If you travel far enough back in time, you’ll reach a point when there was no language – no rich poetry, no evocative prose. The pre-language versions of ourselves simply lived and died, taking most of what they had learned with them.

But as we evolved, we started exploring, experiencing, and doing more than we had ever done before. We saw things that others hadn’t, and experienced things we craved to share. We needed a way to capture the hierarchical nature of the world we saw around us. Language, as we know it today – hierarchical, modular, and flexible – filled that need perfectly.

With languages by our side, we distilled our understanding and shared it across space and time. New generations picked up the baton from those that came before them and carried it forward to build the modern world we so enjoy.

Today, once again, humans are exploring, experiencing, and shaping things at a scale larger than ever before. Because of it, the world we see is one that’s far more complex than anything our ancestors ever had to comprehend. Our collective impact far exceeds what the human mind has evolved to intuit. And so the unexpected effects of our actions ripple through feedback loops to come back and haunt us.

The languages we’ve inherited from the past are simply not enough to perceive, discuss, and solve this dynamic complexity we face today. We need a new kind of language for this new kind of world.

We’re a startup based out of Singapore, looking to find this new language at the intersection of math, storytelling, and purposeful design. Hello.


Seeing business simulation as “serious play” where the aim is to identify the best strategic decisions, Dynaplan is changing the executives’ role in business simulation from receiving results of the play, via watching the game, to taking active part in the match. Traditionally, business simulation is done by experts, who present the results to the management level. Through Dynaplan Smia’s board-room-ready user interface, companies have for some years been able to bring live simulation into management and board meetings.

With the first release of Smia for iPad and the new release of Smia for desktop, Dynaplan brings the power of scenario simulation directly into the hands of decision makers. Roles are reversed, spectators become actors. The new release also opens up possibilities to address entirely new audiences, both inside and outside your organisation. As an example, you can now communicate the highlights of your business strategy to all employees as a live business simulation. Another new possibility is to give potential or existing customers on-line access to simulation models tailored just for them.

The distinguishing factors

There are two main success factors behind Dynaplan’s history as supplier of a new strategic planning approach to Europe’s largest corporations: our technology and our subject-matter expertise in the areas where we operate. It all started in 2002 with the creation of a new modelling language designed with the requirements of the business community in mind. On top of this, we have developed our key solution areas: strategic workforce planning, finance and controlling, and health.

An important objective for Dynaplan is to enable our clients through knowledge exchange, active involvement in the scenario based planning and forecasting process, training, and follow-up. When a project is finished, the resulting planning models remain with the client for on-going use, supported by Dynaplan’s technology and experts through our operation support programme. On April 28th, Dynaplan proudly received the “Business Supercharger” award for our work in people analytics.

Together with partners, Dynaplan delivers strategic planning solutions worldwide.
Visit www.dynaplan.com for more information.
Planning cannot change the fact that the future is uncertain. Through model-based planning, organisations are transforming their planning approach to face a reality where rapid change has become the new normal.

Leading universities and corporations around the world use our platform to illustrate, understand, and predict complexities in leadership, negotiation, operations, forecasting, and management.

Consultant and Creator of Learning Environments

Most of my time over the past year has been devoted to the ReThink Health project as well as to a local physician workforce modeling project with the Association of American Medical Colleges. ReThink Health has continued to make great strides, engaging additional communities around the US and upgrading its model and stewardship and financing products. Major grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have enabled that extension of the work into additional communities and helped us develop more tools to support regional health transformation.

An article on policy conclusions drawn from the model has been accepted by the prestigious journal, Health Affairs, which will increase the visibility of both the ReThink Health work and for SD in the health policy community. Another article on the use of the ReThink Health model in a competition of public policy and administration students will be published in the Journal of Public Affairs Education in July. I’ll also be giving a plenary talk about how the ReThink Health model has promoted regional collaboration at the Innovations in Collaborative Modeling conference at Michigan State University in mid-June.

ReThink Health is also extending its work further into Social Determinants of Health. I was part of a team that helped map the linkages between incarceration and health for the Minnesota Department of Health. We examined the effects of incarceration on inmates themselves, their children, and the community at large and the systemic factors that caused the incarcerated population in the US to grow so large. That project resulted in a report to the Minnesota legislature that will hopefully result in policies that reduce incarceration and its adverse effects on health.

I continue to help run the Metrowest Free Medical Program which operates a pair of free clinics in the area west of Boston. I’m also hoping to spend some time on the topic of opioid abuse, one that I worked on many years ago and that has re-emerged as a major problem with some new twists. I look forward to seeing everyone in Delft in July.

We are pleased to announce our newest software application, Stella® Designer, the WYSIWYG user interface builder for Stella Professional - and other XMILE - models. Interfaces built in Stella Designer can be seamlessly published to the web with the model running either on the user's computer or on a simulation server. Interfaces can also be converted into turnkey desktop applications or mobile apps. The clean interface and professional looking components allow you to quickly and easily build a modern web experience on top of your models. There are also many customization options available.

Simultaneously, isee systems will release version 1.1 of its popular modeling package, Stella Professional. This release includes the causal lens and improved contextual navigation to help understand model behavior, the ability to temporarily override the value of any variable, and full XMILE 1.0 compatibility.

Simultaneously, isee systems will release version 1.1 of its popular modeling package, Stella Professional. This release includes the causal lens and improved contextual navigation to help understand model behavior, the ability to temporarily override the value of any variable, and full XMILE 1.0 compatibility.

The International Society for the Systems Sciences

ISSS is committed to the investigation and implementation of inter- and transdisciplinary inquiry into the nature of complex systems, and remains broadly inclusive. Beginning in 1954 at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, it was then formally established as an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 1956. The initial purpose of the society was to encourage the development of theoretical systems that are applicable to more than one of the traditional departments of knowledge. Since then, ISSS has expanded its scope to include the practical application of systems methodologies to problem solving. ISSS welcomes interdisciplinary thinkers interested in all systems, (e.g. physical systems, biological systems, social systems, and ecological systems), and brings together scholars and practitioners from across academic, business, government and not-for-profit communities to learn together.

In 2016, Professor John Kineman will lead the 60th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) in Colorado, USA. The meeting will be held July 24 -29, with a conference theme of “Realizing Sustainable Futures in Socio-Ecological Systems”. At the conference, a worldwide community of system people — researchers, consultants and students — convened in Berlin for a week of thought-provoking presentations, informal workshops and sharing ideas on advances in systems. The 61st meeting of ISSS, in July 2017, will be held in Vienna, Austria, and will be led by our President, Professor Ockie Bosch. For further information about this year’s meeting or the meeting in 2017, please consult the ISSS website: www.isss.org/world/conferences or contact the ISSS office at menquiryisss@gmail.com.

Our LeverSource software helps position System Dynamics (SD) projects for success by providing seven critical Software-as-a-Service capabilities:

  1. Situation Analysis (what is the broader context we’re facing?)
  2. Leverage Analysis (where should we start our SD analysis?)
  3. Project Scope Analysis (what other asset levels should we bundle into our project?)
  4. Project Resource Analysis (who needs to be involved in the initiative?)
  5. Project Business Case Analysis (what is the projected ROI?)
  6. Portfolio Analysis (can we afford this project given other initiatives?)
  7. Roadmap Analysis (can we handle both the financial and resource loads?)

So, stop trying to justify your SD projects only on the validity of the method. We all know the method works! Visit www.leversource.com for an overview and demonstration of how LeverSource helps position your System Dynamics efforts for success!

PA Consulting Group’s strategic analysis experts work with major organizations to help solve some of their most important challenges. We use world-class analysis expertise to identify the best strategic actions, and then often involve colleagues in PA who specialize in delivering strategic changes so our clients get to put our strategies into action with practical and enduring solutions.

We help clients with a range of issues such as:

PA Consulting Group is a leading management and innovation consulting firm, helping clients around the globe from our headquarters in London and our offices in Europe, the US, the Gulf, and Asia/Pacific.

Our Strategic Analytics and System Dynamics Work is Growing
We are interested in sharp, well-rounded, analytical people committed to solving complex problems working closely with clients and colleagues. We are hiring outstanding people with a range of capability across PA, and have a special interest in candidates with System Dynamics expertise who are based in the US. Candidates should have a strong track record of accomplishment and be passionate about helping clients solve difficult strategic challenges by developing practical solutions. To learn more about our team please contact Kathy Tran kathy.tran@paconsulting.com or 1 (617) 225-2700.

A more detailed job description can be found here. We look forward to seeing our many alumni and the rest of the SD community in July if not before!

Powersim Software is the creator of the Powersim Studio simulation tools. The company provides both tools and services within the System Dynamics field.

Our simulation tool supports all your modeling needs; featuring classroom editions as well as free editions for smaller simulation projects. Various editions are available for consulting teams building solutions that require connection to large amounts of business data or that require support for risk analysis or optimization. We also have the tools for sharing simulations on the internet or within your organization.

When it comes to our consulting services, we are currently working on long term projects with the following clients:
  • For Statoil we have built an integrated simulation model that reports figures used in Norway’s national budget process.
  • With Emisoft, we provide a solution allowing companies to keep reporting for environmental and corporate social responsibility performance.
  • For Institute of Marine Research, we have built a decision model for harvest quotas of selected fisheries in the Barents Sea.
For more consulting
reference cases, please visit our web pages.

Sandia National Laboratories is proud to sponsor the 2016 System Dynamics Conference. Sandia has an active community of System Dynamics modelers who build and develop models of complex national security problems including energy, climate, natural resources, homeland defense, and beyond. We provide these services to a broad set of U.S. government and other customers internationally. Many national security problems are data sparse and System Dynamics serves as a tool that permits us to theorize, characterize, and prototype models and tools which are helpful to our customers.

On occasion we have employment opportunities available for highly qualified candidates with U.S. Citizenship that have a background in computer modeling and simulation and relevant skills. Keep a look-out on the SD career link for upcoming opportunities.

We look forward to seeing more security relevant applications of System Dynamics at the 2016 Delft Conference. Len Malczynski, President Elect of the Society, serves as the Sandia champion of System Dynamics at Sandia and beyond. We encourage you to reach out to Len or others at the Conference. Sandia would like to thank the society for maintaining the talent that we need to continue to sustain Sandia’s mission of “exceptional service in the national interest."

System Dynamics Group, Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University

The System Dynamics Group at Radboud University offers a range of teaching activities around System Dynamics, covering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and professional courses. At the same time, members of the group are conducting research in participatory modelling, group facilitation, dynamic decision making, and modelling/simulation for public and private organizations. Recently, group members have applied system dynamics on themes including but not limited to gender and diversity, energy transition, and innovation diffusion.

Although Prof. Jac Vennix remains a member of the group as long as he wishes, recently, the leadership of the System Dynamics Group was transferred from him to Prof. Etiënne Rouwette.

Together with its consortium partners, Radboud has been actively engaged in the European Master in System Dynamics (EMSD) study program. Currently, around 120 students have been in this joint master program exclusively devoted to System Dynamics. The group has recently established links to some company sponsors including TNO.

In August 2015, a small group of practitioners, students, and professors interested in System Dynamics from all over the world gathered in Nijmegen to join our one-week summer school course on Dynamic Business Models, provided by Etiënne Rouwette, Andreas Größler, and Vincent de Gooyert. Our aim is to host a similar summer school in August 2016.

Social System Design Lab, Washington University in St. Louis

Peter Hovmand was named as a commissioner to newly launched Lancet Commission on Obesity co-chaired by Boyd Swinburn (University of Auckland) and Bill Dietz (George Washington University). The Commission aims to stimulate action on obesity and strengthen accountability systems with a focus on understanding obesity, under-nutrition, and climate change as part of an overall global system.

Society for Organizational Learning North America's (SoL NA) upcoming workshops in 2016!

Leading Sustainable Transformation Workshop, Facilitated by Peter Senge & Darcy Winslow, June 21-23, 2016, the Warren Center, Ashland, MA, USA

This highly interactive workshop is a synthesis of core organizational learning disciplines—systems thinking, mental models and collaborative inquiry, personal mastery and building shared vision—and the practical know-how captured in the book, The Necessary Revolution by Peter Senge, et al. This workshop will focus on how these core learning disciplines can build capabilities for Sustainability Leadership—seeing systems, collaborating across boundaries with ease, and shifting from reactive problem solving to creating new futures.

Executive Champions' Workshop, Facilitated by Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, and Arawana Hayashi, August 16 (dinner & registration) - August 19, 2016, Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT, USA

Offered in collaboration with the Presencing Institute, this workshop is a powerful setting for nurturing new thinking and relationships among executive leaders and for strategic conversations around key issues shaping our collective work on systems leadership and change. Offered by invitation for executives who are champions of change, the ECW is a unique opportunity to reflect, refocus, and recharge.

New Offering!
Inspiring Emerging Vision: An Inward Journey in the Mountains of Montana, Facilitated by Jackie Stevenson & Herb Stevenson, September 12-16, Wolf Creek, MT, USA

Based on the core principles of SoL North America and the work of Peter Senge, this program will allow you to expand your personal mastery through refection, challenging your thinking, clarifying what really matters to you, committing to a vision, and building a healthy network of relationship with others and with the natural world.

Foundations for Leadership Program, Facilitated by Peter Senge, Robert Hanig, & Yolanda Hegngi, September 27-29, 2016 & March/April 2017 (exact dates TBD), The Warren Center, Ashland, MA, USA

This intensive, interactive three-day program is based on the leadership development process described in The Fifth Discipline, by Peter Senge, identified as a seminal management book by Harvard Business Review. At the workshop, special attention is given to the domains of personal mastery, mental models, and systems thinking as they apply to leading and initiating meaningful change.

Applied Organizational Learning, Facilitated by Rick Karash & Deborah Reidy, December 13-15, 2016, the Warren Center, Ashland, MA, USA

Learn how to apply organizational learning principles to increase performance, productivity and business results in this highly interactive workshop. You will learn the tools and methods necessary for building learning organizations and apply them to your most pressing challenges.

Please visit SoL North America's website or contact Lisa Kim, Director of Programs & Engagement (lisa@solonline.org) for more information. Discounts for Non-profits, Teams and SoL North America Members available.

2016 Geoff Coyle Medal Winner Chris Spencer (Strategy Dynamics)

Chris Spencer has been awarded the 2016 Geoff Coyle Medal for his work in developing the Sysdea System Dynamics software, which makes System Dynamics modelling properly accessible to practically anyone.

Chris’ browser-based approach brings System Dynamics modelling squarely into the 21st century and exploits all the benefits of the Cloud. Chris has also clearly put much thought into ease-of-use and demystification of preceding approaches, not only to modelling but also to the practicalities of System Dynamics. In a nutshell, he has created a simulation package that is easy to understand. Because it is sharable and browser-based, there is nothing to install and there is no barrier to looking at, running and understanding models by people with no training in System Dynamics or System Dynamics software. Novices can open the web app and create working models with much more efficiency than ever before.

Simon Shepherd (Left), the UK Chapter President, presenting the Geoff Coyle Medal to Chris Spencer (Right)
There are two outstanding features of the Sysdea software that justify the award of the Geoff Coyle prize to Chris Spencer. First, the speed with which models can be created. The design concept makes model building fast and easy. Second, the ease of sharing the models, either finished for review or in co-creation. This is a great benefit in teaching, as well as for practical business applications and even scientific use. Chris Spencer is highly deserving of the prize and the policy council has no doubt that Geoff Coyle, once he recovered from the shock of how easy Sysdea makes System Dynamics, would agree wholeheartedly.

The Sysdea software, for which Chris has been awarded the Geoff Coyle Medal, can be found at www.sysdea.com. In addition the Sysdea User Guide can be downloaded from www.sdl.re/sysdeaguidePDF, and there are more resources at resources.sysdea.com. A copy of the presentation Chris gave at the conference is available from systemdynamics.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016-Day1-Spencer-Presentation.pdf.

We at Ventana Systems are looking forward to seeing our friends and colleagues at the System Dynamics conference in Delft. We’ve been busy with marketing mix models in consumer products, individual and aggregate models in pharma, and a project model for a very large delay and disruption claim, but we can’t talk about those.

What we are excited to share is our progress on Vensim and Ventity. Vensim 6.4 has new data import and export formats that are friendly to relational and “tidy data” sources often encountered in enterprise systems and analytics. We’ve also integrated Vensim’s newer optimization features into the interface, making Markov Chain Monte Carlo and flexible payoffs much easier to use. We’re putting the new features through their paces with an end-to-end sensitivity analysis of C-ROADS’ climate module. Ventity has matured greatly and we’re now using it to build models of knowledge diffusion in social networks and competitive dynamics with complex brand and channel offerings. For these projects, the ability to create entities and relationships among them on the fly, and to describe product attributes without the combinatorial explosion of array dimensions, is allowing us to do things that are hard in standard System Dynamics languages. We’re looking forward to a commercial release this fall.

ViaSim Solutions is the only provider of SD-based commercial business tools that are ready to use off-the-shelf with no customization and no additional consulting.

pmBLOX is a project management and planning tool that looks and feels like Microsoft Project. In fact, you can import Microsoft Project files directly into pmBLOX and get started immediately. In pmBLOX, an SD model represents each individual task and the various management policies that can be applied (e.g., adding resources, adding overtime). But, watch out! Just like the real world, productivity losses can occur due to over-crowding with too many resources or fatigue due to longer-than-normal work hours. pmBLOX presents results in a Gantt chart format with task dependencies and resource assignments that can easily be shared with others.

scmBLOX is a supply chain management and planning tool. Imagine the Beer Game to the extreme. With scmBLOX, the user can build any type of supply chain or have multiple supply chains interconnected in a massive supply web. The products built and delivered by the supply chains can be simple (like a bottle of beer) or can have very complex bills of material (like a car or computer). Each entity in the supply chain can have different inventory management and ordering policies that impact its performance, as well as the performance of the entire supply chain. Capture and quantify bullwhip effects, inventory reductions, just-in-time, and LEAN operations in a matter of minutes.

ViaSim Solutions specializes in the development of modeling tools for supply chain managers, project managers, and other decision makers that need access to powerful modeling tools in a user-friendly format. In addition to commercial-off-the-shelf tools like pmBLOX and scmBLOX, ViaSim also provides custom tool development, consulting, and training in the areas of strategic planning, project management, supply chain management, asset/fleet management, and workforce planning and development. ViaSim utilizes a framework that allows us to quickly develop and deploy modeling tools that employ drag-and-drop functionality in an environment that is similar to many of the office tools that today’s organizations use. These solutions provide the power of the most advanced modeling tools to subject matter experts and other staff that have previously relied on specially trained staff in order to get the modeling and simulation data they need. Our client list includes large defense contractors, DoD, other federal agencies, city governments, and universities.

J. Chris White, President, 214-335-9949, mjcwhite@viasimsolutions.com, www.viasimsolutions.com

From .edu to CEO: Wiley is with you every step of the way. Wiley is the leading publisher in the fields of Business and Management, providing access to quality content written by the field’s foremost thinkers. Wiley takes the lead among publishers with our unparalleled experience in meeting the many and diverse needs across the entire global Business and Management community. Students, academics, teachers and professionals are all supported across the span of their careers, and across the diversity of sub disciplines in the field. We provide this support through a variety of media, including books, textbooks, course offerings, major reference works and our unrivalled journals program that had 6.3 million downloads last year alone. Our broad portfolio encompasses strategy, leadership, entrepreneurship, supply chain management, organizational behavior, ethics, human resources, and more. We are the proud publisher of the System Dynamics Review. Click here for more information.

A hearty thank you to all our 2016 sponsors! For a full list of all sponsors, see sponsors page of this newsletter.

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Phone: +1 518 442 3865; Fax: +1 518 442 3398; Email: office@systemdynamics.org

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