Strategy Dynamics releases new mini-course on Agile System Dynamics
September 15, 2016

Simulating business situations was, until recently, complicated, slow and costly - and the end-result could be disappointing. But recent advances in both method and tools have transformed this situation - building working, quantified business models is now easier, faster, cheaper and more reliable than trying to do the same thing with a spreadsheet.

The videos were recorded in a half-day workshop led by Kim Warren of Strategy Dynamics at the System Dynamics conference in Delft and have been edited into a series of clips, in three parts. They explain and demonstrate an "Agile" approach to System Dynamics, in which very simple working models are built quickly with users, before adding more and more elements to build up a rich model of the situation. To access the full content of the course, please complete the required free registration.

The class uses the Sysdea software - designed to be as easy-as-possible to use, although any System Dynamics software could be used. For more information, please email contact@strategydynamics.com.


Member Corey Lofdahl Takes On Position as Principal Engineer at System of System Analysis Corporation (SoSACorp)
September 12, 2016

Member Dr. Corey Lofdahl is now employed as a Principal Engineer at System of System Analysis Corporation (SoSACorp) starting August 2016. At SoSACorp, he will work on the design of policy support systems. Specifically, he will leverage model creation and combination insights from the System Dynamics (SD) simulation methodology to inform the design of support tools for Department of Defense analysts. This work is based on research started under the DARPA Integrated Battle Command (IBC) and Conflict Modeling, Planning, and Outcomes Experimentation (COMPOEX) programs in which he built a suite of integrated political, economic, and military SD models. As follow-on work to this research, Corey spent six months working as a political-military quantitative analyst in Kabul, Afghanistan. He holds degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and international relations from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Brown University, and MIT. He is also the author of the monograph Environmental Impacts of Globalization and Trade: A System Study (MIT Press 2002) that combines SD simulation with spatial econometric and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques. On behalf of the Society, congratulations and good luck to Corey!


Member Rogelio Oliva appointed Full Professor
September 6, 2016

Member Rogelio Oliva has been appointed a Full Professor of Information and Operations Management at Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, starting September 1st, 2016.

His research explores how behavioral and social aspects of an organization interact with its technical components to determine the firm's operational performance. Rogelio teaches courses in operations management, supply chain management, and management information systems for the MBA and Executive MBA programs. Prior to joining the Mays faculty, Rogelio served in the faculty of the Harvard Business School, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Chile, and ITESM in Mexico. He has received multiple teaching awards including the Production and Operations Management Society's Skinner Teaching Achievement Award and the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University Distinguished Achievement Award at the College and University levels. Rogelio has a strong tradition of volunteering for the System Dynamics Society. He was program co-chair of the 2007 ISDS Conference in Boston, served as President of the Society in 2010, and was the editor of the System Dynamics Review from 2012-2015.


Dynamic Estimation Model: the gap between needs and availability of health services through 2020
September 6, 2016

Member Jim Thompson’s work with healthcare System Dynamics in Indonesia has recently been published as a series of 34 booklets titled Dynamic Estimation Model: the gap between needs and availability of health services through 2020. Written in Bahasa, the Indonesian language, each booklet covers the results of one of the nation’s 33 provinces, and the final booklet contains a summary report for the full country. The booklets are now available as a free download. The principal audiences are, as Jim has noted, “provincial parliamentarians who enact laws to conform with the national goal of universal healthcare coverage. Hospital administrators, medical school administrators, pharmaceutical providers, and commercial developers use the reports in their strategic planning.” Referring to the publications and the work he led in Indonesia, Jim states “Our work already has had quite a strong impact. Because of our reasoning and recommendations, provinces are planning medical schools and revising plans for hospital facilities. Immigration regulations covering physicians and nurses are under review for liberalization, and provinces are taking a second look at their plans to expand healthcare coverage between now and 2019. So I think the methodology is contributing a lot to healthcare systems conditions in this very large and wonderful country!” A 300-page English language book is now in production that summarizes results for each province and discusses development of the underlying System Dynamics model.


Publication by Members Mohammad S. Jalali and Hazir Rahmandad in Obesity Reviews

The article “Social influence in childhood obesity interventions: a systemic review,” by members Mohammad S. Jalali and Hazir Rahmandad, along with their colleagues, Zahra Sharafi-Avarzaman and Alice S. Ammerman, has been published in the September 2016 issue of the journal Obesity Reviews. In the summary of the article, the authors write “The objective of this study is to understand the pathways through which social influence at the family level moderates the impact of childhood obesity interventions. We conducted a systematic review of obesity interventions in which parents' behaviours are targeted to change children's obesity outcomes, because of the potential social and environmental influence of parents on the nutrition and physical activity behaviours of children.”

Read more in the full article available on the Wiley Online Library. The casual loop diagram created by the authors to visualize the outputs of the literature review can also be viewed online.


Publication by Members Jack Homer and Gary Hirsch in Health Affairs
August 15, 2016

Members Jack Homer and Gary Hirsch, together with colleagues Bobby Milstein and Elliott Fisher, have a new publication entitled “Combined Regional Investments Could Substantially Enhance Health System Performance and Be Financially Affordable” in the August issue of Health Affairs, a leading health policy journal in the US, (Health Affairs 2016;35(8):1435-43). The article reports on policy conclusions drawn from the ReThink Health model. A blog posting about the article including a link to the article itself can be viewed online. More information about the ReThink Health Dynamics is available on their website.

The authors write “Results suggest that there may be an effective and affordable way to unlock much greater health and economic potential, ultimately reducing severe illness by 20 percent, lowering health care costs by 14 percent, and improving economic productivity by 9 percent. This would require combined investments in clinical and population-level initiatives, coupled with financial agreements that reduce incentives for costly care and reinvest a share of the savings to ensure adequate long-term financing.”


Publication by Member Bill Grace in the Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research
August 09, 2016

Member of the Australasian Chapter, Bill Grace, who is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia’s Urban Design Research Centre, has published an article in the Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research (Volume 7, Issue 4) entitled “Simulating sustainability: a resources perspective.” Inspired by the Limits to Growth studies, the article reports the application of a global population–economy–resource model to explore the future impact of declining resource availability on the world economy. Bill explains “The model is highly simplified in comparison to the World 3–03 model and focuses on the influence of resource constraints on aggregate global output. Thus it seeks to capture the essential resource crisis reflected in Scenarios 1 and 2 of World 3–03 but using readily available data, which facilitates a quasi-quantitative analysis of system trajectory, and application at the region or nation scale. The model has been constructed to project the current trajectory of population, economic production and associated resource use into the future, with results that are similar to World 3–03. Policy interventions involving a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, reduced resource intensity and materials recycling are necessary to correct this trajectory and facilitate ongoing improvements in global average living standards.” The model is accessible via Bill’s website.


The Application of System Dynamics to Impact Assessment
August 09, 2016

Impact assessment, simply defined, is the process of identifying the future consequences of a current or proposed action. (International Association for Impact Assessment). In recent years there have been increasing calls for impact assessment to better recognize the interconnectedness of the various components of socio-ecological systems, and to adopt a systems approach to conducting impact assessments. This is particularly important for forms of impact assessment that focus upon sustainability, since sustainability itself is a holistic concept in which social and environmental concerns are inherently intertwined, regardless of which particular definition of sustainability is adopted. Society member, Bill Grace together with his co-author Dr Jenny Pope, a leading sustainability assessment scholar, have written a book chapter in The Handbook of Sustainability Assessment (eds Morrison-Saunders, Pope, Bond) entitled “A Systems Approach to Sustainability Assessment.” The chapter introduces System Dynamics to the reader through a simple example of sustainability-related analysis, considering the extent to which the system behavior reflects some of the concepts and heuristics of resilience thinking. The authors then propose the structure for a systems model for sustainability and describe how systems analysis can inform sustainability assessment, i.e. any process that seeks to direct decision-making towards sustainability. The Handbook of Sustainability Assessment can be found on the website of its publisher, Edward Elgar.


LinkedIn Pulse Article by Member Kim Warren
July 29, 2016

The article “The Power of Living Business Models” by Kim Warren of Strategy Dynamics has been published on LinkedIn Pulse. In the article, Kim discusses the importance of building functional business models, he states “…working, quantified business models are easy to build (easier, faster and way-better than those tired old spreadsheets!) In these business models, everything is specified and quantified, every causal relationship is explicit and can be checked, and the result is a living model of the business or issue of interest that mimics its actual and prospective performance. Such models do what the real world does, and do so for the same reasons, and can also include all relevant external factors, including competitors.” Kim explains that most business plans neglect to show revenue generated and expenses incurred. The models he shares demonstrate the benefits of a “live” business model. Read more about Kim’s business models in the full article.


Publication by Member Salman Ahmad in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
July 27, 2016

The article "Application of System Dynamics Approach in Electricity Sector Modelling: A Review” by member Salman Ahmad, along with colleagues Razman Mat Tahar, Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki, Abu Bakar Munir, and Ruzairi Abdul Rahim, has been published in volume 56 of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, April 2016. As stated in the abstract, “Electricity has become a vital source of energy for social and economic development in modern era. Likewise, the issues of its planning and management have grown complex. To address complexity in decision making, researchers have chosen system dynamics (SD) modelling and simulation technique. A state-of-art of such studies published during the period 2000–2013 is presented in this paper. The contribution of this review lies in categorizing the literature based on the important and contemporary researched areas. These research areas include models developed for policy assessment, generation capacity expansion, financial instruments, demand side management, mixing methods, and finally micro-worlds.” The full article can be accessed on the Science Direct website.


Member David Keith quoted: Tesla Motor Company’s Role in Popularizing Green Energy
July 27, 2016

In a July 24, 2016 New York Times article by Matt Richtel titled “Elon Musk of Tesla Sticks to a Mission Despite Setbacks,” the future path of Tesla is explored. After a fatal accident involving Tesla’s Autopilot, entrepreneur Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors, presses forward with his vision to expand the use of green energy. Musk talks about his plan for the largest battery factory, the Gigafactory in Nevada. As stated in the article, “Scale and speed are watchwords for Mr. Musk and his save-the-world view of business, which addresses some of the biggest pressure points in climate change. Mr. Musk wants to create an alternative to fossil fuels by popularizing solar power and by using batteries to store energy from the sun and wind to power homes, cars and businesses at any time of day and in any season.” Speaking of the impact Tesla has made by influencing the culture, David Keith, an assistant professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and System Dynamics Society member, said “It’s the first time, possibly ever, that a green product, with significant environmental credentials, has been the thing that everybody wanted.” The full article can be viewed on the New York Times website.


Announcing a publication by members Guido Veldhuis and Hubert Korzilius: “Seeing with the Mind: The Relationship Between Spatial Ability and Inferring Dynamic Behaviour from Graphs.”
July 20, 2016

Is people’s understanding of accumulation and correlation heuristic reasoning related to their spatial ability? It has been several years since the ‘systems thinking inventory’ task was introduced by Linda Booth Sweeney and John Sterman. Since then researchers around the world have repeated and extended the systems thinking inventory experiments. The results have again and again demonstrated that many people misperceive the relation between stocks and flows. In a new publication, members Guido Veldhuis and Hubert Korzilius shed light on the precursors of this phenomenon. Their research draws on knowledge and experimental results from other domains and offers a new perspective on performance in the aforementioned tasks. As stated in the abstract, “We tested if two dimensions of spatial ability, spatial visualization and spatial relations, are related to selecting correct or correlation heuristic answers in tasks involving graphs over time. The analyses show that spatial visualization is positively related to performance in some systems thinking inventory tasks and is negatively related to responses that show correlation heuristic reasoning.” The article is now available as an Early View publication from Systems Research and Behavioral Science. The full article can be accessed on the Wiley Online Library.


New York Times talks about a publication by member Navid Ghaffarzadegan
July 14, 2016

On July 14, 2016, the New York Times featured an article written by Gina Kolata titled “So Many Research Scientists, So Few Openings as Professors,” which discusses the challenges of academic job market for PhD graduates. The article refers to a previous systems analysis done by Richard Larson, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, and Yi Xue on measuring growth in the PhD population in the United States. The original paper, “Too Many PhD Graduates or Too Few Academic Job Openings: The Basic Reproductive Number R0 in Academia,” was published in 2014 in Systems Research and Behavioral Science. As quoted from the abstract, “the academic job market has become increasingly competitive for PhD graduates. In this note, we ask the basic question of ‘Are we producing more PhDs than needed?’ We take a systems approach and offer a ‘birth rate’ perspective: professors graduate PhDs who later become professors themselves, an analogue to how a population grows. We show that the reproduction rate in academia is very high.” The full paper can be viewed on the Wiley Online Library website.


New Ph.D.: SDS Member Diana M. Fisher Successfully Defended Her Dissertation in System Science
July 13, 2016

We are happy to share the news that Diana M. Fisher has successfully defended her dissertation titled Introducing Complex Systems Analysis in High School Mathematics Using System Dynamics Modeling: A Potential Game-Changer for Mathematics Instruction in the System Science Ph.D. Program at Portland State University. Diana is grateful to her Ph.D. committee: Dr. Wayne Wakeland (chair), System Science, Dr. Brian Greer, Mathematics Education, Dr. Ron Narode, Mathematics Education, Dr. Robert Fountain, Statistics, and Dr. Lisa Weasel, Biology who were very supportive. Additionally, Diana would like to thank the SD teachers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute System Dynamics Program, as well as George Richardson and Barry Richmond who provided significant instruction in System Dynamics Modeling in preparation for her doctoral work. Diana is an adjunct professor at Portland State University. On behalf of the Society, congratulations to Dr. Fisher!


Announcing the Publication of Members’ Article “Let’s Talk Change in a University: A Simple Model for Addressing a Complex Agenda”
July 07, 2016

Included in the Early View of the journal Systems Research and Behavioral Science was an article titled “Let’s Talk Change in a University: A Simple Model for Addressing a Complex Agenda” by Society members Raafat M. Zaini, Oleg V. Pavlov, Khalid Saeed, and Michael J. Radzicki, along with fellow colleagues Allen H. Hoffman and Kristen R. Tichenor. As stated in the abstract, “This paper reports on a real-life study in a US university. In response to financial issues, the administration at an undergraduate tuition-dependent university pushed for growth in student enrollment. The faculty, who argued that the quality of education had been declining, resisted the expansion. More students also affected the use of the university's infrastructure. By actively engaging key stakeholders, we developed a simple system dynamics model of university expansion. A major insight suggests that policy decisions made non-holistically might result in counter-intuitive outcomes that could take considerable time from which to recover.” The article is also published in a special issue, Education as a Complex System, of which Society member Navid Ghaffarzadegan is the guest editor. The full article can be accessed on the Wiley Online Library.


Member Stefan Groesser Appointed Visiting Professor at Heilbronn University Graduate School, Germany
July 07, 2016

Member Stefan Groesser was appointed as a visiting Professor at Heilbronn University Graduate School (HUGS), in September 2016. At the HUGS, he will be lecturing on research methods and research designs. Stefan is currently a professor of Strategic Management and Organization at the Bern University of Applied Sciences and a senior lecturer at the Institute of Management, University of St. Gallen. He applies System Dynamics to his research on business model, strategy, and technology management. Stefan holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He is an author of articles and peer-review journals, including the System Dynamics Review, and books with, for example, Wiley and Springer. More information is available at stefan-groesser.com and strategysimulationlab.org. On behalf of the Society, congratulations and good luck to Stefan!”


Jay W. Forrester Featured in Four Centuries on Innovation Exhibit at Logan International Airport in Boston
July 06, 2016

Jay W. Forrester’s invention of the computer’s first core memory in 1946 is featured in Four Centuries of Innovation, an exhibit at Logan International Airport in Boston that highlights the history of Massachusetts as a center of innovation. Of the nearly 600 innovations complied, Jay was one of the 49 selected to be included in the exhibit. Exhibit creators Robert Krim of Framingham State University and Janey Bishoff of Bishoff Communications note that “Each of the Massachusetts innovations made such a significant impact on life or society, that it changed the nation or the world.” Four Centuries of Innovations opened in June in the new connection between Terminals C and E at Logan International. On display in this corridor exhibition are 49 wall mounted tiles, as well as a sixteen screen video installation, featuring innovations in medicine, technology, education, bio-technology, and social and cultural advancements. The exhibit has gained much attention from visitors and will remain as a permanent fixture at Logan International Airport.


Member Benjamin Chang-Kwon Chung Introduces Systems Dynamics to High School Students in South Korea
July 01, 2016

Member Benjamin Chang-Kwon Chung reported success in bringing System Dynamics into the K-12 program in South Korea. Through social media, Professor Chung introduced a modeling program based on Pamela Lee Hopkins’ “Simulating Hamlet in the classroom” published in the System Dynamics Review Vol 8, Issue 1. Chung’s efforts in the classroom were published on June 21, 2016, in Chosunilbo, a top daily national newspaper in South Korea. The article describes that after students analyzed the text, they “…were arranged in groups of four and each assigned and submitted a rating. Professor Chung then used a computer simulation to quantify the play with those scores.” While speaking of this new type of curriculum, Professor Chung stated “I hope many people can develop their imaginations through the meetings of humanities and engineering. I want to see Systems Thinking permeate South Korea.” Read more about Professor Chung’s “Shakespeare’s Hamlet Modeling program” in the full article.


New PhD: Member Vincent de Gooyert Passes the Examination of His PhD
June 29, 2016

We are happy to share the news that member Vincent de Gooyert passed the examination of his PhD dissertation! Vincent is Assistant Professor at Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University. Vincent gratefully acknowledged those individuals and organizations in the System Dynamics community who contributed to and supported him in the development of his PhD thesis, titled “Stakeholder Dynamics in the Dutch Energy Transition.” His supervisors were Etiënne Rouwette, Hans van Kranenburg, and Edward Freeman. An article based on the research, titled "Sustainability transition dynamics: towards overcoming policy resistance," was published in the journal Technological Forecasting & Social Change. Congratulations Dr. de Gooyert! The Society wishes you much success.


Climate Change Webinar
June 29, 2016

MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman held a one-hour complimentary Webinar on July 13. Sterman and his colleagues developed this interactive simulation to help people understand climate change and the long-term climate impacts of policy scenarios.

This online event, The Dynamics of Climate Change—from the Political to the Personal, explored the dynamics of the climate interactively and suggested what we can do both professionally and personally to build a safer, sustainable world. Known as C-ROADS, this award-winning modeling software has been used by more than 15,000 people, including policy makers and negotiators, in 53 nations around the world, and was freely available to participants in the webinar.

Participants of this webinar learned:

The webinar was followed by a live Q&A with Professor Sterman on Facebook.

About the presenter:

John Sterman’s research focuses on improving managerial decision making in complex systems. He has pioneered the development of “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems now used by businesses and universities around the world. He is the author of Modeling for Learning Organizations and the award-winning textbook, Business Dynamics. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Fortune, The Financial Times, and BusinessWeek, among others. He has received eight awards for “Teaching Excellence” at MIT, as well as numerous other honors.

To view the full post click here.


Research Seminar Preceding Vennix’s Valedictory Lecture at Radboud University
June 28, 2016

A research seminar was held on June 27th that preceded Jac Vennix’s valedictory lecture at Radboud University. About 25 researchers attended the seminar entitled, “New developments in participatory modelling and conceptualization.”

Presentations from Radboud University included: Group model building—Be prepared by Marleen McCardle, Group model building in an intercultural perspective by Inge Bleijenbergh, The development and validation of a team level cultural intelligence scale by Hubert Korzilius, Conflict, power and group model building by Etiënne Rouwette, and Five ways to use system dynamics for theoretical contributions by Vincent de Gooyert. The event also featured David Lane of the University of Reading presenting GMB work for the Munro review of child protection and The supply line bias—less problematic than assumed? by Andreas Größler of the University of Stuttgart.

Jac participated in the lively discussions and provided links between the works presented and the farewell speech that he gave later that day. He thanked all participants and attendants for the high quality of the talks and the contributions to the discussion.

In addition, Methods, Model Building and Management: A liber amicorum for Jac Vennix has been published in honor of Jac’s retirement. The liber amicorum (book of friends), edited by Inge Bleijenbergh, Hubert Korzilius and Etiënne Rouwette, can be found here. The book and each chapter has been added to the System Dynamics Bibliography. To see the list of references, go to the Bibliographic Updates Webpage under Updated Information for references other than journals.


The University of Witwatersrand Now Offering Free Online Courses
June 27, 2016

Creamer Media’s Engineering News published the news that the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa offered free online courses. System Dynamics for Health Sciences, instructed by member David Rubin, was the first of three courses to be launched. As stated in the article “ The System Dynamics for Health Sciences, which would educate learners on how to use system dynamics to better understand complex medical issues and intervention, would be taught by Wits biomedical engineering Adjunct Professor David Rubin, Wits biomedical engineer and lecturer Robyn Letts and Johns Hopkins University Professor Tak Igusa.” View the full article to learn more about this course and other courses that are being launched in an effort to increase access to higher education.


Publication by member Jim duggan
June 23, 2016

Member Jim Duggan, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Ireland Galway, published System Dynamics Modeling with R, which is part of the Springer Lecture Notes on Social Networks.

This book provides a practical introduction to System Dynamics, and explains key model structures including material delays, stock management heuristics, and how to model effects between different system elements. Examples from epidemiology, health systems and economics are presented, and the R programming language is used to provide an open-source and interoperable way to build System Dynamics models.

The book also presents techniques that can enhance client confidence in System Dynamic models, including model testing, calibration, and statistical screening. The book is written for undergraduate and postgraduate students of System Dynamics, simulation, computer science and applied mathematics.

The choice of R as a modeling language makes it an ideal reference text for those wishing to integrate System Dynamics modeling with related data science methods and techniques.


Member Stephen Cucchiaro Featured in Current Issue of Bloomberg Magazine
June 21, 2016

Member Stephen Cucchiaro, president of 3Edge Asset Management in Boston, was featured in a story in the Bloomberg Markets magazine. The article, written by Jon Asmundsson, revealed how Stephen developed an investment method using complex systems. Stephen had studied complex systems as a math major at MIT and went on to study finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It was at the Wharton School that “he began to realize that global capital markets are a perfect example of complex systems.” As a management consultant, economist, and entrepreneur, Stephen has started several investment firms, 3Edge Asset Management is the latest. He stated “…part of our approach is to identify asset classes that are not only undervalued but where there’s a catalyst that we can identify.” As a result, gold and emerging markets became his current focus. The full article can be seen in the June/July issue of Bloomberg Markets.


Member Jac Vennix Gives Valedictory Lecture at Radboud University
June 20, 2016

On May 27th, Jac Vennix held his valedictory lecture Management Science: that can be quite an art at Radboud University. It served the purpose to get the System Dynamics and Group Model Building message across to a wider audience, including colleague professors and members of the University Board. Subjects discussed in the lecture included a.o.: SD: origins and basic assumptions, the Limits to Growth study (recent research shows that real developments over the last 40 years come closest to the standard scenario of LtG), SD modelling as a learning process, the need to involve stakeholders, GMB and group facilitation, the EMSD (European Master in System Dynamics) program (combining the “science of model building” with the “art of facilitation”), as well as results of evaluation studies on the effectiveness of GMB. The lecture was well received by the audience. With that lecture Jac Vennix effectively has become professor emeritus as of June 1st. On behalf of the Society, congratulations to Jac!

Presiding Rector Magnificus Bas Kortmann (middle) surrounded by System Dynamics professors Etiënne Rouwette, Jac Vennix, Pål Davidsen, Peter Milling, David Lane, Andreas Größler

Jac Vennix delivering his valedictory lecture

Jac Vennix receiving a ‘liber amicorum’ offered by his colleagues Hubert Korzilius, Etiënne Rouwette and Inge Bleijenbergh


Announcing the Publication of Dynamic Performance Management by Carmine Bianchi
June 13, 2016

Member Carmine Bianchi is the author of the published book Dynamic Performance Management. In his book, Carmine provides “…useful resource to help design and implement performance management systems using System Dynamics approach.” A summary of Dynamic Performance Management states “This book explores how to design and implement planning & control (P&C) systems that can help organizations to manage their growth and restructuring processes in a sustainability perspective. The book is not designed to enable the reader to become an experienced System Dynamics modeler; rather, it aims to develop the reader’s capabilities to design and implement performance management systems by using a System Dynamics approach.” Carmine Bianchi is a Professor of Business and Public Management at the University of Palermo in Italy, and director of the Master level program in Public Management.


Development Planning and Policy Design: A System Dynamics Approach, a Book by Khalid Saeed
June 13, 2016

Member Khalid Saeed, a Professor of Economics and System Dynamics at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has written many articles and two books on the topic of using System Dynamics to approach economic, organizational and political subjects. Khalid’s latest publication, the Kindle edition of Development Planning and Policy Design: A System Dynamics Approach, explores the use of System Dynamics to tackle problems of poverty, environment and governance matters. In the foreword of the book, Dennis Meadows, from the University of New Hampshire, writes “In his exposition, Khalid has not proceeded to build a single complicated model subsuming all complex social and ecological relationships existing in a national organization, but has sliced the planning problem into three abstract subsystems concerning, respectively, economic growth and income distribution, management of physical resources and technology and the functioning of the political organization.”


Cooper Human Systems (CHS) Announces Commercial Availability of Discovery2
June 9, 2016

A second generation modeling service, Discovery2, designed by CHS engineers, System Dynamics Modelers, and immunologists “demonstrates and predicts the human efficacy of drug combinations and protocols aimed at curing complex diseases related to the human immune system,” according to a press release on Business Wire.

By simulating the effects of various drug combinations on diseases such as HIV and some cancers and neurological disorders, Discovery2 “helps pharma partners predict winners, but just as importantly, assists in identifying losers: those compounds which will not succeed in human trials,” the press release continues.

“The ability to foresee eventual trial results and abandon (lose early) and re-architect portions of pharma’s development pipeline should save the pharma industry decades of time and billions of dollars currently spent in failed clinical trial pipelines of complex immune system disorders,” said John Stafford, CEO at Cooper. “We believe the Cooper Discovery2 service provides a truly breakout series of value-added benefits to pharma partners, including enormous cost savings, improved pipeline confidence, accelerated time to market, longer duration revenue streams, and scientific and competitive advantage.”

Ken Cooper, Chairman of Cooper Human Systems, is a member and VP Professional Practice of the System Dynamics Society.


Member David Keith Appointed to the Mitsui Career Development Professorship at MIT Sloan
June 6, 2016

Member David Keith was appointed to the Mitsui Career Development Professorship at MIT Sloan, on July 1, 2016. David is an assistant professor in the System Dynamics group at MIT Sloan, where he researches topics including alternative fuel vehicle diffusion and transportation policy, and teaches masters and doctoral classes in system dynamics modeling. Appointment to career development chairs, quoting deputy dean, Prof. Ezra Zuckerman, recognize David’s "accomplishments and future promise as an outstanding scholar and educator.” David completed his PhD in the Engineering Systems Division at MIT in 2012, and is a previous recipient of the Dana Meadows Award from the System Dynamics Society. On behalf of the System Dynamics Society, congratulations to David!


Announcing the Publication of Member Khalid Saeed’s book Towards Sustainable Development
June 3, 2016

The Kindle edition of Towards Sustainable Development 3rd Edition: Essays on System Analysis of National Policy by Khalid Saeed is now available. The book’s summary describes the work as “a collection of essays on economic development using System Dynamics modeling and computer simulation.” Khalid, a professor of economics and System Dynamics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, would like to acknowledge Raafat Zaini and Raid Zaini for spearheading this project.


Systems Planning: The ‘Art of Efficiency’, featuring a New Genre of Scholarly Journals
June 2, 2016

The initiative: Systems Planning- Systems Planning stems from well-known methodological developments in various fields of knowledge, including System Dynamics and Systems Thinking, Project Management, and Strategic Planning. The initiative can be thought of as a ‘holistic conduct platform’ dedicated to ‘the art of efficiency’. Systems Planning is curated by Anastassios (Tasso) Perdicoulis with the help of a select team of scholars from various fields of knowledge.

Particularity and Links to SD/ST- Systems Planning develops and maintains its own planning methodology (SPM) and modelling language (SPML), both of which focus on three related ‘planning objects’: systems (e.g. city, state, enterprise), processes (e.g. operations, projects), and plans (or policies, or strategies) — i.e. a wider scope than System Dynamics or Systems Thinking. Systems Planning models and simulations are qualitative or ‘manual’, but include mark-up (e.g. elements of the planning problem). A common type of diagrams between SD/ ST and Systems planning are their causal diagrams: causal loop diagrams on one side, and reverse blueprints on the other, with the latter featuring semantic mark-up.

Publication and a new genre of scholarly journals- The exploration, refinement, and dissemination of ideas in Systems Planning are secured by an independent editorial venture, which defends open reviews, exceptional quality (e.g. argument, text, diagrams, typesetting), and steering clear of ‘exploitation’ or ‘underground’ publication models. The publications initiative introduces a new genre of scholarly journals designated as ‘lab journals’ that are workspaces for critical thinking, learning, and creative contribution. All publications are open to authors in the spirit, style, scope, and subject matter of Systems Planning, and also open to bona fide and well-intended contributions and feedback such as peer reviews.


NATCOR Holds System Dynamics Seminar for PhD Students in UK
May 23, 2016

NATCOR, a National Taught Course Centre in Operational Research, held its first SD national course for PhD students in the UK on May 9-11, 2016. The two and a half day seminar introduced System Dynamics and its use in operational research and strategic end of operations with a variety of lectures, workshops and discussions of applied research. The seminar was instructed by John Morecroft from London Business School, Brian Dangerfield from Bristol University, and Martin Kunc from Warwick Business School. There were eighteen students from different universities and departments in the UK who attended the course. The principal topics of study were categorized into three parts: Introduction to System Dynamics, System Dynamics and Differential Equations, and Research Application of System Dynamics. The object was for “students to learn enough about System Dynamics to appreciate how it might apply to their own research interests.” Speaking about their experience, one student remarked “I liked the practical sessions which enabled me to understand more of how the method works,” and another student exclaimed “NATCOR is a brilliant idea!”


Member Ali Masoudi Takes On Position as Environmental Specialist at the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD)
May 19, 2016

Member Ali Masoudi is now employed as an Environmental Specialist at the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), starting May 2016. At the US BCSD, he will be working on waste, materials and resource efficiency. More specifically, he will be involved in “the US Materials Marketplace” project, a cloud-based platform designed to facilitate cross-industry materials reuse, in different states including Texas, Ohio, and Tennessee and also in Turkey. This is an international project in collaboration with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) under “The Near Zero Waste Program” which aims to mainstream the concept of waste minimization within a circular economy framework. Ali is currently a master’s student in Environmental Science at Yale University and as a research assistant at the Yale Center for Industrial Ecology. He applies System Dynamics to his research on “Low Carbon Cities in the US, China and India.” Ali holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from Iran and South Korea, respectively. He is a Certified ISSP Sustainability Associate and a committee chair of Environmental Management and Sustainability at Energy and Environment Division (EED) at American Society for Quality (ASQ). On behalf of the Society, congratulations and good luck to Ali!


In Memorium

June 23, 2016

Professor Qifan Wang passed away on May 31, 2016, in Shanghai. Professor Wang attended Tsinghua University in Beijing and taught there for many years. He was a visiting scholar at Sloan School of Management at MIT. Most recently he was a Professor at Fudan University, Shanghai. Qifan played an influential role in the field of System Dynamics in China. He had a long history of service to the System Dynamics Society. Qifan was a Program Co-chair for the 1987 International System Dynamics Conference held in Shanghai and editor of the conference proceedings. He was a Policy Council Member from 1985-1988. Qifan served as President-Elect, President, and Past President of the System Dynamics Society from 2006-2008. In his Presidential Address, Qifan spoke of his memories of meeting Jay Forrester at MIT and how Jay inspired him to devote his career to the development of System Dynamics in China. He was also a founding member and longtime representative of the China Chapter of the System Dynamics Society.

Prof. Qifan Wang’s memorial service was held at the Xibaoxing Road Funeral Home on Saturday, June 4, 2016. There were around 150 people who attended including Prof. Wang's family members, friends, colleagues and students et al. “We reviewed his past, his contributions, and his personality charm with deep grief” says Haiyan Yan, Representative of China Chapter of the System Dynamics Society, who has kindly shared the following summary of the memorial service.

More than 20 professional and university groups placed flower baskets at the memorial service and dozens of flower baskets were from Professor Wang’s colleagues, friends and relatives. Some of the families and friends who were unable to attend the memorial service sent messages of condolences. Among them, China Association for International Economic Cooperation’s vice president Professor Xiashan Chen et al. Professor Xia wrote a long article "Remembrance of Management Master - Professor Wang Qifan" which was issued on the Twenty-fourth Chinese Biz News on June 11, 2016.

At the memorial service, Prof. Lihua Huang, secretary of School of Management, Fudan University, introduced Professor Wang Qifan’s lifetime and his indelible contribution to the development of System Dynamics in China. Student representatives, Dr. Li Lingling memorialized Professor Qifan Wang’s guidance and love to his students. Mr. Shoukim Shen, on behalf of the students of Professor Wang’s Alma Mater Tsinghua University made a speech. Finally, Professor Wang’s son Mr. Min Wang, on behalf of the relatives, thanked all the guests present at the memorial service, as well as those who sent wreaths and message of condolence. All the guests bowed and sent flowers one by one.

Professor Wang’s students from Fudan University, Tongji University and other overseas universities, distributed in all parts of the world, all walks of life, memorialized their teacher through social media. Prof. Qifan Wang, one of the most widely beloved master and profoundly influential scholar of all-time, leaves an indelible imprint on System Dynamics, leads us to harbor ideals, and march forward courageously. We send our deepest sympathy to the family, friends and worldwide colleagues of Qifan Wang. We will remember him fondly.



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