>> Brazil Chapter

The Brazil Chapter of the System Dynamics Society was originally created in 2003, linked to the Sociedade Brasileira de Dinâmica de Sistemas – SBDS. On January 11, 2011, the Chapter approved a new constitution. Currently, the Brazil Chapter and the SBDS are independent entities, but work in partnership to spread and consolidate system dynamics in Brazil.

The Chapter reorganization in January, 2011 was the beginning of an exciting period of activities and planning for the future. From 22 members at the time of reorganization, we grew to 34 full members (those who are affiliated with the System Dynamics Society) and 38 associate members (affiliated only with the Chapter). Increasing membership by reconnecting to former members and attracting new ones is a key Chapter mandate for 2013-2014. There are still 100+ interested persons known to the Society in Brazil.

The 100+ colleagues who were identified by the SBDS are being contacted, as part of a process of reconnecting with colleagues and pursuing new affiliations, with the goal to grow the Chapter and achieve critical mass. We believe that by the end of the next year, we will be able to double or triple our membership. Further growth will depend on our activities and the opportunities created by the Chapter.

Chapter members and leadership are deeply involved in structuring activities to be held regularly as the main tool to retain and attract new members, as well as to increase awareness of the system dynamics method in Brazil. Increased system dynamics utilization in academia, corporate and the government worlds is seen as the key to future growth of the Chapter and its membership. As part of this effort, the Chapter is conducting presentations online, an initiative of Elias Carvalho, the Chapter's Webmaster. Already there were five presentations:

The Chapter webpage provides an access to the above presentations, as well as our membership.

One of our Chapter members, Newton Paulo Bueno, recently published an article in the System Dynamics Review: "Assessing the resilience of small socio-ecological systems based on the dominant polarity of their feedback structure." This will certainly motivate other members to submit their work to the SDR. Also, there have been a growing number of papers submitted by Chapter members to the International Conferences of the SDS. There were eleven papers submitted to the 2013 ICSDS.

As determined in Article 8 of the Chapter Constitution, the Policy Council shall organize and carry out at least one annual substantive meeting to promote the exchange of educational experiences, research and professional expertise. Despite showing strong growth in the past two years, the Chapter is still fairly small, with a limited number of works in progress that would not justify holding a large conference. Therefore, we are aiming for a smaller event, of about 50 people, with nearly half of our attendees from the public and private sector and the other half from academia and consultants/vendors. With these measures, we hope to be able to generate a sustainable level of activity and promote continued growth in the system dynamics community in Brazil. In order to maximize attendance, São Paulo seems like the most fruitful location for this symposium, planned for 2014.

Submitted by: Marciano Morozowski, Brazil Chapter Liaison Back to Top

China Chapter

The most recent meeting of the China Chapter was held on August 31, 2013. Associate Prof. Ying Qian reported on her attendance at the 31st International Conference of the System Dynamics Society where she chaired the China Chapter meeting. A group of 15 representatives attended the China Chapter meeting where they shared their research, hoping for more research activities in which to participate.

Associate Prof. Yuyang Cai shared information about his teaching and research experience during his one-year visit to United States. At the first System Dynamics Academic Forum for Postgraduates in the beginning of November, 2013, Professor Bo Xu talked about specific issues and following arrangements.

The other regular two meetings were held on September 16, 2012 and May 11, 2013 respectively. The former one focused on summarizing the 2012 summer school of system dynamics and planning for the activities in 2013.

During the meeting on May 11, 2013, Associate Professor Lingling Li reported on her current achievements on the application of system thinking in entrepreneurship courses. Professor Bo Xu explained the regulations of the System Dynamics Professional Committee. Prof. Qifan Wang concluded the meeting and hoped that more intensive research works of system dynamics in macro-level should be carried out, gaining such achievements as those in 2000.

The modeling workshop on the application of system dynamics in environment and sustainable development was held on May 18, 2013 in Beijing with the purpose of exchanging ideas and sharing experience to upgrade the research ability on the related field.

Submitted by: Haiyan Yan Back to Top

>> German Chapter

The German Chapter (Deutsche Gesellschaft für System Dynamics e.V.) had 112 personal members and 10 institutional members by mid-2013. It seems as if growth in personal membership has reached a limit. Yet, the growing interest in supporting the Chapter by becoming an institutional member is encouraging for us. Moreover, more than 300 interested people receive the Chapter's newsletter in total.

The German Chapter's large national event, the year's Annual Conference, was held on June 13th and 14th, 2013, in Würzburg. It was jointly organized with the Faculty of Economics of the University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg. The event combined a set of presentations, a modeling session, and enough time for discussing with and meeting other system dynamicists. The overall focus of the meeting dealt with the challenges that the growing complexity poses on companies as well as on society and on ways to handle these. Professor John Morecroft gave the keynote speech on "Coordination, Complexity and Performance in Business and Society."

Another highlight was the presentation of the 6th Gert-von-Kortzfleisch-Award. It was awarded to Dr. Lars Weber for his PhD thesis on aging and shrinking societies and the consequences for economic growth. Another important part of the annual meeting was the doctoral students' colloquium. Five students presented their work. They initiated a lively dialogue and received valuable feedback from the audience. You can download a more comprehensive report on the 7th Annual Conference from the Chapter's website (in German). In addition to the talks, the exchange between system dynamicists was stimulated even further during the "Würzburg Wine Festival" on Thursday evening.

The annual administrative meeting of the German Chapter was held in the afternoon of the second day. We are happy to announce that Katharina Wachter was elected as a full member of the German Chapter's Board. She takes over the position of Vice President of Meetings. Welcome, Katharina!

The board consists of the following persons: President: Jürgen Strohhecker; Vice President Finance: Hans Kasperidus; Vice President System Dynamics in Education and Research: Florian Kapmeier; Vice President Practical Application of System Dynamics: Markus Salge; Vice President IT: Tom Kühner and;Vice President Meetings: Katharina Wachter.

The new homepage of the German Chapter was re-launched in July 2013 after an extensive phase of restructuring old and adding new content. The starting page shows a stream of notifications about system dynamics related events, articles and newsletters. A lot of content about upcoming and past annual conferences, present and former board members, and Gert-von-Kortzfleisch Award winners and jury members has been added, enabling the visitor to browse through the history of the German Chapter.

Further information on the Chapter's activities and events can be found at: www.systemdynamics.de (in German), or contact Jürgen Strohhecker at strohhecker@systemdynamics.de.

Submitted by: Jürgen Strohhecker Back to Top

>> India Chapter

1) The SDS India Chapter signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Club of Rome India Chapter to expand systems-based analysis of emerging issues related to the economy, environment and society in the Indian Subcontinent.

2) Please visit the newly redesigned website (still in beta): http://www.systemdynamics.co.in.

3) If you participated in the SDS Boston conference in July, please send us your pictures so we can upload them to our website. Furthermore, if you'd like us to include your research to the case studies repository on our website and share it with the wider system dynamics community, please send us PDF summaries of your research.

4) There have been a number of systems thinking workshops across the country, please keep us posted in advance about your systems thinking and modeling activities; if you plan to organize workshops we can inform members via our new website.

5) The governing council is in the process of updating the membership criteria to increase participation, contribution from the community as well as to provide greater benefits. If you have suggestions about how the Chapter could increase participation through membership please let us know.

6) In international news, this year, the system dynamics community awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. John Richardson for his work in sustainable development and public policy.

There are a number of activities in the pipeline planned for 2013-14; if there are any issues related to Chapter activities, please keep us posted via email.

Submitted by: Karak Khosla Back to Top

>> Latin America Chapter

The Latin America Chapter meeting that took place during the Cambridge conference was a great opportunity of interacting and being actively involved with different colleagues from the Society. This year the Chapter meeting had the presence of 28 colleagues from different countries, including Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, México, Ecuador, and Spain.

The Latin America Chapter Meeting at Cambridge Conference

The meeting dealt with the 11th Latin America System Dynamics Conference which will take place in México D.F., November 6 through 9, 2013. More information can be found at http://onceclads.com or Facebook or once.clads@gmail.com

We are working hard to celebrate 10 years of friendship gatherings around system dynamics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J58dzC1iYzU

If you want to joint to our distribution list please visit our website: http://dinamica-sistemas.mty.itesm.mx/index.html.

See you in México DF!!!!!

Submitted by: Gloria Pérez Salazar Back to Top

>> Business Special Interest Group

Business SIG Inaugural Meeting and Initiatives

The inaugural meeting of the recently established Business SIG was held on July 24 during the 31st International System Dynamics Conference in Cambridge, MA. The agenda for this well-attended meeting addressed several initiatives and areas for follow-up, including:

1) Case Repository expansion

One of the goals of the Business SIG is to support the expansion of the Case Repository and its accessibility through the Society web site (see http://cases.systemdynamics.org/). A new, simplified template for submission of candidate cases has been drafted and will be distributed in the near future.

A related activity of the SIG will be the identification and promotion of success stories for applications of system dynamics to business problems. The SIG will use its web presence and collaborate with the Society on the utilization of its communication channels to increase awareness of these success stories.

2) Corporate member category

Some preliminary exchange of ideas and background information has occurred in response to the suggestion that the Business SIG help establish a corporate member category in addition to the current individual member category. A corporate membership would be distinct from the corporate sponsor role, but it is expected that corporate sponsors would also be corporate members. Among the various features being considered for this membership category is some form of tiered discount structure to incentivize new member enrollments and renewals among employees as well as other Society benefits. A preliminary investigation of corporate membership benefits and practices in other professional societies has already been completed, and a draft list of specific features and benefits being considered for a new corporate member category for the Society is expected to be circulated for review later this fall.

3) Business/market intelligence

One proposed initiative currently in discussion is a form of data syndication that would be based on contributions by leading system dynamics software providers and other market participants of anonymous (i.e., no software vendor identification) selected business client profile info (e.g., business sector/type, region, number of users, business name if already in the public domain). The notion of data syndication is that contributors to the database would have access to the entire contents of the database once assembled. It is one idea (among others) for gaining a better understanding of the breadth and depth of the market for system dynamics and the distribution of practitioners across businesses. One goal is to use this added business intelligence re system dynamics usage to facilitate a more effective outreach and networking initiative (leading hopefully to more case study contributions and increased society/SIG participation) as well as to provide the software vendors and others a better view of the extent of the current market presence for system dynamics tools and users.

4) Society/conference collaborations

Among the most underutilized venues for raising the profile of system dynamics and its many business applications are the various simulation related conferences and sessions sponsored by a number of professional societies and consortia. Included in this group for example would be the annual Winter Simulation Conference, typically held in December (in Washington, DC starting Dec 8 this year) and organized by the Winter Sim Consortium, a professional society group that could be a desirable partner for the Society. There is a wide variety of annual conferences and topical or specialty meetings organized by INFORMS, ACM, IEEE, and many other societies (such as AOM), many of which could be considered prospective candidates for joint or sponsored sessions that showcase the work of system dynamics practitioners and researchers.

During the SIG discussion on this subject, it was suggested that the SIGs serve as the primary channel for collaboration with other professional societies in establishing Society-sponsored or joint society conference sessions relating to system dynamics applications in areas covered by these professional societies. The Business SIG community will be establishing contact with selected professional societies in the coming months to explore opportunities for developing sessions or session slots for system dynamics practitioners to present their work.

In support of this initiative, the SIG will poll its members for memberships in other professional societies. The expansion of this professional society registry effort to other SIGs and Chapters will be discussed with the Home Office of the Society to increase the contact points for other societies.

In addition to conference collaborations, the SIG will be exploring other venues for increasing awareness of system dynamics, its methodology, and achievements in business applications such as roundtables and webinars hosted for consultants, business leaders, business practitioners, etc.

5) Practitioner outreach, networking

A number of ideas surfaced at the SIG session on the topic of practitioner outreach and networking. One suggestion was to work more closely with the universities that offer system dynamics courses and degree programs (whose faculty are typically well represented at Society conferences) to track the business destinations of their students. The alumni organizations at these universities are a potential resource in addition to the faculty, particularly in the case of students who have been in the workforce for several years and who may have changed employers.

Another suggestion put forward was the adoption of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools and techniques to assist the SIGs and Chapters in networking, developing new members, tracking activities and initiatives, and collaborating across SIG/Chapter lines. It was noted that this sort of initiative may have to be sponsored and driven by the Society if a common CRM platform is to be adopted for all SIGs and Chapters, which may have benefits for the membership data management by the Society.

6) Application Award nominees

One of the designated activities of the Business SIG is to aid in the promotion and identification of candidates for Society awards, including the Application Award. This award recognizes noteworthy business applications of system dynamics, and the SIG community will be sharing observations and recommendations on this award in the coming months in preparation for the 32nd ISDC in Delft next summer.

7) Plans for 32nd ISDC, Technical University Delft

The next annual meeting of the Business SIG will be held at the 32nd ISDC in Delft, July 20-24, 2014. In addition to reporting on the progress of various activities and initiatives of the SIG, the SIG community will be assisting the Society well in advance of this meeting to identify session topics and work of business practitioners that should be considered for the conference.

8) Election of two leaders for the SIG

The Business SIG session held during the Cambridge conference in July served as the SIG's annual meeting, at which time two leaders are elected to lead the SIG for the year. Elected by acclamation at the session were Fred Kautz of Berkeley Research Group and Raafat Zaini of WPI.


Current membership in the Business SIG stands at 35. Group membership for the Business SIG on LinkedIn currently stands at 92.

As noted on the SIG's web page (see link below), membership in the Business SIG is open to all members of the System Dynamics Society as well as non-members who are system dynamics practitioners and SIG supporters in the business, academic, and government sectors.

Business SIG on the web

The SIG has established a web page within the site for the System Dynamics Society at http://sigs.systemdynamics.org/business/ as well as a page on the LinkedIn networking site at http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Business-SIG-System-Dynamics-Society-5083395?trk=myg_ugrp_ovr. Updates on SIG activities and related developments will be posted to both web sites.

Email for the SIG can be directed to business@sigs.systemdynamics.org and discussion threads can be posted to the SIG's page on LinkedIn.

Submitted by: Fred Kautz Back to Top

>> Energy Special Interest Group

In 2012 / 2013, the Energy Special Interest Group has continued its work to improve the possibility for collaboration between researchers and practitioners in the energy field. This year's main event was the meeting at the 2013 System Dynamics Society conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where plans were made to establish a program of webinars on energy.

A main venue for discussion and information exchange among SIG members is our forum on LinkedIn.com, which by now has grown to about 230 members. The forum continues to be used for invitations to collaborate on projects, job postings, and for modeling questions directed to the SIG community. It has also often served as an introduction to system dynamics for people who express an interest in the method.

If you wish to join the Energy SIG discussion forum, it can be found on LinkedIn.com – simply go there, search for Energy SIG / System Dynamics Society and request to join. Note that it requires a LinkedIn profile.

Submitted by: Stian Hackett and Isaac Dyner Back to Top

>> Environmental Special Interest Group

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Environmental SIG activities at the System Dynamics Conference this year. We had a very productive SIG meeting, and elected three representatives for the upcoming year: Asmeret Bier, Nicolas Escalante, and Bobby Jeffers. We discussed ideas for interacting outside of the conference, and some folks are interested in putting together a regular webinar for SIG members (including students) to present their work and get feedback from other participants. If you would like to participate or help to organize something like this, let us know. We also encourage you to consider organizing sessions at other conferences throughout the year. We continue to have two ways to keep in contact with other SIG members: the LinkedIn group (Environmental Special Interest Group of the System Dynamics Society) and the system dynamics forum, which includes an Energy and Environment thread. We are hoping to improve these discussions this year, and encourage your participation. Some ideas for things to discuss include:

Submitted by: Asmeret Bier Back to Top

>> Health Policy Special Interest Group

At the Health Policy SIG meeting, we discussed the following goals for the coming year:

To work toward these goals, we have updated the System Dynamics Society Health Policy SIG Website. The HP SIG website is now up and running. www.sigs.systemdynamics.org/health-policy. Check it out!

We have also created a LinkedIn group for our SIG, in hopes that it will foster collaboration, mentoring, and dialogue more generally in real time. It is private in that only members can see posts to that group. However, anyone can join the group (just as anyone can join the SIG). Please join the group–follow this link and click "join" www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=5178168&trk=anet_ug_hm.

The Discussions page facilitates general dialogue among Health Policy SIG members.

The Promotions page facilitates inter-SDS conference meetings. Going to a relevant conference? Post/review notes on the Promotions page and see if others are joining you. You can then organize a gathering among Health Policy SIG members during the course of that meeting.

The Jobs page facilitates collaboration. Hoping to collaborate on a project/grant? Hoping to find an internship placement? Post/review notes on the Jobs page and connect.

This year, we are creating a mentoring program for the Health Policy SIG, where interested SIG members can be matched (mentor to mentee) based upon interest. They will then have the opportunity to meet during the 2014 System Dynamics Society conference in Delft, Netherlands.

If you are interested in participating in the mentoring program, go to the LinkedIn Group Discussions page and click "like" for the mentoring post. www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=5178168&trk=anet_ug_hm.

In parallel with the real-time LinkedIn Group dialogue, we will be sending out a quarterly newsletter to all Health Policy SIG members. This newsletter will aim to report on and capture the main "happenings" of the group during each quarter as well as upcoming opportunities and events as submitted by members. The next one will be sent in November, then February, and then May). If you have updates that you would like to share with the group in the newsletter (instead of or in addition to via LinkedIn), please email them to health@sigs.systemdynamics.org.

Back to Top

Psychology Special Interest Group

Psychology SIG Selects New Co-Chair

Pascal Gambardella
The Psychology SIG met during the System Dynamics Conference this past summer. At this meeting Pascal Gambardella, PhD, was selected to serve as a new co-chair joining David Lounsbury, PhD. Ralph Levine, PhD, the previous co-chair, intends to stay involved with the group. The group also discussed member interests, psychological scales, and what we could do to support the SIG over the next year.

As a result of the meeting, the SIG established a shared Dropbox folder, which will support SIG activities and facilitate communication among members during this coming year. The Dropbox includes subfolders for shared models and useful presentations or new publications. Members are encouraged to submit work they would like to share. The Dropbox will also contain a "Member Profile" document that can be updated directly by members, to help keep its information current.

To facilitate use of the Dropbox, we will be sending all Psychology SIG members an email describing the folder's contents, how to access it, and rules for its use. Please contact either Pascal or David if you are not currently a SIG member and want access.

At the meeting, the diversity of Psychology SIG membership was discussed. Members represent a variety of professional backgrounds, including management, education, and engineering in addition to psychology, social work, and other social and behavioral sciences.

Members at the meeting also brought up the need for informal feedback and support in model building projects, including information on methods to help guide the design of models related to psychology or containing "soft" variables. In response, the co-chairs have offered to provide general consultation on such matters and to review models in any stage of development, upon request.

We also would like to report on member accomplishments during each year. For example, during the last year, David Lounsbury and colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY USA) were awarded a research grant by the National Institutes of Health (1R01DK97096; Judith Wylie-Rossett, PI). The research will use systems thinking and modeling to help New York City high schools plan and implement school policies and programs that promote healthy eating and more exercise. Pascal co-authored a book with Michael Hall called, Systemic Coaching: Coaching the Whole Person with Meta-Coaching. This book uses a variation of causal loop diagrams to illustrate a systemic view of a coaching session. This view helps the coach model the session to understand the client's issues, identify leverage points, and provide appropriate coaching.

The number of System Dynamics Society members who associate themselves with this SIG grew from 51 members in 2012 to 64 members in 2013.

For next year's System Dynamics Society Conference, we would like to organize one or more parallel sessions on "psycho-social-behavioral" modeling. We will solicit member input and work out the details on this and other suggestions in the coming months.

Submitted by: David Lounsbury and Pascal Gambardella Back to Top

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The System Dynamics Newsletter is published by the System Dynamics Society.
Editors: Kara James, Robin Langer, LouAnne Lundgren, Weijia Ran, Erin Sheehan, and Roberta L. Spencer.