Climate Change Awareness Across Africa (May 18, 2016)

Climate Interactive launched a new effort to expand climate change awareness across Africa. With tools that have helped decision-makers and citizens worldwide, Climate Interactive will be supporting people in leading the World Climate Simulation. At these events, people became "climate negotiators" tasked with agreeing on a global climate agreement to limit climate change. In the last year almost 15,000 people have participated in similar simulations worldwide, and for many it has been transformative in increasing their awareness and understanding of the challenge we face.

This effort was launched in partnership with the new Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Morocco and relies on the ongoing partnership Climate Interactive has with MIT Sloan School of Management, UML Climate Change Initiative, and others.

Climate Interactive hosted trainings for people interesting in facilitating World Climate Simulation events. Events were held in:
Nairobi, Kenya: May 26-27
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: June 1
Cape Town, South Africa: Week of June 6

Member Travis Franck, Program Director of Climate Interactive stated, “The System Dynamics chapters and community have been involved from the beginning, and their efforts are important because they are fundamental to organizing these initial events in Africa. Climate Interactive gives special thanks to the two System Dynamics Chapters, Africa Regional and South Africa, for helping launch this Africa-focused project. The meetings in Nairobi and Cape Town could not be done without the support of fellow system dynamicists and their networks.”

Announcing the Publication of Healthy Bytes by Tarek K. A. Hamid (May 16, 2016)

Member Tarek K. A. Hamid’s recently published book, Healthy Bytes, offers a fresh perspective to the management of personal health. It is described on the book’s website as “a novel approach to weight management–wielding the twin innovations of Systems Thinking and information technology in a form that’s accessible to the general reader–with the hope that it would have a profound influence on how ordinary people think about and manage their health and wellbeing.” Additional information is available at www.bookhealthybytes.com. Tarek, a Professor of Systems and Information Sciences at the Naval Postgraduate School, had received the 1994 Forrester Award for his first book, "Software Project Dynamics: An Integrated Approach".

Dr. Navid Ghaffarzadegan Receives Virginia Tech’s 2016 College of Engineering Dean’s Awards for Excellence (May 16, 2016)

At 19th Annual Dean’s Awards Reception on May 3, 2016, Assistant Professor Dr. Navid Ghaffarzadegan received the 2016 College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Professor. “The prestigious award was given to those at Assistant Faculty rank with an aptitude for teaching innovation, research, service, and outreach.” After serving as a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT, Navid joined the Industrial Systems Engineering department in 2013 as an assistant professor. Working in the management of systems, Navid specializes in organizational and behavior modeling in complex settings with focus on System Dynamics modeling. The System Dynamics Review journal has featured five of Navid’s fifteen published works. His 2014 paper concerning PhD graduates in science was published in Systems Research and Behavioral Science journal, has been featured in the magazines Discover and Cosmos. He is also recognized for his efforts in securing grants, which total almost $10 million. The full announcement of the award can be seen here. We would also like to note that Navid had previously worked as a graduate assistant for the System Dynamics Society! Congratulations, Navid! The Society wishes you continued success in all you do!

John Sterman Awarded 2016 Samuel E. Seegal Faculty Prize (May 10, 2016)

At the MIT Sloan Excellence in Teaching luncheon on May 9, 2016, member John Sterman was awarded the 2016 Samuel E. Seegal Faculty Prize. The prize is awarded every other year at MIT Sloan School of Management to a professor who “inspires students in pursuing and achieving excellence.” The Samuel M. Seegal Prize Fund was established in 1992 by Mrs. Paula Seegal-Thompson and her family in honor of their father, a member of the Class of 1922. The endowment funds a cash award prize that rotates between the Sloan School and Civil Engineering. On behalf of the System Dynamics Society, we would like to congratulate John on this prestigious award!

Announcing the Publication of Limits Revisited, a Review of the Limits to Growth Debate (May 9, 2016)

A new review of Club of Rome’s landmark publication Limits to Growth was published to coincide with the April 19, 2016 launch of the UK government’s newly established All Party Parliamentary Group on the Limits to Growth. The report Limits Revisited, commissioned by the APPG, was written by the University of Surrey’s Professor Tim Jackson and Robin Webster, a freelance environmental science writer. As stated in the press release, “Limits Revisited traces the history of the Club of Rome’s report and dispels some of the myths surrounding it. It assesses the historical accuracy of the report’s projections and unravels the debates it inspired over the intervening decades. No imminent exhaustion of physical resources is in sight; but production peaks for several key resources are likely within a few decades. Beyond that point, resources will be harder to extract and society will have to divert resources away from productive activities. Limits Revisited also draws attention to certain limits which were all but unforeseen in the 1972 report. It highlights in particular the enormous challenge of meeting the 1.50C climate change target established in the Paris Agreement. It also explores the economic and financial challenges of a ‘secular stagnation’.”

Read more in the full publication of Limits Revisited.

Access Hundreds of Free Insightful Articles and More with The Systems Thinker (May 5, 2016)

The Systems Thinker announced the launch of a website containing a completely free library of 800+ Systems Thinker articles, guides and webinars. The Systems Thinker works to catalyze effective change by expanding the use of systems approaches. This user-friendly site allows you to search articles in the collection or browse through the various categories, topics or sectors. You can also set up a free account to share and save your favorite articles. Visit thesystemsthinker.com to explore this incredible resource.

Oluwasegun Aluko Awarded the 2016 Student Prize at the UK System Dynamics Chapter Annual Conference (April 29, 2016)

At the UK System Dynamics Chapter Annual Conference, held on April 14, 2014, Oluwasegun Aluko from the University of Leeds was announced as the winner of the 2016 Student Prize for his paper “A Model for the Evaluation of Transport Safety Policies in Commercial Motorcycle Operation in Nigeria.” The five full paper entries for the student prize were accessed by four criteria: dynamics problem formulation, justified use of system dynamic methodology, model results and implementation and contribution to knowledge. The award announcement notes “Three features of Oluwasegun’s work stood out. Firstly, the range of policy changes that gave insight into how the driver behaviour could be improved. Secondly, the data extraction methods used. Semi-structured interviews with drivers were used in model construction and calibration. Thirdly, the potential transferability of the model to other forms of commercial taxi services across many developing countries where the operational issues are similar.” A copy of his presentation is available on the UK Chapter website.

Chris Spencer awarded the 2016 Geoff Coyle Medal (April 29, 2016)

On April 14, 2016, Chris Spencer was awarded the 2016 Geoff Coyle Medal at the 18th UK System Dynamics Chapter Annual Conference, for his work in developing the Sysdea System Dynamics software. The two outstanding features of the browser-based Sysdea software are the speed with which models can be created and the ease of sharing the models, either finished for review or in co-creation. These features are beneficial not only for teaching, but also practical business applications and even scientific use. The award announcement states “Chris Spencer is highly deserving of the prize and the policy council have no doubt that Geoff Coyle, once recovered from the shock of how easy Sysdea makes System Dynamics, would agree wholeheartedly.”

The Sysdea software that Chris developed can be found at www.sysdea.com. A copy of the presentation Chris gave at the conference is available on the UK Chapter website.

Washington Post article: Systems thinking as a key psychological driver for concern for environment (April 29, 2016)

Scientists now know the psychology behind your worries about the environment,” an article recently published in The Washington Post, focuses on a study authored by Oberlin College psychologist Paul Thibodeau and his colleague Stephen Lezak. The study that was just published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology finds that those with a tendency to engage in systems thinking - embracing complex, multifaceted causal explanations for phenomena and recognizing the unpredictability of how nature works - tend to value the environment more and to be more concerned about climate change. Thibodeau is quoted in the article, “the idea is that it’s encouraging people to think about longer chains of causality, nuanced aspects of a complex system, and how any behavior in that system can have both intended and unintended consequences, and those can be hard to predict.” The full article can be read here.

Climate Interactive Encourages "Multisolving" – the search for systemic solutions (April 29, 2016)

Multisolving is the implementation of strategies that improve health, well-being, social justice and resilience which, in turn, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate. Walkable neighborhoods, for example, can reduce pollution from cars, improve people’s health, and revitalize and connect communities. Climate Interactive encourages the use of FLOWER (the Framework for Long-term, Whole-system, Equity Based Reflection), a visual framework for multisolving that provides users a diagram of the six common types of co-benefits of actions to protect the climate: benefits to health, well-being, and safety; energy industry and mobility; food and water; jobs and assets; resilience to extreme events; and connection to the environment and human communities. Learn more about FLOWER and multisolving here.

Society President Etiënne Rouwette Gave Inaugural Speech: Messy problems: from black and white to color, April 28, 2016 (April 28, 2016)

On Friday, April 22, Etienne Rouwette gave his inaugural speech as the newly appointed Chair, Research and Intervention Methodology, at Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University. His lecture talked about when there is an issue that is more important, the more likely it is that a group of people is responsible for decision making. It's surprising then to realize that discussing issues in groups has not fundamentally changed over the last centuries. Nowadays we have access to a huge amount of information, more and more stakeholders want to have a voice and complex challenges are all around us. And yet a meeting is still a group of people who talk to one another. It is time to bring the meeting into the 21st century and this lecture tells you how. In particular for complex, messy problems issues it is difficult to obtain an overview and to find a solution that is supported by all stakeholders. Some stakeholders are already in the solution mode: if only everyone would implement the plan that we have come up with, the problem would be solved. Approaches such as these are likely to lead to a deadlock and increased frustration. What works better is to ask each stakeholder for their opinions and to combine these in a coherent view of the issue at hand. For this we need an approach to structure information, so that we increase insight into the relationships between ideas and arrive at a shared understanding. Solutions that are based on this approach do work and will be implemented. This lecture deals with methods that create progress in messy problems.

Etiënne Rouwette is Professor of Research and Intervention Methodology at the Nijmegen School of Management. He focuses on supporting group decision making, using methods such as System Dynamics and group model building, scenario analysis and electronic meeting systems. He is particularly interested in the effect of these methods on communication, attitudes and the behaviour of participants.

Member Gautam N. Yadama’s Study Published in International Journal for Equality in Health (April 27, 2016)

On April 26, 2016, International Journal for Equity in Health published the study “Dynamics of sustained use and abandonment of clean cooking systems: study protocol for community-based system dynamics modeling,” the work of member Gautam N. Yadama, along with colleagues Praveen Kumar and Nishesh Chalise. As stated in the abstract, “More than 3 billion of the world’s population are affected by household air pollution from relying on unprocessed solid fuels for heating and cooking. Household air pollution is harmful to human health, climate, and environment. Sustained uptake and use of cleaner cooking technologies and fuels are proposed as solutions to this problem. In this paper, we present our study protocol aimed at understanding multiple interacting feedback mechanisms involved in the dynamic behavior between social, ecological, and technological systems driving sustained use or abandonment of cleaner cooking technologies among the rural poor in India." Read more about this study in the International Journal for Equity in Health.

BSIG Webinar with Jim Rogers, Thursday April 28 (April 26, 2016)

On Thursday, April 28, the Business Special Interest Group of the System Dynamics Society hosted their latest webinar “Dynamic Healthcare Models- accelerating diffusion and adoption” with guest presenter Jim Rogers of Advance Management Group. Jim, who has been consulting with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota since 1997, discussed the use of System Dynamics models to improve patients’ quality of life while lowering the cost of care, using SD models for current research and insights for action, and drafting a framework towards model-informed, personalized care.

Please visit the webinar website. Information about the Business SIG and the other Special Interest Groups of System Dynamics Society is available on our website.

Society Members Gary Hirsch and Krys Stave Presented at Innovations in Collaborative Modeling Conference (April 26, 2016)

Gary Hirsch presented “The ReThink Health Model: Supporting Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration in Local Communities,” and Krystyna Stave presented “Exploring the Nature of Insight in Participatory System Dynamics Modeling.” Other presentations included the titles “Biases, Beliefs and Values in Participatory Modeling and Citizen Science” and “Unity over Discipline: Tales from the Borderlands of Two Cultures.” For more information about the conference, visit the ICM website. The conference dates were June 14-15, 2016.

New Analysis Released by Members John Sterman and Andrew Jones Discussed in Online Publication (April 25, 2016)

The article “Paris Agreement Pledges Must Be Strengthened in Next Few Years to Limit Warming to 2°C,” released on April 20, 2016, details the new analysis of the Climate Scoreboard, a project lead by John Sterman of MIT Sloan and Andrew Jones and Ellie Johnston of Climate Interactive. In the article, Dr. John Sterman stated “Paris is a major step. But the current pledges defer the emissions reductions needed to keep warming below 2°C until after 2030. By then, substantial additional fossil fuel infrastructure would be built, only to become stranded assets after 2030 at great cost to the companies that built them and the citizens of the nations who financed them.” Information on the computer simulation used by the Climate Scoreboard is available for public use at www.climateinteractive.org/tools/scoreboard/.

New PhD: Member Chris Browne Passed the Examination of His PhD Dissertation (April 25, 2016)

We are happy to share the news that member Chris Browne has recently passed the examination of his PhD dissertation! Chris is Lecturer and Tuckwell Fellow at the Research School of Engineering, Australian National University. Chris gratefully acknowledges those individuals and organizations in the System Dynamics community who contributed to and supported him in the development of his PhD thesis, titled “A Double-Loop Learning Approach to Construct Understanding of Accumulation Principles.” Congratulations and best wishes on a successful future, Dr. Browne!

System Dynamics Research Published in Technological Forecasting and Social Change: An International Journal (April 21, 2016)

The March 2016 issue of Technological Forecasting and Social Change: An International Journal features the research article titled “A system dynamics based market agent model simulating future powertrain technology transition: Scenarios in the EU light duty vehicle road transport sector.” This study is the work of System Dynamics Society members, Lee Jones and Andrew Hill, and their colleagues Guzay Pasaoglu, Gillian Harrison, Alexandre Beaudet, and Christian Thiel.

The highlights of this research include: “simulation model to analyze the trends in the EU passenger road transport sector, analysis of technology transition in the EU passenger road transport, understanding of the market dynamics of the future EU road transport sector, modelling and analysis of interactions between agents in the EU road transport, and scenarios to explore how alternative power-trains may replace conventional vehicles.”

Editorial changes at the System Dynamics Review (April 20, 2016)

Many thanks to Rogelio Oliva, the outgoing Executive Editor of the System Dynamics Review. Since the first issue in 1985, Rogelio was the fifth Executive Editor. The other four previous editors were Eric F. Wolstenholme, George P. Richardson, Graham W. Winch, and Brian Dangerfield. Their expertise and service has been greatly appreciated.

The Society would like to welcome Yaman Barlas as the new Executive Editor of the System Dynamics Review. Yaman’s editorship began in January 2016, with Volume 32, issue number 1. Yaman invites members of the Society to submit their best research and application papers to the Review.

Now in the 32nd year of publication, topics of peer-reviewed articles have ranged from "Aggregation in System Dynamics" (R. Joel Rahn. System Dynamics Review 1, no. 1 (1985)) to "'The potential of learning from erroneous models" (Frances M. Wijnen, Yvonne G. Mulder, Stephen M. Alessi and Lars Bollen. System Dynamics Review 31, no. 3-4 (2015)).

An all-inclusive list of articles published in the System Dynamics Review and a complete list of all members of the editorial board may be found on the Society website. Congratulations and welcome to Yaman!

Agriculture & Food SIG, the Society’s Newest Special Interest Group (April 20, 2016)

The newly created Agriculture and Food (A&F) SIG will serve as a focal point for food systems researchers in the System Dynamics community. Albreto Stanislao Atzori and Stefano Armenia, leaders of the A&F SIG and representatives to the Society, envision this SIG to attract interest not only from those in the field of agricultural sciences, but also in a broad range of disciplines, including such areas as food science, rural sociology, veterinary sciences, plant pathology, environmental engineering, public policy, biology and urban planning.

Their proposal states “The dynamics of food systems often have important impacts on the well-being of agriculture producers and consumers, the environment and nutritional outcomes. Given their importance, food systems have been the focus of many policy initiatives, including farm-level support policies, environmental regulations, food safety requirements and price interventions. The proposed SIG will focus on food systems as integrated dynamic systems in which economic, social and biophysical are important elements to enhance our understanding and management.”

Information on joining the Agriculture and Food Special Interest Group is available on our website.

Motion to Establish a VP K-12 Education (April 20, 2016)

The System Dynamics Society Policy Council has approved a motion to add a new office in 2017, Vice President K-12 Education. The Vice President K-12 Education will be responsible for matters related to the use of System Dynamics in pre-college education, working to promote and support the use of System Dynamics. The Vice President K-12 Education will also assist pre-college educators with the adoption and development of programs-based systems, encourage activities and events to assist pre-college educators, and foster effective communication and cooperation with other organizations contributing to the development of System Dynamics in pre-college education. For information on Policy Council and other governance matters, please visit the Society’s Governance page.

System Dynamics Featured in “Of Wolves And Sheep” Post on Online Publishing Insider (April 20, 2016)

The April 14, 2016 post on Online Publishing Insider, “Of Wolves And Sheep,” by Paolo Gaudiano, discusses the well-known predator-prey Systems Dynamics model. The population dynamics model simulates the relationship between wolves and sheep being the only two animals in existence. The article states “One troubling aspect of predator-prey models is that, in many cases, they are unstable: Under most conditions the populations exhibit feast-to-famine swings, until at some point either the last wolf dies, leading to an explosion in the sheep population, or the wolves eat all the sheep and then they too become extinct, having annihilated their food supply.” Gaudiano talks about the current situation of the growing population and “careless” consumption of resources. The author relates the predator-prey model to another situation, “the Internet was like an immense field. Internet users, like our peaceful sheep, grazed on information: the digital equivalent of nutritious grass…” In conclusion, he writes “Unless greed is put in check, oscillations will continue until eventually one or more of these populations will drive themselves to extinction.”

Professor John Richardson Shares Latest Updates from National University of Singapore (April 14, 2016)

Member John Richardson is a Visiting Professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Residential College 4, and an Honorary Fellow at Temasek Defence Systems Institute at National University of Singapore. In April, John gave a public lecture to the Graduate Seminar in Defense Technology and Systems of the National University of Singapore's Temasek Defense Systems Institute. In the seminar, titled “Messages from ‘Global Models’ About Interdependence, Sustainable Development and the Future of Our Human Species,” John discussed the models that target exponential growth in population, economic output, consumption of natural resources and pollution as global-scale threats.

On May 3, 2016, students from the Lee Kuan Yew School and other NUS (National University of Singapore) programs presented their original model-based public policy oriented projects. The event recognized the students’ achievements in the challenging class titled “Dynamic Modeling of Public Policy Systems” instructed by John Richardson. Eleven presentations were in four subject-matter areas; Health Care Dynamics, Economic Dynamics, Population Dynamics and Political Dynamics. Final projects, oral and written, provided class members with the opportunity to demonstrate the level of mastery they have attained. They were expected to define a policy relevant problem and craft a dynamic computer simulation model of that problem using the Vensim graphical user interface software. After rigorous validity and robustness testing, the model was used to diagnose the problem and point to accessible and compelling policy recommendations.

In other news, John had also been interviewed by the German Public Broadcaster Westdeutsche Rundfunk in Cologne and Dortmund for the program “Time Signal.” The interviewer, Andrea Kath, had connected with John after having read his System Dynamics book Paradise Poisoned. The 30-minute interview was about the life of Sri Lanka's first woman Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

New Issue of System Dynamics Review Available (April 18, 2016)

The Society is pleased to announce that the October/December issue of System Dynamics Review is now available on the Wiley Online Library. This issue features the research articles “Cows, agency, and the significance of operational thinking” (pages 183-219) by Camilo Olaya; “On generating and exploring the behavior space of complex models” (pages 220-249) by Erik Pruyt and Tushith Islam; and “The potential of learning from erroneous models: comparing three types of model instruction” (page 250-270) by Frances M. Wijnen, Yvonne G. Mulder, Stephen M. Alessi and Lars Bollen. In addition, this issue includes the “notes and insights” article “Maintaining stock and flow: a constructive alignment approach to training system dynamicists” (pages 271-283) by Albert Munoz and Matthew Pepper.

New Publication by Members John Lyneis and John Sterman (April 13, 2016)

The MIT Sloan School Management Review, Big Idea: Sustainability Blog recently posted the article on green buildings and System Dynamics titled “The MIT Sloan School found that when you crunch the numbers, you can’t afford not to.” This post highlights work done by members John Lyneis and John Sterman in a new paper in the journal Academy of Management Discoveries: “How to Save a Leaky Ship: Capability Traps and the Failure of Win-Win Investments in Sustainability and Social Responsibility.”

The full paper, documenting the project was presented in July 2015 at the International Conference of the System Dynamics Society. It is available with a video abstract and a link to a simple simulator of the capability trap.

Member J. Chris White Named President of pmBLOX, Inc. (April 12, 2016)

Member J. Chris White has been named the President of pmBLOX, Inc. pmBLOX is a commercially available project planning and management tool that has System Dynamics modeling and simulation as its foundation. A book has recently been published by Chris and fellow member Robert Sholtes on the Dynamic Progress Method (DPM), the underlying approach used in pmBLOX. DPM offers a major innovation over the current Critical Path Method used in other project management tools. Chris is also President of ViaSim Solutions, the company that originally created pmBLOX through the Department of Defense Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program with DARPA. pmBLOX, Inc. is now the commercial retailer of pmBLOX. pmBLOX, Inc. has also been accepted into the 2016 class of Tech Wildcatters, the #5 technology/business incubator in the U.S. based in Dallas, TX. On behalf of the Society, congratulations to Chris! We wish you the best of luck in your new position.

Spring 2016 Issue of The Exchange is Available Online (April 8, 2016)

The Spring 2016 issue of The Exchange features various articles about educators engaging young students in System Dynamics modeling, including “Building the Behind Closed Gates Model,” an activity created by Anne LaVigne. This model building activity explores the situations of power and control based on an experiment about prison environment that was conducted at Stanford University. Also featured is “Among the Hidden,” Gail Falewicz’s summary of her 5th grade Critical Thinking and Reading class, and a reflection of the successful DynamiQueST 2016, which was held this past March at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Read more on these topics by visiting the Creative Learning Exchange website.

Important announcements included in this issue:

Bibliography News (April 8, 2016)

The ‘2016a’ version of the System Dynamics Bibliography has been uploaded. There are four different formats to choose from for download.

The items most recently added to the Bibliography appear on the Bibliographic Updates page. New references are added to the Updates page and remain there for easy access to ‘what is new’ in the Bibliography. Items are listed with the most recent addition at the top of the list. For references other than journal articles take a look at the ‘Updated Information’ at the bottom of the page.

The 2016a version of the Bibliography contains 11,353 items. References include 2,540 journal articles, 6,711 conference papers, 424 books, 464 book sections, 123 edited books, and 4 e-books. As you can see, there are a many resources in the Bibliography.

If you have a System Dynamics or systems thinking article, book, discussion paper, or other reference item for our Bibliography, please send it to office@systemdynamics.org.

New Book: The Dynamic Progress Method: Using Advanced Simulation to Improve Project Planning and Management (April 4, 2016)

This new book by members J. Chris White and Robert M. Sholtes brings the power of advanced simulation techniques into the world of project management. The book summary states “Recent computer-based tools for project planning and management focus on user-friendliness and interconnectivity. However, these programs function on the Critical Path Method, or CPM, which was created in the 1950s. These programs, which involve simplistic models and methods, ignore the fact that the underlying computations on which they function have become woefully inadequate for the complex projects of today.

The product of nearly a decade of work, The Dynamic Progress Method: Using Advanced Simulation to Improve Project Planning and Management provides an overview of the research conducted while illustrating some of the issues with current approaches. It presents the Dynamic Progress Method (DPM), an innovative simulation-based approach to project management. It also includes instructions on how to use the accompanying DPM-based simulation tool pmBLOX to plan, manage, and analyze projects.” To learn more about the book and how to order visit the publisher’s page.

New Video-based Guides for System Dynamics Online Software (March 31, 2016)

Strategy Dynamics announced the release of two video-based guides to the Sysdea System Dynamics online software.

The videos in the full-length user-guide demonstrate all of Sysdea's current features, used in developing a simple model. These full-length videos are intended for people new to system dynamics.

The short user-guide videos show each feature with minimum explanation, for quick reference by experienced users.

Sysdea runs in most browsers (there is nothing to install) and requires an online account, free and fully functioning for a one month trial, from www.sysdea.com. All features are available to all users - there is no restricted “Professional” feature-set. These videos will soon be supplemented by a book-format guide and feedback is welcome, send to contact@sysdea.com.

“Boletín de Dinámica de Sistemas” celebrated 15 years of publication! (March 28, 2016)

This June, the “Boletín de Dinámica de Sistemas” (“Bulletin of System Dynamics”) celebrated 15 years of publication. “Boletín de Dinámica de Sistemas” is a quarterly online publication in Spanish that includes the individual final work of students as a way to motivate them. The published papers are the works of students living in Latin American countries including Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. Although the bulletin features a wide range of topics, the papers primarily address issues of environment and sustainability, such as the management of natural resources within fisheries. There are also many works on pollution, new energy sources and waste management. Another important group of published works deals with the topics of business, including sales and production management. Congratulations “Boletín de Dinámica de Sistemas” on this significant milestone!

2nd Asia Pacific Region System Dynamics Conference, Singapore, Feb. 19-22, 2017 (March 28, 2016)

The System Dynamics Society is pleased to announce the 2nd Asia Pacific Region System Dynamics Conference which will be held at the National University of Singapore. Academics, consultants, students, managers and policy makers are invited to attend the three day conference, the theme of which is “Charting a path to a humane and sustainable future: Asia’s Leadership Role.”

The conference, featuring local and international speakers, will begin on Sunday, February 19, 2017 with a graduate research colloquium. The opening ceremony on Monday will kick off the first of two full conference days and will be followed by a half-day workshop that concludes the conference on Wednesday, February 22.

The program committee seeks to popularize and extend systems thinking and system dynamics modeling in the Asia Pacific region by facilitating interactions between practitioners from the region and around the world, introducing newcomers to the field and keeping practitioners aware of current developments. The conference will emphasize the public policy issues relating to sustainability, resilience and human well-being of particular relevance to the region. Because of the Residential College 4’s sponsorship role, emphasis will also be given to the effective teaching of system thinking and system dynamics modeling as a part of general education curricula for upper level secondary school and for first and second year undergraduate students.

New Article in BMC Geriatrics by Society Members John P. Ansah, David B. Matchar, and Chang Liu (March 24, 2016)

Members John Ansah, David Matchar and Chang Liu along with coauthors Rahul Malhotra, Sean R. Love and Young Do have published the article "Projecting the effects of long-term care policy on the labor market participation of primary informal family caregivers of elderly with disability: insights from a dynamic simulation model" in the journal BMC Geriatrics. The background of this paper states "Using Singapore as a case study, this paper aims to understand the effects of the current long-term care policy and various alternative policy options on the labor market participation of primary informal family caregivers of elderly with disability." A model of the long-term care system in Singapore was developed using System Dynamics methodology. The results show "Under the current long-term care policy, by 2030, 6.9 percent of primary informal family caregivers (0.34 percent of the domestic labor supply) are expected to withdraw from the labor market. Alternative policy options reduce primary informal family caregiver labor market withdrawal; however, the number of workers required to scale up long-term care services is greater than the number of caregivers who can be expected to return to the labor market."

4th Annual System Dynamics Conference, 17-18 November 2016, Stellenbosch, South Africa, Call for Extended Abstracts (March 23, 2016)

South African System Dynamics Chapter (SASD) is hosting their 4th Annual System Dynamics Conference, Facilitating Just Transitions, November 17-18, in Stellenbosch. SASD invites the submission of extended abstracts that entail a diversity of domains, disciplines and stakeholders.

The conference overview states “South Africa has experienced a difficult socio-political-economic transition, and still does, in the face of the many challenges that are characteristic of a developing society. The extreme poor live, ironically, in one of the most carbon-intensive economies, which is based on a “mineral complex.” Thus, one finds the fundamental socio-economic problems of inequality, unemployment, chronic diseases, drug addiction, crime and resource exploitation that remain intact in a democratic space that has made possible countless innovations and changes across multiple other spectrums.”

View the full brochure for important conference details and dates. Follow the link to learn more about submission guidelines. For information on registration please contact the organizing team at info@systemdynamics.org.

Systems thinking article on child protection now available for free download (March 22, 2016)

The article by David Lane, Eileen Munro and Elke Husemann appears in the European Journal of Operational Research. It describes a high profile examination of child protection in England, conducted for the UK Department for Education, which has had a profound impact on practice in the field. The article goes behind the scenes to explain the consequences of historic policies and shows how a systemically coherent set of policy recommendations was developed. The work received the 2014 President’s Medal of the Operational Research Society. The article is downloadable for free here.

Call for Papers: XIV Latin American Conference on Systems Dynamics (CLADS) (March 22, 2016)

The Latin American and Brazil Chapters of the System Dynamics Society is pleased to announce the XIV Latin American Conference on Systems Dynamics (CLADS 2016), from October 19-21, 2016 at the University Center FEI, São Paulo, Brazil. This three day conference includes national and international speakers, parallel sessions, poster presentations, and workshops.

Economic crises, environmental changes, and epidemics … how can we use the methodology of System Dynamics to interpret these situations and propose solutions that lead to a better world? The CLADS 2016 is an opportunity to exchange ideas, explore current applications and enrich social networks. Please see the Call for Papers with more information on submission formatting guidelines, program aims, key dates, and the organizing committee.

A Virtual Way to Experience the Habits of a Systems Thinker (March 22, 2016)

The Waters Foundation is selling a new Android app “Habits of a Systems Thinker.” The ST Habits app describes ways of thinking about how systems work and how actions taken can impact results seen over time. They encompass a spectrum of thinking strategies that foster problem-solving and encourage questioning. The Habits also encourage flexible thinking and appreciation of new, emerging insights and multiple perspectives. A video with a quick tour of the app is online. Visit the website for purchasing information. (Coming soon for iOS devices.)

“Der Meister der Simulation” (March 22, 2016)

On February 22, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,” a leading newspaper in Germany, published an article titled “Der Meister der Simulation” (The Master of Simulation) featuring Jay W. Forrester. It is the second in a series on “computer world creators,” the first article was about Robert M. Metcalfe, "The Master of the Ethernet.”

In this article, after some introductory remarks about the fascination of SimCity and like simulators, it starts with Jay´s life on the farm. As a nine-year-old boy he drove the family´s Model T and very soon was also repairing it, he invented mechanisms for a mowing machine, built an electric fly trap, and electrified the house with a 12 Volt wind mill.

After earning his bachelor degree, Forrester went to MIT, where he met Gordon S. Brown who introduced him to the concepts of servomechanisms and feedback. In 1944 he became the leader of the “Whirlwind” project and turned it from an analogue into a digital machine -- a giant step forward. Ken Olson, the later founder of DEC, worked as Jay’s student. Jay then went on to manage the SAGE project with even far greater computer dimensions and huge energy consumption. Great inventions like the core storage device were results of these activities.

In 1956 Jay Forrester turned away from engineering and focused on management; the fluctuations he observed in management systems were a challenge to him. Industrial Dynamics (1961) was the key publication of this time. Later, while at MIT, he became close to the former mayor of Boston, John F. Collins, and their discussions lead him to writing Urban Dynamics (1969.) In 1971 Forrester's World Dynamics followed, which he originally thought would be of interest to perhaps only 200 researchers in total, but with the Club of Rome and its Limits to Growth (Die Grenzen des Wachstums), it was discussed worldwide. Limits to Growth started the sustainability debate of our days.

The articles concludes with “One has to listen to the nearly one hundred-year-old and still ascetic Forrester, and how he analyzes the hopelessly overcome equilibrium models of economists, to understand the enormous potential of his ideas.” (Apologies for translation inaccuracies.)

Member Sibel Eker Appointed Research Associate (March 22, 2016)

Member Sibel Eker has been appointed as Research Associate at University College London, starting February 2016. Sibel will work on a project that applies systems thinking to the housing sector and links housing, energy, and wellbeing aspects. Sibel studied at Delft University of Technology and graduated in March 2016 with a PhD thesis that investigated robust policy options for the Dutch gas sector by using a System Dynamics simulation model. Last year Sibel provided extraordinary service to the Student Chapter of the System Dynamics Society as the co-organizer of the PhD Students’ Colloquium at the Cambridge, Massachusetts conference. On behalf of the Society, congratulations and good luck to Sibel!

Member Khalid Saeed: Economic Initiatives of China in a Pardee Center Seminar (March 8, 2016)

The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University hosted a seminar in March exploring the implications of the “one belt, one road” economic initiative to connect China with central and Southeast Asia, India, Africa and Europe. Professor Deborah Bräutigam of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies joined Professors Min Ye and Julie Klinger, both of the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and System Dynamics Society member Khalid Saeed of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in discussing the question: “The New Silk Roads: Will China’s Investments Enrich the World?”

SDS Business SIG Webinar Episode 1: Dynamics Business Models (March 8, 2016)

Much has been written about the importance of business models. Business Schools teach whole courses on the topic and consultants urge clients to innovate by changing those business models. But current definitions are ambiguous and qualitative. More seriously, those business model frameworks make? no attempt to quantify anything or show how and why the business actually performs as it does – they are descriptive “statues”, rather than true models. The webinar by Kim Warren, of Strategy Dynamics, that was streamed live on Feb 25, 2016 is available now on YouTube. Kim demonstrates that it is possible to develop working, quantified business models that replicate how a real business (or a part of it) performs over time. This makes many important things possible: new ventures can be bench-tested before real money or people's livelihoods are put at risk; market competition can be managed to the firm's advantage; integrated business plans cutting across functional silos can be tested and shared by everyone; big challenges or initiatives can be rehearsed before they happen; and detailed, time-phased action-plans assembled and continually updated. You may view the one-hour Business Special Interest Group webinar Episode 1 at Dynamic Business Models.

NASPAA Announces the 2016 Student Simulation Competition Winners (March 01, 2016)

The National Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) conducted the 2nd Annual Student Simulation Competition in Washington DC on February 27th. This year, the simulation challenge was to create an implementable plan to limit global warming. Using the sophisticated Climate Interactive simulation, built using the System Dynamics method called En-Roads, students from 135 universities across the globe formed regional teams and competed off site. The winning team of 18 students met the morning of the competition at the United Nations University, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. Congratulations to the Maastricht Team:
  • Mohammad Alrefai, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies
  • Shreya Bhattacharya, Central European University
  • Marion Charpentier, Maastricht University
  • Deepal Doshi, University of Bonn
  • Lize Duminy, University of Bergen
  • Mahmoud El-Refai, American University in Cairo
  • Manuel Friedlein, Maastricht University
  • Teodora Monica Fulga, Bucharest University of Economic Studies
  • Nick Germanacos, Maastricht University
  • Hugo Herrera, University of Palermo
  • Audrey Hobbelen, Maastricht University
  • Brendan Johannsen, Sciences Po
  • Paul Langer, University of Speyer
  • Jill LaPlante, Maastricht University
  • Sarah Neehus, Maastricht University
  • Hanh Nguyen, Central European University
  • Ennio Valentino Picucci, Maastricht University
  • Zhan Yi Debby Roxanne Wong, Sciences Po
NASPAA Conference and Operations Director Emily Reineke brought the competition into existence. Rebecca Niles, Krys Wiles and Rod MacDonald are recognized for their technical support of the event. Also, thanks to judges David Andersen, Steve Cohen, and Steve Kaagan for their enthusiastic involvement. To review the policy proposals of the Maastricht team and learn more about NASPAA and the Student Simulation Competition, visit the following press release.


(March 23, 2016) This past February, the National Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) conducted the 2nd Annual Student Competition which was held in seven regional sites in the United States and in Maastricht, the Netherlands. This event has made quite an impact on those who participated! As students reflect back on their experience, here’s what they are saying:

Lize Duminy posted on the System Dynamics Discussion Forum web page: “The primary expertise I depended on during policy negotiations was the ability to communicate the dynamic structure and causal links of the En-ROADS model to non-technical experts in my team, especially those who came from a non-quantitative background.”

Hugo Herrera posted on the SDForum web page, “… beside the tangible outcome, the experience reminded me about two important facts of System Dynamics: the power of simulations to help decision makers to think systemically and the political dimension of the decision-making process.”

Deepal Doshi gave a detailed account of her experience in a recent blog post. “Having participated in Model United Nations simulations before, I thought I knew what this would be like. However, this was completely different. The preparatory material for the competition was given 48 hours prior to the day of the competition This included the main case, a sector briefing, worksheets and charts for the simulator.… Working under time pressure made the task at hand more difficult.” (See earlier news below titled “NASPAA Announces the 2016 Student Simulation Competition Winners.”)

Proceedings Now Available - Latin American Chapter Conference (February 27, 2016)

The Latin American Chapter reported another successful conference—XIII CLADS—occurred in October 2015. 171 participants from Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, USA, Italy, and Mexico attended the meeting in the beautiful port city of Cartagena, Colombia. Parallel and poster presentations as well as plenary lectures were instructive. Proceedings for this conference are now available in a PDF file.

Plan now for XIV CLADS in Sao Paulo, Brazil, October 19-21, 2016. Papers in Spanish, Portuguese or English may be submitted.

Secondary School Students Use System Dynamics to Understand the Chagas Disease in Latin America (February 27, 2016)

The Shelburne News reported that three Vermont Commons School students, with guidance from their science instructor and a University of Vermont engineering professor, developed a System Dynamics model to analyze the impact of the Chagas disease in Latin American countries. With grant support from the National Science Foundation for their research, these students traveled to San Francisco to present model findings at the American Geophysical Union conference in December. NSF grant support was received by the VCS Science Chair, Peter Goff in partnership with the University of Vermont, Loyola University and La Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. Read more about this exciting application of System Dynamics in secondary school education here.

Extend the Learning of Economics with Dynamic Modeling (February 18, 2016)

At the University of Bergen in Norway, David Wheat and his colleagues at two Ukrainian institutions--the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and the Ivan Franko Lviv National University--are collaborating on a project called "Extend the Learning of Economics with Dynamic Modeling." Funded by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, the project's primary educational purpose is building dynamic modeling capacity at the Ukrainian universities. The project leaders' strategy is three-fold: train the Ukrainian trainers in Bergen, train on-site in Ukraine, and provide online training to sustain the collaboration in the years ahead. During the four-year project, 40 students and 4 early-career professors from Ukraine will develop System Dynamics modeling skills in Bergen, and gain additional skills to train their colleagues when they return to Ukraine. Traditional on-site classroom courses in System Dynamics will also be developed and will be supplemented by two online courses in economic dynamics. Collaboration between these universities began three years ago, and the new grant provides an opportunity to continue that work and extend it into new areas. For example, Wheat and his Ukrainian colleagues have plans to extend their reach beyond the university classrooms, with workshops planned for economists at the National Bank of Ukraine and with secondary school teachers and students in Kyiv and Lviv. Reviewers called the Norwegian-Ukrainian grant application "very well written" and "of high relevance to the Eurasia program. It is based on a former collaboration and the proposal identifies a great need for the introduction of dynamic modeling tools in education programs of economic analysis."

The New Publication: Factors Influencing the Adoption of Systems Thinking in Primary and Secondary Schools in Switzerland (February 17, 2016)

Authors Patrick Kunz, Ursula Frischknecht-Tobler, Brigitte Bollmann-Zuberbuehler and member Stefan N. Groesser have published a new article in the journal Systems Research and Behavioral Science. The abstract states “Systems thinking is well suited to complement widespread linear thinking in schools. However, previous studies showed that computer modelling can act as a barrier. Therefore, this study focuses on qualitative systems thinking and thus excludes computers as potential barriers. We analyzed factors influencing the implementation of systems thinking in K-9 schools in Switzerland. In our design-based research teachers participated in a standardized training followed by several months of implementation in the classroom….” Please read the early view online version of this research article to see what the results showed.

The Journal of Operations Management has published a special issue on System Dynamics (February 12, 2016)

The Journal of Operations Management has published a special issue on System Dynamics in operations entitled System Dynamics: Emergence, Reinforcement, Adaptation and Traps. The articles in the special issue are available open access until 31st August. "It is our hope that the articles in this special issue motivate additional collaboration between scholars and practitioners in operations management and System Dynamics," write Guest Editors John Sterman, Rogelio Oliva, Kevin Linderman, and Elliot Bendoly. The special issue includes the following papers: The editors of this special issue thank editors of JOM, all those who submitted papers for consideration, and the referees for their hard work to bring this project to fruition. Thanks to Rogelio Oliva for arranging this!

Inaugural Edition of Newsletter (February 9, 2016)

Member Greg Hennessy, Secretary of the Work & Organizations Division of the International Positive Psychology Association, announced the release of the inaugural edition of Positive Work and Organizations: Research and Practice. To be published twice a year, the newsletter is intended to promote communication between practitioners and scholars interested in the application of positive psychology in the workplace. It will feature interviews with experts, book reviews and previews, case studies, as well as original articles and briefs by leaders in the field of positive organizational psychology.

Future issues will be available in full only to members of the International Positive Psychology Association, but everyone is welcome to enjoy this premier edition.

Available Online in The Exchange: Systems Tools to Enhance Literacy in the Classroom (February 9, 2016)

The Winter 2016 issue of The Exchange presents a selection of resources to help educators utilize systems tools in the classroom. Discover how behavior-over-time graphs can lead to a deeper understanding of literary works like Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt; see how feedback loops can illuminate stories like The Lorax by Dr. Seuss; and incorporate online model simulations that explore the dramatic events in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Systems tools are a natural support to clear thinking and communication, and guide students to higher critical thinking and better writing in the classroom. Hence, this online publication from the Creative Learning Exchange highlights resources that represent an entire library of free System Dynamics and systems thinking tools available online.

Important announcements included in this issue:

iSDG Model - Tool for designing SDG strategies and roadmaps (February 9, 2016)

Millennium Institute announced the launch of the Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Planning Model (iSDG). The iSDG model simulates the fundamental trends for SDGs until 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario and supports the analysis of alternative scenarios. It covers all the 17 Goals, and facilitates a better understanding of the interconnections of the goals and targets, in order to develop synergetic strategies to achieve them. The model’s structure can also be expanded to support the analysis of other country-specific development issues beyond the SDGs.

The iSDG model is useful both in the early stages of policy design, to support scenario exploration; and in the advanced stage, when sector-specific interventions can be jointly simulated to assess their combined effect. This enhances the ability of policy makers and planners to evaluate and prioritize projects, investments, and strategies based on anticipated impacts, and to visualize how the combination of interventions lead to positive synergies. For more information and to download the beta version of the model, visit www.isdgs.org.

Fires burning in Tasmania - system collapse? (February 2, 2016)

“This is bigger than us. This is what climate change looks like, this is what scientists have been telling people, this is system collapse,” fire ecologist David Bowman, was quoted in the article Tasmania fires: First images of World Heritage Area devastation emerge, show signs of 'system collapse' on abc.net.au. The first images to emerge from within Tasmania's fire-affected World Heritage Area (WHA) have illustrated the level of destruction caused by bushfire, as experts warn such incidents are signs of a changing climate. 11,000 hectares of WHA are incinerated by the Tasmania bushfires. Wildlife, including wallabies and wombats, are also affected and experts say parts of the Central Plateau will not recover.

Public Radio International interviewed member John Sterman (January 27, 2016)

Public Radio International invited member John Sterman to consider whether big oil companies are really on board for addressing climate change. Listen to the discussion about “Can a Norwegian company with 'oil' in its name transform into a wind company?” that aired on the PRI segment “Business, Finance & Economics.” Also on the heels of the December climate summit in Paris, John speaks in praise of electric cars in the PRI news story “What auto companies might look like in a world with less gas . . . and fewer cars.

New Publication by United States Environmental Agency (January 27, 2016)

The paper “A System Dynamics Model for Integrated Decision Making: The Durham-Orange Light Rail Project” has recently been published online at the EPA Science Inventory. The purpose/objective states “The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program (SHC) has committed to developing systems approaches that enable communities to act on an enhanced understanding of these interconnections and to comprehensively account for the full costs and benefits of community decisions in the social, economic, and environmental dimensions. This report documents the development and testing of a System Dynamics (SD) model as a decision support tool for community sustainability with the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Project (D-O LRP) in Durham and Orange Counties, North Carolina, as a case-study.” The description of the work includes “In the first phase of this modeling effort, a conceptual model for the D-O LRP was designed with a high degree of input from stakeholders, including representatives from the regional transit authority, county health department, stormwater management department, and city and regional land use and transportation planning departments, among others. This conceptual model served as a framework for the operational SD model, which was built to evaluate a number of policy scenarios, many of which were also suggested by stakeholders. The operational model was subjected to rigorous quality assurance tests, including the sensitivity of the model to assumptions and inputs, and the evaluation of outcomes – social, economic, and environmental – resulting from actions that emanate from or impinge on the D-O LRP.”

New Article in Jacobs Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (January 21, 2016)

The article “Systems Thinking for Medicinal Chemists” by Robert E. Smith, Kevin Tran, and Kristy M. Richards has been published in the Jacobs Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The article shows an interesting view of the landscape of medicinal chemistry; and its increased use of technology and big data, and government initiatives. The abstract states: “Systems thinking has become an essential part of modern medicinal chemistry and new drug development. It is based on the concepts that complex problems almost always have multiple causes and that there are often connections that have not always been obvious. In contrast to reductionist thinking, systems thinking uses network theory and nonlinear mathematics to prevent, diagnose, treat and even cure diseases. Systems thinking is an integral part of predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory (P4) medicine.”

2016: New System Dynamics Song (January 21, 2016)

"System Dynamics Song: Close The Loop" was originally written and performed in 1976 at Geilo, Norway Conference by a group of attendees who protected their anonymity under the name of the Transient International Consortium at Geilo (TICAG). The song had an encore performance at the 2000 Bergen Conference.

This year, there is a new song: "Looking for Feedback Loops." Below are the artists' stories and photos. Wolfram Reinhard, born on the 6th of June 1990 as Wolfram Pallaske, is a student at the Leibniz University Hannover and is focusing on regional development in his Bachelor’s thesis. In 2009, he graduated high school with music as one of the main courses, but he started learning to play several instruments when he was six. After his brother Georg wouldn't stop bugging him, he recorded and cut the song "Looking for feedback loops", of which Georg wrote the text himself. Wolfram Reinhard has already finished several music related projects, which he was realizing outside of the curricula of his temporary education, alongside which he produced one CD. The strong positive feedback on the song "Looking for feedback loops" surprised the artist.

Georg Pallaske, born on the 4th of October 1987, is a current student in the European Masters Programme in System Dynamics (EMSD). After his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administrations, he entered the EMSD because of the potential the he saw in the application of the method with expert-groups (group-model building). After one and a half years of studying SD, and a lot of conversations with peers and experts, he decided to write a song about SD which compiles the things that are still at odds within the field, and put them into a nice message that comes across easily. And thanks to his little brother the song is available in a version that people might even enjoy listening to. Georg Pallaske is currently in the last semester, and will soon start writing his masters' thesis.

Thanks to Wolfram and Georg!

System Dynamics Article in Risk Analysis (January 18, 2016)

The published article “A Simplified Approach to Risk Assessment Based on System Dynamics: An Industrial Case Study” in the journal Risk Analysis is available electronically. The authors are Emmanuel Garbolino, Jean-Pierre Chery and Franck Guarnieri. The abstract states “Seveso plants are complex sociotechnical systems, which makes it appropriate to support any risk assessment with a model of the system. However, more often than not, this step is only partially addressed, simplified, or avoided in safety reports. At the same time, investigations have shown that the complexity of industrial systems is frequently a factor in accidents, due to interactions between their technical, human, and organizational dimensions. In order to handle both this complexity and changes in the system over time, this article proposes an original and simplified qualitative risk evaluation method based on the System Dynamics theory developed by Forrester in the early 1960s. The methodology supports the development of a dynamic risk assessment framework dedicated to industrial activities. It consists of 10 complementary steps grouped into two main activities: System Dynamics modeling of the sociotechnical system and risk analysis. This System Dynamics risk analysis is applied to a case study of a chemical plant and provides a way to assess the technological and organizational components of safety.”

BLOG: Overcoming the Systemic Challenges of Inequity (January 18, 2016)

Bridgeway Partners started a blog post that describes several dynamics and assumptions that lead inequity to persist, and six high leverage interventions leaders can pursue to create greater equity in their communities. The announcement about the new blog post states “related problems of structural racism and economic inequality undermine the moral as well as social and economic fabrics of our country.” Many of the ideas in this post are drawn from David Peter Stroh's book Systems Thinking for Social Change.

Member Andreas Größler Appointed Full Professor (January 18, 2016)

Member Andreas Größler has been appointed as a Full Professor of Operations Management starting February 1, 2016. Based on a long tradition, his work at Stuttgart University will also include teaching and research in System Dynamics. Future plans include the continuation of the work in strategic operations management and dynamic decision making. Andreas received his PhD from Mannheim University in 2000. He has been teaching System Dynamics and Operations Management since 1995. Before the move to Stuttgart, he worked as Associate Professor at the Nijmegen School of Management and Academic Director of the European Master in System Dynamics (EMSD) programme. Andreas has a long history of volunteering for the System Dynamics Society (e.g. Policy Council Member, Conference Host of the European SD Workshop in 2003 and 2011, Program Chair of ISDC 2006 in Nijmegen, and VP of Meetings). He is Program Chair of the 2016 ISDC Conference in Delft and a Managing Editor of the System Dynamics Review. Congratulations to Andreas and good luck on behalf of the Society!

Member Simon Shepherd, and Chandra Balijepalli published a new paper (January 13, 2016)

Member Simon Shepherd, and Chandra Balijepalli published the article “A game of two cities: A toll setting game with experimental results” in the journal Transport Policy. The paper extends the idea of competition between cities by setting up a System Dynamic model of two cities which includes modes such as car, bus, train and walking and cycling. This paper innovates by integrating the simulation of land use transport interactions with a class room style experimental game and analyses the gaming strategies from a continuous repeated prisoner's dilemma involving setting of tolls to maximize the welfare of residents. Highlights of the paper include the development of a twin city land use transport interaction model; the incorporation of gaming facility to explore competition, and analysis of toll setting gaming experiment and use of information over regulation in policy making.

Some other related papers on this topic include “Cordon tolls and competition between cities with symmetric and asymmetric interactions” published in the Journal of Transportation by Chandra Balijepalli and Simon Shepherd and “A review of system dynamics models applied in transportation” by Simon Shepherd published in Transportmetrica B: Transport Dynamics.

3rd Annual South Africa System Dynamics Conference: A Report (January 12, 2016)

The 3rd Annual South Africa System Dynamics Conference was held at the Eskom Research, Testing and Development Centre in Johannesburg on November 16, 2015. This conference, collaboratively hosted by Eskom and the South Africa Chapter, explored a variety of topics, including: energy, gangsterism, health systems, Ponzi schemes, project prioritization, chemical usage, situational awareness, innovation process and green economy. 75 participants who were academics, researchers, government officials, consultants and students, attended the workshop.

Several awards and recognitions were given at the conference for outstanding achievement:
  • Andries Botha, winner of Best Presentation for his work titled “Ponzi Schemes—A System Dynamics Perspective (It’s not all about work!).”
  • Danie Booyens, winner of Best Contribution for his paper “System Dynamics Simulation using Non-Traditional Platforms.”
  • Jacobus Smit van Niekerk, Willem Jonker, Aliza Pienaar, Theodore York, Juan Oosthuizen, and Lize Duminy, all students from Stellenbosch University, winners of Best Student Paper. These six students co-authored the paper “A System Dynamics Approach to Understanding the Implications of a Green Economy Transition in the Western Cape Province of South Africa” with Prof Alan Brent, Dr Josephine Musango, and Imke de Kock.

System Dynamics Application Used in Investment Research Methods (January 12, 2016)

The FA Online edition of Financial Advisor, on January 12, posted the article “Cucchiaro Launches RIA, Hedge Fund.” Stephen J. Cucchiaro has formed 3EDGE Asset Management, a Boston-based Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) where he will serve as president, CIO and chairman of the investment committee. Parts of the article follow: Cucchiaro, who uses a scientific methodology in his investment strategy, began managing investment portfolios in 1994 and was founder, president and CIO of Windward Investment Management. … Cucchiaro uses proprietary investment research methods, including applications of engineering, System Dynamics and complexity economics concepts to analyze the relationships that drive markets. “Our approach seeks to identify asset classes and geographies that may be undervalued as a result of the macro-inefficiencies inherent in the global markets,” Cucchiaro said. “We are looking to capture the potential for material long-term price appreciation of these undervalued asset classes and geographies over different time frames.”

The firm will apply a multiplayer game theory framework to better understand how policies by actors like central banks might influence the direction of capital markets. “We may be at a critical juncture in the global markets,” Cucchiaro said. “The massive central bank intervention since 2008 has, in many instances, elevated asset prices. In the years ahead, attractive investment returns, particularly on a risk-adjusted basis, could be difficult to achieve as markets may be susceptible to diminishing returns from monetary stimulus. In such an environment, more passive buy and hold strategies could prove to be disappointing, while short-term trading strategies could also be counter-productive since investors may be whipsawed by market volatility.” …

Mr. Cucchiaro gave a plenary presentation at the 2013 Cambridge Conference titled “A System Dynamics Approach to Modeling the Global Capital Markets.”

New Book by Society Member Hassan Qudrat-Ullah (January 11, 2016)

Member Hassan Qudrat-Ullah has published a new book, The Physics of Stocks and Flows of Energy Systems: Application in Energy Policy, available now online. Using System Dynamics, Hassan illustrates the physics of stocks and flows across the demand and supply sectors of energy systems. By studying the dynamics of these fundamental structures, the reader better understands stocks and flows and their role in energy policy.

Hassan’s book is useful to managers, practitioners, teachers, researchers and students interested in the design and assessment of policy for complex and dynamic energy systems.

Demonstrating the Utility of SD Modeling for Synthesizing Epidemiologic Evidence to Inform Public Policy (January 07, 2016)

Member David Lounsbury, along with Anton Palma, Nicholas Schlecht and Ilir Agalliu recently published the article “A System Dynamics Model of Serum Prostate-Specific Antigen Screening for Prostate Cancer” in the prestigious American Journal of Epidemiology. The article is available electronically. Their publication adds to the on-going deliberation about the benefits and harms of regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for adult men. Since 2012, US guidelines have recommended against PSA screening for prostate cancer, which was based mainly on the results of two large clinical trials [i.e., the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening trial and the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC)]. However, evidence of screening benefit from the PLCO and the ERSPC trials has been inconsistent, due partly to differences in participant noncompliance and contamination. In their article the authors describe how they used System Dynamics modeling to replicate the PLCO trial and to extrapolate follow-up to 20 years, correcting for effect attenuation in a three different scenarios. Two of three simulated scenarios showed a benefit of PSA screening, with relative risks of 0.62 (95% confidence interval: 0.53, 0.72) and 0.70 (95% confidence interval: 0.59, 0.83) for cancer-specific mortality after 20 years, demonstrating that after correcting for noncompliance and contamination, there is potential benefit of PSA screening in reducing prostate cancer mortality. This work underscores the utility of System Dynamics modeling for synthesizing epidemiologic evidence to inform public health policy.

Member Alexander V. Ryzhenkov has published an updated version of his paper (January 06, 2016)

Member Alexander V. Ryzhenkov has published an updated version of his paper, “Socially Efficient Stabilization Policies for Growth Cycles,” in the journal Advances in Economics and Business. Read the full text of the paper here.

ANZAM Award for the Best Doctoral Dissertation of 2015 (January 06, 2016)

Rodney Scott, freshly graduated with a PhD from the University of Queensland, received an impressive recognition: the Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Award for the Best Doctoral Dissertation of 2015. His PhD thesis title is "Group Model Building and Mental Model Change." Rodney completed his doctoral studies under the supervision of Dr. Donald Cameron at the University of Queensland and Dr. Bob Cavana of Victoria University of Wellington. Colleagues applaud Rodney’s work helping to raise the profile and impact of Systems Thinking and System Dynamics in the Australasia region and beyond. Congratulations and best wishes on a promising future, Dr. Scott!

Published Materials of Several MIT System Dynamics Courses (January 06, 2016)

Several course offerings in System Dynamics are available through the MIT OpenCourseWare free online curriculum program: Introduction to System Dynamics and System Dynamics II taught by John Sterman, in addition to Research Seminar in System Dynamics taught by Hazhir Rahmandad.

MIT OpenCourseWare is a free and open publication of material from thousands of MIT courses, covering the entire MIT curriculum and used by millions of learners and educators around the world. Browse a complete listing of courses offered by the MIT Sloan School of Management OpenCourseWare program.

System Dynamics Review Available (January 04, 2016)

An issue of the System Dynamics Review is available on Wiley Online Library. This issue includes the following research articles: “Mathematical knowledge is related to understanding stocks and flows: results from two nations” by Liang Qi and Cleotilde Gonzalez; “Effects of systemic complexity factors on task difficulty in a stock management game” by Onur Özgün and Yaman Barlas; and “Connecting strategy and System Dynamics: an example and lessons learned” by Hazhir Rahmandad. Included in “Notes and Insights” is the article “Reflections on peer mentoring for ongoing professional development in System Dynamics” by George P. Richardson, Laura J. Black, Michael Deegan, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, Donald Greer, Hyunjung Kim, Luis F. Luna-Reyes, Roderick MacDonald, Eliot Rich, Krystyna A. Stave, Nicole Zimmermann and David F. Andersen. Please also read the Announcement about the 2015 Jay Wright Forrester Award.

Update: XMILE Approved (January 04, 2016)

The XMILE 1.0 was voted and approved as the international technical standard by OASIS on December 14th, a significant achievement. This is the first standard implementation of System Dynamics vocabulary since it was first imagined by Jay Forrester in the 1950s.

XMILE is a standard for representing System Dynamics models using XML and in 2015 version 1.0 was adopted by OASIS (the international standards body). This is an important achievement, but as with any standard, it will benefit from ongoing scrutiny and development by members of the System Dynamics community. The original XMILE Technical Committee chaired by Karim Chichakly and Steve Adler would like to continue work with that broad based input to make that happen. At the 2016 Winter Policy Council meeting President Etiënne Rouwette asked Vice President E-Presence Bob Eberlein and President Elect Leonard Malczynski to find a structure for the Society to support that ongoing development.

New Book: Dynamic Systems for Everyone: Understanding How Our World Works (January 04, 2016)

Member Asish Ghosh recently published the book Dynamic Systems for Everyone: Understanding How Our World Works through Springer International Publishing. Congratulations, Asish!

The Chinese Chapter conducted its 2015 conference (December 21, 2015)

The Chinese Chapter conducted its 2015 System Dynamics Annual Academic Conference and Council Election at the Beijing Jiaotong University on November 14-15th. Nearly 100 attendees from 40 Chinese universities attended this conference hosted by the Systems Engineering Society of China (SESC). Professor Bo Xu, chairman of the SESC, gave opening remarks and Juliang Zhang, dean of the Management Engineering Branch of the School of Economics and Management at Jiaotong, delivered the keynote address. The conference included presentations on a multitude of topics, including: practical applications for System Dynamics, development and innovation of theory and methods, model testing, supply chain logistics, green development, public healthcare and medical management.

What Must We Now Do To Turn Promises Into Policies (December 16, 2015)

WGBH NEWS, Boston, with reporter Jim Braude, aired the interview “Will the COP21 Climate Deal Save the World?” Braude interviewed MIT Sloan School of Management Professor John Sterman and UMass McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies Dean David Cash, both just back from Paris, asking, "Is the COP21 climate deal one which will help save the world? Or is it just a lot of hot air?” Sterman and Cash debated the topic after a recap that included a clip of President Obama, who stated “… We succeeded. We came together around the strong agreement the world needed …” Is that right? Watch and see. Sterman argues that debating whether the agreement is deliverance from climate catastrophe or a dud isn’t the right question. Rather, what must we now do to turn the promises of Paris into policies that cut greenhouse gas emissions? In related news, the Energy and Environment section of The Washington Post published the article by Chris Mooney, “The world just adopted a tough new climate goal. Here’s how hard it will be to meet?” This article references a “telling figure provided by Climate Interactive, showing how current pledges by countries (“INDCs”) take the world off the worst-case path for warming, but also how far they are from the “safe” path of less than 2 degrees C.” And, The Blog at the HUFFPOST GREEN posted the article “The Paris Climate Agreement: Deliverance or Disappointment?” by John Sterman.

Article in "Systems" (December 13, 2015)

Neal Tan and Purba Mukerji, along with member Khalid Saeed, have produced a fascinating analysis of the 2007 US housing market collapse, investigating several accepted causes of the financial crisis and observing model simulation data to understand the validity of these hypotheses. For more, read the article “An Examination of the Influence of Household Financial Decision Making on the US Housing Market Crisis” available through the journal Systems.

Paris Climate Deals (December 08, 2015)

On December 5, 2015 the New York Times quoted member John Sterman in the article In War of the Temperatures, a Cease-Fire of Sorts: “It is dangerous for our leaders to count on emissions cuts that have not been pledged as if they will somehow occur automatically when those cuts require tough negotiations, greater funding and technology transfer for developing nations, and big changes in public opinion. Our leaders must not sugar coat the challenge we face just to paint Paris as a success.” Climate Interactive’s climate scoreboard, reporting the impact of new pledges for emissions reductions, is posted every day, with a daily headline. The breaking news for today, December 8, includes “No changes to the INDCs in the past couple of days. Therefore, if all INDCs now submitted are fully implemented, with no further action, global temperatures are still expected to rise 3.5°C (6.3°F) above preindustrial levels. Canada has surprised many with a call to limit warming to 1.5°C, joining with the most vulnerable nations.” Please visit the website for the full story and daily updates.

Five Prescient Classics That First Made Sustainability A Public Issue (December 07, 2015)

The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III is featured as one of “five prescient classics” that helped bring sustainability to the forefront more than four decades ago in an article in the November issue of Nature. “The launch of Spaceship Earth” by Adam Rome reviews the premises of five books, written between 1964 and 1972, that look at the topic of sustainability from different perspectives. This is an interesting read for those who would like to learn more about the evolution of sustainability issues.

Groundbreaking Model of Depression (December 02, 2015)

A scientific study co-authored by Andrea K. Wittenborn and Society member Hazhir Rahmandad “opens the gate” to understanding the myriad drivers of depression. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Michigan State University and MIT scientists developed a comprehensive model of depression, showing how biological, psychological, social and environmental factors overlap and intersect over time. This model is a pioneering tool for personalized treatment of a public health problem that costs the United States over $210 billion every year. Common treatments of psychotherapy and antidepressants are helpful and important, but results vary widely and meaningful improvement is reported by only about half of patients, as discovered through the analysis of nearly 600 scientific articles on depression. A paper detailing the research findings and model is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Medicine. Read more about the topic in the following press release.

University of Bergen offers a graduate level distance learning course (MOOC) in Natural Resources Management. (November 25, 2015)

In this course, students learn to manage water reservoirs, fisheries, animal herds, climate etc., and they learn to operate in product markets and in case of commons problem, in quota markets. The course is interactive with on-line tasks and immediate answers, videos, analogies, animations, simulators, simulation models, and a message service. Earlier students rank highly the course and its innovative teaching methods. The course runs in fall and spring semesters, offers an exam, and there is no tuition fee.

Climate Change Interactive Graphic (November 24, 2015)

The New York Times published an article using Climate Interactive’s analysis on the Paris climate talks. This article is an “interactive graphic” designed for mobile devices (i.e., open it on a phone or tablet and swipe). It is an interesting way to tell the story based on model output. The original video “How Could Paris Talks Ratchet Up To Success?” featuring Drew Jones of Climate Interactive, that was posted earlier was short, but this is even more of an “executive summary” of the pledges to date. Questions and comments sent to Climate Interactive are being addressed on a quick FAQ page for the article here.

System Dynamics article in the European Journal of Operational Research (November 04, 2015)

Members Jim Thompson and Susan Howick, together with Valerie Belton, have published the paper “Critical Learning Incidents in System Dynamics modelling engagements,” available online now and published this month in a special issue of the European Journal of Operational Research. The article reports in-depth behavioural OR on how individual clients learned to resolve dynamically complex problems in System Dynamics model-based engagements. Paper highlights:
  • Identifies clients’ Critical Learning Incidents by System Dynamics engagement activity.
  • In-depth analyses of interviews from client–consultant dyads.
  • Maps learning incidents to prescriptive or predictive model-based engagement phases.
  • Ten System Dynamics consulting case studies.
  • Applies constructivist learning theory to complex consulting environments.
J.P. Thompson et al., Critical Learning Incidents in System Dynamics modelling engagements, European Journal of Operational Research (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2015.09.048

New Book: Analytical Methods for Dynamic Modelers (November 03, 2015)

Simulation modeling is increasingly integrated into research and policy analysis of complex sociotechnical systems in a variety of domains. Model-based analysis and policy design inform a range of applications in fields from economics to engineering to health care. This book offers a hands-on introduction to key analytical methods for dynamic modeling. Bringing together tools and methodologies from fields as diverse as computational statistics, econometrics, and operations research in a single text, the book can be used for graduate-level courses and as a reference for dynamic modelers who want to expand their methodological toolbox.

The focus is on quantitative techniques for use by dynamic modelers during model construction and analysis, and the material presented is accessible to readers with a background in college-level calculus and statistics. Each chapter describes a key method, presenting an introduction that emphasizes the basic intuition behind each method, tutorial style examples, references to key literature, and exercises. The chapter authors are all experts in the tools and methods they present. The book covers estimation of model parameters using quantitative data; understanding the links between model structure and its behavior; and decision support and optimization. An online appendix offers computer code for applications, models, and solutions to exercises.

Analytical Methods for Dynamic Modelers is edited by Hazhir Rahmandad, Rogelio Oliva and Nathaniel D. Osgood, and all proceeds from this book will be donated to the System Dynamics Society. The MIT Press is partnering with the System Dynamics Society to offer a 30% discount to Society members for this book; members, please use the digital discount code MSDS30 when ordering directly from the MIT Press website. Please note that while this discount code can only be used on the MIT Press website, it is applicable to both the print and forthcoming electronic version of the book, can be used more than once, and for multiple copies. Pre-ordering for the hardcover version of this book is available now. To pre-order the book, learn about the book and the contributors, please visit the MIT press website.

Member Bernard Amadei, PhD, Authors New Book (October 29, 2015)

Member Bernard Amadei, PhD, has authored A Systems Approach to Modeling Community Development, which looks at the application of System Dynamics to develop conceptual models of small-scale communities and addresses specific issues they might face at different scales. Amadei demonstrates how to include a system and complexity-aware approach in the different phases of small-scale community project management, and details the need for community development practitioners to integrate in all stages of their projects: participation, systems thinking, continuous reflection-in-action, and a combination of critical and creative tools. Bernard Amadei, PhD, is a Professor of Global Engineering at the University of Colorado.

New issue of System Dynamics Review Available (October 27, 2015)

The latest issue of System Dynamics Review is available on the Wiley Online Library. This issue of System Dynamics Review includes the research articles "Exploring retailers' ordering decisions under delays" (pages 1–27) by Sebastián Villa, Paulo Gonçalves and Santiago Arango; "Evaluating group model building exercises: a method for comparing externalized mental models and group models" (pages 28–45) by Geeske Scholz, Martina Austermann, Kai Kaldrack and Claudia Pahl-Wostl; "Does analytical thinking improve understanding of accumulation?" (pages 46–65) by Arash Baghaei Lakeh and Navid Ghaffarzadegan; and "Towards the algorithmic detection of archetypal structures in System Dynamics" (pages 66–85) by Lukas Schoenenberger, Alexander Schmid and Markus Schwaninger. Articles in this issue also include a "notes and insights" article by Robert Ward, James Houghton and Ivan A. Perl: "SDXchange: stand-alone translators to enable XMILE model adaptation, transportation, and exchange" (pages 86–95).

Figuring out how to split the bill (October 21, 2015)

Member Drew Jones, co-director of Climate Interactive, explained the Paris climate talks on the NPR radio show “Morning Edition” this morning (October 21st): It's like splitting a bar tab. To listen to the story (or read the transcription), please click this link. The talks at the final summit in Paris are just weeks away.

Updates on Our Website

Stay Connected with E-Communities (May 5, 2016)

The System Dynamics Society has a wonderful list of resources available on the E-Communities page, found in the Activities and Resources section of our website. This web page gives you access to the Society and our community through popular social media links - Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. (Follow us on our recently created LinkedIn page!) The E-Communities page also connects you to information within our website, including an introduction to Systems Dynamics and the history of the Society, the SDForum, and links to other websites relevant to System Dynamics and systems thinking. These websites offer a great supplement of knowledge through discussion forums, tutorials, and access to publications, videos, models and simulations. Don’t miss this terrific resource, visit E-Communities today!

Conference Scholarship Campaign (March 21, 2016)

Make a contribution with a significant impact. Support the campaign to double the amount of Conference Scholarships offered annually! Your donation will be used to increase the number of people coming in contact with System Dynamics practitioners and researchers for meaningful conversations.

Since 2005, the System Dynamics Society has offered about ten conference scholarships per year that cover registration fees and accommodation subsidies. In 2015, through individual gifts that ranged from $5 to $300, the Society raised $1,875 for scholarships. Our goal for 2016 is to raise $7,000, allowing us to provide a total of 20 scholarships in 2016. Scholarships are given to individuals who can make a significant contribution to the conference, but need some help financially.

Without these funds, the opportunity to participate in this year’s conference will be missed by those young, enthusiastic persons who are determined to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. Empowering these individuals is an investment in the future of System Dynamics. Please make a donation - any amount is the right amount and your generosity is much appreciated!

Learn more about the conference scholarship program, guidelines, and how to contribute by visiting our Conference Scholarship Fund page.

System Dynamics Career Link (January 18, 2016)

The SD Career Link is the gateway for connecting you with companies worldwide that use System Dynamics. The site is divided into two sections. First, employers are able to provide general descriptive information about how System Dynamics fits into the organization, typical jobs, career paths, and other aspects of employment within the company. This section allows employers to define specific System Dynamics information and opportunities within their firms and to supplement the more general information contained on their corporate or academic websites. The other section highlights a list of current job openings. Find the Career Link on the Society’s website to review the list of companies.

Is your firm is seeking candidates, specifically with System Dynamics backgrounds? Would you like to add your Company or University profile? Please use this free, exclusive networking and recruiting site. The SD Career Link provides a valuable exchange of information about positions and people in the field of System Dynamics.


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The System Dynamics Newsletter is published by the System Dynamics Society.
Editors: Babak Bahaddin, Robin Langer, LouAnne Lundgren, Erin Sheehan, Carrie Stickan, and Roberta L. Spencer