felt that it was an amazing learning experience for themselves and the students. Entire philosophy, economics, math and various other classes attended. The conference, in my opinion, was a great success as many more students, teachers, and members of the community are now aware of system dynamics.
European Master in System Dynamics
In March 2011, the Consortium of the European Master in System Dynamics (universities of Bergen, Palermo, Lisbon and Nijmegen) received the final Assessment of the curriculum development project (which ran from 2007-2010) by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture executive Agency of the EU. The scores on all seven criteria was a 9 (!) on a scale from 1-10 (1-2 being very weak and 9-10 very good). The criteria are:
For more information see: http://www.europeansystemdynamics.eu
2011 Edelman Award Presentations
Ken Cooper, Greg Lee, and colleagues were recognized by INFORMS as finalists in the 2011 Edelman Award competition for their application of system dynamics to improve project management at Fluor Corporation. The Edelman Award is the top prize in the field of operations management/management science. The work Ken, Greg and their colleagues have done was previously recognized by the System Dynamics Society with the Best Application Award, presented to them at the 2009 conference in Albuquerque. As a side note, this is the second time Ken Cooper has been recognized as an Edelman laureate–the first time was in 1980, for his groundbreaking work applying system dynamics to project management in the dispute between Ingalls and the US Navy.
John Sterman writes "It's great to see system dynamics being applied to improve project management, not only to resolving disputes after projects have experienced difficulty. Congratulations to Ken, Greg and all their colleagues for this honor and for their great work."
Ed Roberts comments, "As an 'SD old-timer' but long time admirer of your efforts and accomplishments in system dynamics, I congratulate you for once again being recognized for your pioneering work in proving that SD can be made to work, and work really effectively. Your original efforts in developing the project management modeling tools to a finished set of capabilities began at Pugh-Roberts and with your persistence achieved remarkable results for so many companies. It is great to see that you continue to achieve."
To view their presentation on the work, along with the work of the other finalists click here.
Jeroen Struben Received the Desautels Faculty of Management Distinguished Teaching Award
Jeroen Struben is the recipient of the 2011 Desautels Faculty of Management Distinguished Teaching Award (Graduate Level). These awards, one at the undergraduate and one at the graduate level, are determined by a committee comprised of student representatives, program directors and a representative from the Dean’s office. The awards recognize outstanding teaching in their programs, superb engagement with students and contribution to the learning environment in the Faculty. The recipients will formally be presented their awards at the convocation ceremonies in June.
Nelson Repenning Received the Jamieson Award for Excellence in Teaching
May 2011. Professor Nelson Repenning was honored this year with the Jamieson Award for Excellence in Teaching at the MIT Sloan School of Business and Management. It is given annually to two MIT Sloan faculty members and is the most important award for teaching excellence at MIT Sloan. The award is endowed by Burgess Jamieson, MIT class of 1962.
MIT – UAlbany – WPI System Dynamics PhD Colloquium
The 22nd MIT – UAlbany – WPI System Dynamics PhD Colloquium was held on Friday, April 29, 2011 at MIT. Organizers David Keith (MIT) and Junesoo Lee (UAlbany) report that the event was successful and well-attended.
Encyclopaedia of Complexity & Systems Science
Members may be interested to learn of some contemporary coverage of System Dynamics in the Encyclopaedia of Complexity & Systems Science, Springer, NY 2009, RA Meyers Ed.
The volume contains some 30+ sections, of which SD is one; the SD section includes 18 up-to-the-minute reviews of SD methodology and applications. These are briefly listed below and naturally contain extensive reference lists. All contributions are in full colour. Although the entire encyclopaedia is expensive, the SD and econometrics sections have been reprinted separately in Complex Systems in Finance & Econometrics, Springer, NY 2011, RA Meyers Ed. This is more modestly priced.
Coverage of the system dynamics section is as follows: Introduction (Dangerfield); Basic Elements of SD (Richardson); Business Policy & Strategy (Lyneis); Diffusion of Innovations (Milling & Maier); Organisational Learning (Maani); Evolution of the Systems Approach (Schwaninger); Economics & Economic Modelling (Radzicki); Environment, Energy & Climate Change (Ford); Optimisation (Dangerfield); Philosophical Background & Underpinnings (Olaya); Structural Dominance Analysis (Kampmann & Oliva); Validation (Schwaninger & Groesser); Public Policy (Andersen et al); Delay & Disruption in Complex Projects (Howick et al); Scenario-Driven Planning (Georgantzas); Group Model Building (Rouwette & Vennix); Dynamics of Income Distribution & Poverty Alleviation (Saeed); Health Care in UK & Europe (Wolstenholme); Health Care in USA (Hirsch & Homer).
Design, Analysis and Optimization of Supply Chains, A System Dynamics Approach
William R. Killingsworth, Executive Director, MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation; Business Expert Press; May 2011
Abstract: Today's supply chains are not only highly complex in terms of the number of companies involved but also dynamically complex in that their behavior and performance variations over time range from “hard to comprehend” to baffling. No wonder management is so difficult and challenging. Developing an intuitive grasp of supply chain dynamic behavior is the first step in driving performance improvement.
In this book, a system dynamics framework for analyzing complex supply chain performance is presented. The feedback nature of supply chains is demonstrated and dynamic simulation models are used to examine the counterintuitive behavior that arises from time delays, lack of information, and incorrect planning assumptions. The benefits of establishing push/pull boundaries in supply chains are shown to provide increased customer service levels with modest, if not reduced, levels of inventory. Dynamic supply chain models are used to determine product lifecycle costs and the impacts of improved reliability on lifecycle costs. A basic system dynamics model is used to show that the goal of a “lean and mean” supply chain can be dangerous in periods of economic, political, and climatic volatility, and strategies are developed for improved supply chain management and performance. Supply chain executives are faced increasingly with greater complexity, faster velocities, heightened volatility, and demands for cost reduction. This is an incendiary mix of business conditions. A dynamic perspective and system dynamics models as presented in this book can provide the tools for facing these challenging demands.
New Project: Toolkit improvement for mid– and long–term forecasting of the labor market
A project that was part of an open competition of the Ministry of the Latvian Republic concluded in April. The project, "Toolkit improvement for mid- and long-term forecasting of the labor market," resulted from a contract with the Riga Technical University. The project director and leading researcher was Society member Valerijs Skribans.
The project creates a model of forecasting of the labor market in Latvia using system dynamics methodology. The Latvian labor market's characteristic feature is high labour migration to highly developed European Union countries. The developed model will be based on research from "Influence of Labor Migration on Latvia's Labor Market," the results of which were presented in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA in 2009 at the Society's conference.
We hope the embodiment of this project will serve as powerful stimulus of the development of system dynamics not only in Latvia, but also in all Eastern Europe.Valerijs Skribans
Conference Hosts: Booz Allen Hamilton and Powersim Solutions
|Varieties of System Dynamics Practice|
| • Varieties of System Dynamics Practice
• Lessons from using System Dynamics for Complex Governmental Decisions
• Crafting System Dynamics Models and Making them Accessible: Lessons from 40 Years of Practice
| • Developing a theory of the societal lifecycle of cigarette smoking
• Bias and Variation in Medical Practices as Results of Experiential Learning
|Theory and Applications|
| • Applying System Dynamics to Overcome Unsuccessful Success Factor Research
• The Dutch Taxation on Airline Tickets: A system dynamics approach to model airport choice
• The Unintended Consequences of the Major League Baseball Free Agent Compensation System
|Internal and External Consulting|
| • The Systems Perspective in Business Planning
• The State of System Dynamics Consulting - 2011 Survey
| • Thinking in Circles about Obesity
• Managing the Dynamics of Erythropoiesis to Correct the Anemia of Chronic Renal Failure
• Modeling the Dynamics of Thyroid Hormones and Related Disorders
Plenary sessions will also include the annual Society Business Meeting and the Presidential Address, and presentationsof the System Dynamics Applications Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award, with addresses by the recipients.
Several special sessions and invited parallel sessions deserve note, including
A panel discussion on system dynamics research in Conflict, Defense, and Security,
A parallel session on Reflections and New Directions from the C-Roads climate project,
A noon-time roundtable focused on system dynamics modeling applied to International Development Work and World Bank operations.
Two invited, linked parallel sessions focused on K-12 Education and a K-12 special thread meeting.
The Conference Tentative Schedule also lists the hands-on workshops and tutorial sessions. Instructional workshops will be held in parallel on Thursday, July 28. For more information on workshops please use this link.
The 2011 System Dynamics Conference will bring together diverse perspectives on the application of modeling and simulation to important issues in the theory of complex dynamic systems and the practical use of these tools to address critical real-world challenges. The conference will benefit from its location in Washington, DC, by including plenary and convened sessions that focus on applications and impact in governance.
The Conference Venue: The newly renovated Hyatt Regency Crystal City hotel is within walking distance to the Metro, providing access to the entire DC area. The facilities are excellent. The hotel offers spacious, state-of-the-art conference facilities, an ideal setting for all conference activities, including program sessions, networking and socializing. For detailed information about the Hyatt Regency Crystal City hotel please see this link.
2011 Conference Contacts:
Theme: Our conference will focus on “Model-based Management,” a topic that will highlight the crucial role of formal models for the effective management of dynamic systems and the reasons why skills in modelling and simulation are becoming essential in policy-making, organizational design and learning. Submissions are encouraged on the conference main theme and all topics relating to the theory and practical application of system dynamics modelling. A special program is also planned so that business participants can benefit from the main theme.
Location: You will be surprised at how easily St. Gallen can be reached, at the beauty of the city and the surrounding lake and mountains. As a place intimately connected with the history of Europe and located in the magnificent landscape of Eastern Switzerland, St. Gallen provides an ideal setting for a conference. Part of the city, the Abbey Precinct, is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The city of St. Gallen is within a 55-minute direct train ride from the Zurich Airport. For further information please check http://www.st.gallen-bodensee.ch.
The Conference Venue: The conference will take place at the University of St. Gallen. The University features one of the leading Management Schools of Europe. It is famous for its pioneering achievements, e.g., in ecological economics and in systemic management. The University is located on a leafy campus only a ten-minute walk from the picturesque city centre.
Social Program: St. Gallen is a great starting point for excursions. In cooperation with the local tourist bureau, some group tours will be offered.
2012 Conference Contacts:
Watch for further announcements and details.
Members may download the Bibliography for free. Please send your new references to the Society office. We ask your help in improving the accuracy and usefulness of the Bibliography. Please check your entries for correctness; send any edits (including deletions of entries that have been superseded) to the Society office. Find the Bibliography on the Society website; click on Products / Bibliography.
Our plan to publish four issues of the System Dynamics Newsletter every year continues with this, the second issue of this year. Please send us your letters, news, photographs, and ideas to be included in one of the newsletters! Additionally, if you would like to contribute an article of interest to our community, please send your suggestion to the Society office.
All past newsletters, back to 1988, are available on the Society website under Publications.
|Jay W. Forrester
|J. Bradley Morrison
VP Chapter Activities
|Robert L. Eberlein
VP Electronic Presence
|David F. Andersen
|Etiënne A.J.A. Rouwette
VP Member Services
|George P. Richardson
|Brian C. Dangerfield
System Dynamics Review
Burcu Tan (2011-12)
|Ik Jae Chung
AVP Member Activities
|Edward G. Anderson
Anson Kin Tat Li
Ricardo Matos Chaim
Gloria Pérez Salazar
Justus Gallati and Lukas Schmid
Carol Frances, Michael Kennedy
Andrea Bassi, Luc Van Den Durpel
Vedat Diker, Peter Otto
Edward Andersen, Leonard Malczynski
Jill Slinger, Jim Duggan
Ralph Levine, David Lounsbury
Jose Gonzalez, Jose Mari Sarriegi
The System Dynamics Newsletter is published four times a year by the System Dynamics Society.
Editors: Roberta L. Spencer, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, Robin S. Langer, LouAnne Lundgren and Erin Sheehan