President's Newsletter 
Volume 13 - Number 1 - May 2000

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The global system dynamics practice within A.T. Kearney is developing steadily. During the past year the practice has brought value to clients in the transportation, high-tech, pulp & paper, aerospace & defense, financial services, pharmaceutical, and automotive sectors. Kearney brings system dynamics together with its traditional strengths in operations, strategy, and information technology to provide an integrated approach to client problems and opportunities. A.T. Kearney continues to build its core team of system dynamics experts who lead modeling work on client engagements. At the same time, the firm is training a small number of consultants in specialized data analysis, model analysis and, interface design. Through internal workshops a broad cross-section of consultants is becoming familiar with system dynamics and how it brings additional depth to client work. Please contact Dr. Nathan B. Forrester at (404) 760-6665 or by e-mail at nathan.forrester@atkearney.com or visit the firm's website at: www.atkearney.com. Our address is A.T. Kearney, Inc., 222 West Adams, Chicago, IL 60606.

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Andersen Consulting is one of the largest global technology and management consulting companies in the world. With our global reach, in all major industries and market segments, Andersen Consulting is helping our clients create their future. The use of system dynamics in our projects is truly innovative. Stepping beyond the traditional use in strategy, Andersen Consulting uses system dynamics in learning simulations coupled with virtual coach engines and encapsulates them in award-winning multimedia applications. System dynamics is also used in combination with discrete process simulations and agent-based simulations. Implementation of these simulations pushes the envelope of technology as we deploy client/server and net-centric architectures. With these innovative simulations and cutting-edge technology combined with proven industry knowledge, Andersen Consulting is one of the leaders in the business simulation arena. Contact information: Northbrook Technology Park, 3773 Willow Road Northbrook, Illinois 60012. Tel: (847) 714-3344, Fax: (847) 326-3344, E-mail: denny.j.park@ac.com, Web: http://www.ac.com

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BRB Consulting has been formed in the UK as a spin-off from Landair International. Its aim is to concentrate on the application of system dynamics in the commercial sector, leaving Landair to focus on the military side of the business. Besides being Vensim resellers we are also developers of Sable, a powerful, easy to use Vensim Graphical User Interface package. We are about to release Sable 2000, a more intuitive interface with web capabilities and enhanced graphics. To complement the software, we offer training in its use and a full support service including front-end development for client models. In addition to traditional System Dynamics model development, we offer a comprehensive range of training programmes, both bespoke and general, as well as an assortment of developer products and services from model compilation to networking and web enabling. For more detailed information of our offerings please visit our website: www.brbconsulting.com.

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Cognitus is an independent company providing training and consulting in system dynamics to a variety of business clients in the UK and Europe. Cognitus supports the ithink software exclusively in the UK and Ireland. The development philosophy behind ithink is intrinsic to Cognitus' philosophy of working direct with management groups to communicate system dynamics to a range of business audiences. Cognitus provides introductory and advanced training programmes in systems thinking and system dynamics. We are developing new courses in performance measurement, e-business and value-based management for programme delivery on a bespoke company-specific basis. Consultancy work is interesting and diverse. This year we have worked on a broad range of projects in health, financial services, e-business, telecommunications, utilities and oil and gas. Current research and writing has centred on the use of system dynamics in promoting value-based thinking in organisations. A book is in preparation for Gower Publishing. 

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Decision Dynamics, Inc. (DDI), founded in 1979, specializes in developing tools for decision support. DDI's tools enable users to build "what-if?" simulations of complex projects and programs. The US Defense Department uses the tools to assess the performance, cost and schedule tradeoffs among competing options. DDI's tools assist senior decision-makers in life cycle analysis of aging systems, project management, and acquisition programs. The company was recently awarded a $1.7 million contract to apply their tools to the US Navy's future force studies. Current applications also include helicopter and aviation programs, shipbuilding, force structure, assault weapons, logistical support and readiness. Dr. Louis Alfeld, DDI's president, began his modeling career when he joined the System Dynamics Group at MIT in 1970. 

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Hall, Vasil, & Dowd, CPA's, located in Belmont, Massachusetts was founded to provide in a professional and timely manner quality consulting, financial and tax services to individuals and closely held businesses in the United States. We offer ongoing management advisory services as well as accounting, taxation and litigation support services. Accounting: Whether you have a long established corporation or you're starting a new business venture, we can help you develop and implement the best accounting policies and procedures for your particular situation. Tax Services: In order to provide accurate and timely guidance, our tax specialists remain fully versed in the ever-changing US tax laws at the federal and state level. All the latest publications, policies and procedures are available to us. Legislative reports, drafts of bills and tax law changes are reviewed. Litigation Support Services: We offer a range of litigation support services to attorneys, financial officers and professional business people in a variety of areas. Management Advisory Services: We provide our clients an overall review of their business operations as well as focusing on specific problem areas. We have experience advising a diverse clientele from large governmental agencies to start-up businesses. Phone: 617-484-0000.

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Speed and complexity are the watchwords at Hewlett-Packard these days, and we at Strategic Planning and Modeling are using system dynamics analysis to help manage the risks in our highly competitive markets. Building on our previous work around commodity and product pricing, we've been helping to structure real options, proposing strategies that protect the inbound supply chain from shortages and destructive demand volatility. In the process, we've been challenging some old assumptions! For example, the lowest inventory level isn't always the best, buying (and selling) excess capacity can be a good thing, and sales reps should be rewarded for both revenue and asset management. We are currently focusing on the outbound side, using system dynamics to model market segment and channel behavior. Ultimately, these models will be integrated to understand the end-to-end supply chain, helping HP turn risk into profit and customer value. For additional information about HP, visit our website at http://www.hp.com

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High Performance Systems, Inc. (HPS) is in business to create systems thinking-based products and services that enable people to increase their capacity for learning, thinking, acting and communicating more effectively. The Company has four lines of business: software, public workshops, client services and distance learning support. It serves three markets: Business/Government, Education, and Business Schools. HPS software products include: the ithink and STELLA model-building and simulation software; a series of interactive case studies that were created in partnership with Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation; and two Learning Environments (Systems Thinking: Taking the Next Step, and Fly a Cell). HPS offers regular public workshops, both in-class and at-a-distance, on systems thinking and also on the Balanced Scorecard. The Company delivers a full array of systems thinking-based client services (in the form of in-house customized workshops, management flight simulators, modeling support and strategic forums), and is a one-stop-shopping provider of systems thinking-based products and services. HPS is partnering with several organizations to develop "simulation over the web" content for various distance learning curricula. HPS's internal service and support capabilities are multiplied through its network of strategic domestic and international partners. Visit us at www.hps-inc.com or call 1-800-332-1202 for more information. 

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Intel Corporation. The meteoric rise of electronic commerce has dramatically accelerated the basic rate at which businesses need to think. All types of decision making from customer classification, to pricing, to market trend recognition, to strategic initiatives need to be made faster than ever before. The key to faster decision making is better understanding of the relationships that influence whatever we are trying to optimize through our decisions. And the key to understanding these relationships, or patterns, is the appropriate use of data visualization. Visualization improves the ability to discover patterns or relationships in data, which leads to better system dynamics models and simulations. The insights revealed through data visualization drive quality and credibility in our system dynamics models. The resulting insight leads to better and faster electronic business. Just as Intel helped bring advanced multimedia technology (audio and video) to the desktop PC, the company is working with technology and service providers in the business analysis community to bring more sophisticated, yet easier to use solution bundles to individual analysts. Once the province of supercomputers and men in white coats, high end data visualization techniques are now within the reach of every business analyst through industry standard computers based off Intel® Pentium™ III processors, enhanced graphics cards, and new visualization software technologies. Intel is committed to delivering the key technologies and services to allow businesses to meet the needs of the new economy where the requirement to accelerate decision making is growing at a frenetic pace.

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Pegasus Communications, Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of a new, comprehensive website in May 2000. This site, www.pegasuscom.com, features over 300 products and includes a secure shopping cart and search functions by author, title, level, media, and subject area. Most system dynamics titles previously available through Productivity Press are now published by Pegasus and can be easily ordered through the site, as well as other new titles such The "Thinking" in Systems Thinking: Seven Essential Skills by Barry Richmond. Also learn about the 10th anniversary Systems Thinking in Action® Conference, October 23-25 in San Diego, CA-keynote speakers include John Sterman, Meg Wheatley, Peter Senge, and David Berdish. Since 1989, Pegasus Communications has worked to build a worldwide community of practitioners through the annual conference, The Systems Thinker and Leverage Newsletters, and books and other publications. For more information or to place an order, visit www.pegasuscom.com or call 800-272-0945, 781-398-9700, or fax 781-894-7175. Pegasus Communications, Inc. One Moody Street, Waltham MA 02453 USA.

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Powersim Corporation, the industry standard in providing business simulation solutions, is planning to release Powersim Studio Enterprise 2000 this summer. The new software helps businesses use their corporate data to find practical solutions to problems while strengthening their capabilities to confront future challenges. Earlier this year Powersim launched Simresource, a first-of-its-kind online exchange of business simulations that offers hundreds of simulation models for a wide range of business planning needs. This cutting-edge Web site allows simulation software to be downloaded electronically immediately after purchase. With Simresource, simulation users can gain access to models, while authors can sell their simulations, all in one convenient online community. Headquartered in Reston, VA, Powersim's simulations act as prototypes for business plans, allowing people to interact with scenarios in a safe environment, experiment with ideas and ultimately learn to make strategic decisions that improve their business. For more information visit www.powersim.com

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PricewaterhouseCoopers is happy to be a supporter of the System Dynamics Society and believes that the area of system dynamics is an exciting one which most of their clients can benefit from. PwC has a global specialist modelling group called Business Dynamics which specialises in the use of both systems thinking and system dynamics modelling. Systems thinking is used to initially assess the feedback associated with potential strategies, to understand organisational interrelationships on change management projects, to assist in the creation of performance measures for a Balanced Scorecard and any other areas where understanding the system is crucial to the success of the project. System dynamics is used to: validate potential strategies including market entry, e-business and sustainability strategies; develop market models to show the results of the interrelationships between a clients processes and its customers, competitors and suppliers; and also to assist in setting targets for performance measures which show significant interrelationships. A representative from the PwC Business Dynamics Group will be chairing the Consultants' Roundtable at the upcoming System Dynamics Society Conference in Bergen and will be happy to discuss these topics in more detail.

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Pugh-Roberts Associates continues an exclusive focus in system dynamics, now in our 37th year consulting to senior executive clients in the Fortune 500 to solve their strategic problems. Major clients include, for example, General Dynamics, Nortel, London Underground, Raytheon, Pepsi, 3Com, Jaguar and Ford. With a staff of 40 and growing, our global client-serving opportunities have expanded significantly since joining the 3000-staff PA Consulting Group in 1991. Among the more extreme examples of this is our new project for a biotech firm to bring our expertise to building a system dynamics model of the human body, beginning with the immune system, to benefit pharmaceutical and medical research. Most of our work, of course, continues in strategic management consulting. Our acquisition of the resources of the Magellan Group expands our range of offerings more broadly across the system dynamics spectrum. Finally, after years away from the simulation software market, we are re-entering this year through our new subsidiary, Strategic Simulation Systems. phone: (617) 864-8880, websites: http://www.strategisimulation.com/ http://www.pa-consulting.com/

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The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany, State University of New York is an internationally recognized leader in education and research focusing on politics, policy, and the implementation of public programs. Course offerings in system dynamics create a four-course sequence ranging from an introductory Masters level course on strategy and systems thinking to an advanced doctoral proseminar on model building and analysis. Some recent doctoral research projects include dynamic decision making, welfare reform, banking, university management, knowledge management and group model building. In addition, the System Dynamics Group has developed a series of strategic planning and systems thinking seminars specifically designed for the public sector. Coursework specializes in the use of system dynamics in the public sector, government information management, and computer simulation and decision support systems in public policy and public management. The College offers special certificate programs, internships, research opportunities and job placements. For information, please visit the website at http://www.albany.edu/gspa/

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The School of Business and Public Management (SBPM) at Victoria University of Wellington was very pleased to have been the co-host of the 17th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society and the 5th Australia and New Zealand Systems Conference held in Wellington in July 1999, attracting over 300 participants from over 30 different countries. Another highlight has been the recent publication of the book "Systems Thinking and Modelling: Understanding Change and Complexity" by Kambiz Maani and Bob Cavana. The School of Business and Public Management includes the disciplines of Management, Public Policy, Industrial Relations, Marketing, Tourism and Services Management, Maori Business, and International Business. The School offers courses at undergraduate (BCA) and postgraduate levels (Hons, MCA, MMS, PhD) , and makes a major teaching contribution to the MBA, MPP, MPM and other Graduate School programmes (please visit the SBPM web site: http://magog.fca.vuw.ac.nz/). The Master of Management Studies degree in Decision Sciences MMS(DecSci) is the main systems related graduate programme offered by the School of Business and Public Management. The programme emphasises modern developments in the decision sciences, incorporating linkages between 'soft' operational research, systems approaches and traditional operational research/management science. It provides mathematically or statistically oriented students with the concepts, techniques and knowledge required to analyse complex managerial problems and to improve managerial decision making processes in organisations in commerce, business and government. The programme involves a combination of coursework and research, spread over a minimum of 16 months study. http://www.vuw.ac.nz/mms/ or email tricia.lapham@vuw.ac.nz)

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SDSG has been applying various simulation tools into the strategic planning process within the Balanced Scorecard framework developed by Harvard professor Robert Kaplan. What makes this innovation relevant for the system dynamics audience is the dawning of recognition by mainstream management of the need to more deeply understand business dynamics from a systemic perspective. In addition, system dynamics can be considered as supporting and enriching other methodologies, thereby opening another pathway to acceptance of system dynamics thinking and working across the business environment in the future. SDSG, through its Leverage Institute, as been awarded the SAP 2000 University Alliance Curriculum Development Award from the senior management of SAP. It is widely accepted that financial indicators should be at the heart of executive information systems and should form the foundation for management decisionmaking. This study focuses on determining if there is a significant improvement in management decisionmaking if the key indicators include key business information from the client, process and organizational perspectives in addition to the traditional financial measures. The evolving web-simulation technology will provide the building blocks of the laboratory being developed for this work.

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Ventana Systems, Inc. is happy to have released Version 4 of Vensim in late 1999. Version 4 adds significant functionality including live links to spreadsheets and simplified subscript manipulation. Vensim PLE remains free for academic use and our new product Vensim PLE Plus provides more advanced functionality including Monte Carlo simulation and data handling at a textbook price. For more information on our products or consulting services please visit us at www.vensim.com.

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Vestec develops new business through active participation from the idea state until the company is ready for its Initial Public Offering. Vestec is currently developing companies within the areas of e-learning, e-commerce and communication. Vestec's team consists of members with different management experience and academic back-grounds. It is a goal for the company to use both systems thinking and system dynamics in the evaluation of new prospects as well as in the development of new companies. In one of our companies we developed learning materials for e-learning that incorporate system dynamics models to improve learning and understanding of complex systems.

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Roberta L. Spencer, Executive Director
System Dynamics Society
Milne 300 - Rockefeller College
University at Albany – SUNY
Albany, New York 12222 USA
Phone: (518) 442-3865     Fax: (518) 442-3398
e-mail: system.dynamics@albany.edu
http://www.albany.edu/cpr/sds/


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