Minutes of the General Business Meeting of the System Dynamics Society

22 August 1997

Istanbul, Turkey

In Attendance.

John D. W. Morecroft (Past President), Alexander L. Pugh, III (VP Finance), Michael J. Radzicki (Secretary), George P. Richardson (President), Roberta L. Spencer (Executive Director)

1. Call to Order.

The meeting was called to order at 11:16 AM by President George P. Richardson.

2. Report of the Executive Director

Executive Director Roberta Spencer presented a summary of her 1997 summer report. Some of the main points of the report were that:


Society membership is increasing.


there is a new arrangement for Society sponsors. Each sponsor will now receive three free Society memberships.


sales of the beer game and of back issues of the Review are strong.


the Society has a new brochure.


the Society office is in the process of producing a beer game facilitator's video.

3. Report of the Vice President - Finance

Vice President - Finance Jack Pugh reported that, once again, the financial position of the Society is strong. He summarized a financial report that he had prepared for the 1996 fiscal year. The main highlight of the report is that, under the cash method of accounting, the Society incurred an $8,700 loss during the fiscal year. Under the accrual method of accounting, however, the Society realized a $55,000 excess of revenues over costs during the fiscal year. The cash method was used to create the financial report for tax purposes. The cash basis loss was incurred because the Society paid for the 1997 operation of its principal office during the 1996 fiscal year, and because the revenue from the 1996 conference was posted to the Society's books in 1997. Pugh pointed out that this accounting technique is perfectly legal and conforms to generally accepted accounting principles.

4. Chapter Reports.


Japanese Chapter. Saburo Kameyama presented a summary of the 1997 Report of the Japanese Chapter. Among the highlights were that:


the Chapter now has 96 members, 31 of whom are also Society members.


the Chapter now has 11 corporate members.


the Chapter's 1997 activities included:


monthly research meetings with an average attendance of 15 persons.


the development of a national economic model.


the publication of a journal System Dynamics (Japanese). Volume 2 is in press.


sponsoring a joint session with JASAG on "Social System Modeling and Education" at Tokyo University in October of 1997.


the creation of a Japanese Chapter web site.


Chinese Chapter. Quifan Wang presented a summary of the 1997 Report of the Chinese Chapter. Among the highlights were that:


the Chapter now has approximately 500 members, one third of whom are full professors.


the Chapter sponsored a conference in July of 1997 that drew participants from 30 nations. The conference was widely covered on TV, radio, and in the newspapers.


the Chapter is currently engaged in two major projects - one on Chinese infrastructure and one involving the creation of a national economic model.

Quifan Wang suggested to the assembled Society members that the 2001 conference be held in Shanghai.


Indian Chapter. Santanu Roy reported on the activities of the Indian Chapter. Among the highlights were that:


the Chapter currently has 70 members, 20 of whom are international members.


the Chapter hosted a one-day system dynamics workshop for business executives.


the Chapter will host a national conference in November of 1997.


the Chapter is currently trying to determine how to streamline and update its journal: System Dynamics: An International Journal of Policy Modeling.


Italian Chapter. Habib Sedhi reported on the activities of the Italian Chapter. Among the highlights were that:


the Chapter was founded in February of 1996.


the Chapter started with 12 members, now there are more than 30 members.


the Chapter holds two national meetings annually.


the Chapter sponsors monthly local meetings, each with a theme. At these meetings workgroups discuss specific problems from their regions.


the Chapter sponsored a session at the European Conference on System Science. Professor Peter Milling of Mannheim University in Germany attended this session.


the Chapter hosted a one-day workshop in Palermo with the theme "alternative tools and methodologies to support small firms." Professor Paal Davidsen of the University of Bergen, Norway, and Professor John D. W. Morecroft of the London Business School, UK, attended this workshop.


the Chapter will participate in the Italian Conference on Operations Research.


the Chapter hopes to participate in the European ESPREE program with the UK and Greece.

Habib Sedhi also suggested to the assembled Society members that the Italian Chapter host the system dynamics conference in either 2003 or 2004.

5. Future Conference Sites.

President Richardson announced the current schedule of locations for future conferences. The schedule includes:


1998 - Quebec City, Canada


1999 - Wellington, New Zealand


2000 - Bergen, Norway


2001 - Somewhere in North America


2002 - Possibly Seville, Spain or Shanghai, People's Republic of China


2003 - Somewhere in North America


2004 - Possibly Italy

6. Recent Policy Council Decisions

President Richardson announced the following Policy Council Decisions:


Transfer of the Gordon Brown Fund to the Creative Learning Exchange.


The formation of a committee to propose changes in the Society's Articles of Organization, ByLaws, and Policies, that will bring them up to date and make them internally consistent.


The formation of a committee to propose new Society awards.

7. Nominating Committee.

Past President John Morecroft announced that the Nominating Committee, consisting of himself, Yaman Barlas, David Andersen, John Sterman, and Isaac Dyner, had arrived at a slate of candidates for Society officers and Policy Council positions, and that the Policy Council had approved the slate. The candidates, who in the absence of challengers and the subsequent need for an election will take office in 1999, are:


President Elect: Jac A. M. Vennix (The Netherlands)


Vice President - Finance: David F. Andersen (USA)


Vice President Members and Chapter Activities: Nan Lux (USA)


Secretary: Michael J. Radzicki (USA)


Policy Council: Jack Homer (USA), Paul Langley (UK), Rogelio Oliva (Mexico), and Ginny Wiley (USA)

Morecroft commented that the Nominating Committee tried to select candidates who would represent both different constituencies (e.g., Langley and Homer represent system dynamics consultants and Wiley represents system dynamics practitioners) and different geographic locations.

Morecroft then announced the names of persons who the Policy Council had approved to fill vacancies on the Council. The vacancies had arisen due to the resignation of some Society officers. The resigning officers and their replacements are:


David Andersen replaces Jack Pugh as Vice President - Finance (1996-1998).


Bob Eberlein replaces Geoff Coyle as Vice President - Meetings (1998-2000).


Eric Wolstenholme replaces David Lane as Vice President - Publications (1997-1999).

David Andersen reminded members that they are welcome to submit names of other nominees for Society officers and/or the Policy Council.

8. Future Policy Council Discussions.

President Richardson called for topics from members to be discussed at future Policy Council meetings. The list of suggested topics consisted of:


Formation of special interest groups such as a "consultants roundtable" or "system dynamics for the management of higher education institutions."


Problems with the nomination process. The process is rushed at the conference. Nominees are not given enough time to decide whether they can accept a nomination.


CD for the conference. The current conference papers have taken up only 60 Megs on the conference CD. Thus, there's a lot of room left. What should we do with it?


Is an electronic version of the journal possible?


Is a new framework for the exchange of system dynamics information, particularly for Ph.D. students, possible? Visiting positions? Electronic means?


Should the Society hold its annual conference in China? The Chinese have offered to contribute US$10,000 for a new system dynamics award.


Can there be more workshops on system dynamics skills at the annual conference?


Can the Society cooperate with the UN and/or UNESCO?


The system dynamics bibliography.


Linkages to larger societies.


The Society's electronic presence.


Funding agreement for the home office.


Support for future conference organizers.


Responsibilities of conference organizers.

9. New Business.


"Data Session" at Future Conferences. Showing Young suggested that, at future conferences, Jack Homer should chair a session on using numerical data in system dynamics studies.


Attendance of Senior System Dynamicists. Showing Young brought up the importance of having the most senior members of the field attend the Society's annual conference so that students, particularly Ph.D. students (the future of the field), can meet them and be inspired.

10. Adjournment.

David Andersen moved and John Morecroft seconded a motion that: "the meeting be adjourned." The meeting was adjourned at 12:13 PM.

Respectfully submitted.

Michael J. Radzicki