Executive Director's Report

Policy Council Meeting

11 March 1997


Roberta L. Spencer

Transition of the Home Office

The hand-off went very smoothly due to the tremendous amount of work done in the past and during the transition by Julia Pugh. Everyone has been extremely helpful. The operations are intact and continuous, especially the sales and service to members. The physical inventory of proceedings, journals and archives has been relocated successfully in large part because of the labor of Mike Radzicki, Scott Trees and Khalid Saeed. The financial aspect of the transition is progressing well with the expert help of Jack Pugh. All existing financial information is in great shape, but because of some computer and program issues in Albany, the finances are not totally set up yet.

The physical office space is "up-and-running." The address change, new phone numbers and new e-mail address are being disseminated. They are:

Roberta L. Spencer, Executive Director The System Dynamics Society
Milne 300 - Rockefeller College
University at Albany, State University of New York
Albany, New York 12222

Phone Number: (518) 442-3865 FAX Number: (518) 442-3398
E-mail Address: [email protected]

The new e-mail address is [email protected] There will be a 2-3 month overlap with the current America Online account, which will be discontinued. There are still numerous boxes to be unpacked and inventoried.

I see the position of Executive Director with two distinct parts: the first part is maintaining current and routine operations, and the second part is development and new initiatives.

Routine Operations (See Attachment I)

Membership services.

Continuous phone, E-mail and mail coverage are being provided. Each day, the office receives approximately a dozen phone calls, 10 E-mail messages, and 5 letters regarding sales, membership and miscellaneous questions. Non-members are referred to our office mainly by members, people at MIT, Pegasus Communications and readers of The Fifth Discipline. Most people have made 2-3 calls before reaching the System Dynamics Society office.

Beer Distribution Game, Proceedings, Journal Sales.

There is much interest in the Beer Distribution Game, less demand for the Proceedings and back issues of the System Dynamics Review. Orders filled in January and February total 26.


Bibliography disks are available, but the bibliography needs to be updated. Also, a new brochure is being designed for sales of the products and membership information.


Wiley has been very helpful and responsive. 1996 Memberships totaled 572 in 44 countries. Please see Attachment II for more detailed membership information.

Society Finances

As noted above, the finances are still in transition and progressing smoothly. To date in 1997, the sales have totaled $4882.00. Large expenses include replenishing the supply of vinyl boards and videos.

Administrative Calendar

A new Presidential Initiative is to create the Administrative Calendar. The rational for this tool is for continuity of organizational memory. The Calendar will help the administration of the Society to be continuous, but also responsive to change. Please see the attached draft of the Administrative Calendar (Attachment III) and a draft of an example of how each process (Attachment III a) would be managed. Key people will need to comment on the Administrative Calendar and related processes to make it complete. The role of the Executive Director would be to help keep all the Society processes timely.

Planned Initiatives

Possible new initiatives (Attachment lV) that are currently not routine operating processes include:
Developing a Records and Archive System
Supplying Support to Special Interest Groups, Sponsors and Chapters
Develop a Link to the Annual Research Conference
Aid in Coordination and Development of Electronic Presence (with Bergen)

Current Allocation of Effort for Executive Director

Daily time sheets are recorded as my time is separated into three cost centers at the University at Albany, the main one being the System Dynamics Society. Regarding Society work, most of my time is spent on current operations. As everything is new for me and the University, less time is spent on transition and system building. I am currently having difficulty trying to find time now for new initiatives. As tasks become more routine and all the boxes are unpacked, the time allotment for new initiatives will grow.



Attachment I

Routine Operations

(Other Processes not tied to Administrative Calendar or Research Conference)

  1. Order and Market Beer Game
  2. Inventory and Fill Orders for back issues of Proceedings
  3. Inventory and Fill orders for back issues of the System Dynamics Review (Before Wiley)
  4. Respond to general member inquiries
  5. Manage Certification of Chapters and Special Interest Groups
  6. Records Retention and Preservation
  7. Archiving
  8. Reconcile Membership Issues/Discrepancies with Wiley
  9. Maintain Checking Account



Attachment II

System Dynamics Society Membership

Membership over time:

1996 - 572
1995 - 504
1994 - 484
1993 - 487
1992 - 406
1991 - 418

1996 Statistics on Membership

Total Membership: 572
Regular Payment: 463
Reduced Payment: 109

Geographic Distribution - 44 Countries Including:

  1. Argentina 4
  2. Australia 17
  3. Austria 1
  4. Bangladesh 1
  5. Belgium 1
  6. Brazil 2
  7. Canada 15
  8. China 1
  9. Columbia 4
  10. Croatia 1
  11. Denmark 4
  12. Finland 2
  13. France 4
  14. Germany 14
  15. Greece 2
  16. India 2
  17. Indonesia 4
  18. Israel 2
  19. Italy 17
  20. Japan 31
  21. Korea 4
  22. Mexico 3
  23. New Zealand 4
  24. Nigeria 1
  25. Norway 9
  26. People's Republic of China 3
  27. Peru 1
  28. Philippines 1
  29. Poland 3
  30. Portugal 3
  31. Republic of China 2
  32. Singapore 2
  33. South Africa 2
  34. Spain 21
  35. Sweden 6
  36. Switzerland 15
  37. Taiwan 4
  38. Thailand 2
  39. The Netherlands 12
  40. Turkey 1
  41. UK 44
  42. USA 297 (in 37 states)
  43. Venezuela 2
  44. Vietnam 1



Attachment III
Administrative Calendar

(To be added to, rationalized, and scheduled to an annual calendar.)

Business Processes Tightly Linked to Administrative Calendar:

  1. Tax Filings
  2. Manage agenda and follow-up for Winter Meeting of Policy Council (Jan, Feb)
  3. Manage agenda and follow-up for Summer Meeting of Policy Council at Research Conference
  4. Manage agenda and follow-up for Fall (?) Meeting of Policy Council
  5. President's letter (Max 2 pages), when?
  6. Manage Nominations and Elections Procedures
  7. Awards:
    Jay W. Forrester Award Selection Procedure
    New Awards Such as Best PhD dissertation??
  8. Manage Society Sponsors
  9. Annual Membership Billing
  10. Annual Membership Directory
  11. Manage Conference Site Selection (3-4 years in advance)
  12. Update Bibliography
  13. Executive Director's Report
  14. Editor's Report
  15. Treasurer's Report
  16. Notices in journals - for what and when
  17. Update SDR - SDS publications for sale page
  18. May 15 Federal (no fee) and State ($100 fee) review to be filed
  19. By November 15 - File a list of officers and policy council members with the MA Secretary of State - a one page form that gives officers and date of annual meeting for the past year. Clerk has to be resident of MA
  20. Work with Administration Committee to refine processes.
  21. Who does what/when?
  22. How often are tasks/issues updated?



Attachment IIIa

Process     R=Responsibilities, A=Approval/Authority, S=Support
Manage Sponsors      
Task Routinely Done Date 1997-98 Responsibilities & Roles
Send Thank You Letters 1-2 Weeks After Receipt 4/1/97 & 2 Weeks After receipt General Letters R (Roberta = R), Signature A (Jay Forrester)
Mid-Year Sponsor's Letter (with President's Letter) May/June 5/15/97 A=President, R=Roberta
Request Next Year's Support September 4/1/97 A=President, R=Roberta
Follow-Up #1 October 5/1/97 R=Roberta
Follow-Up #2 November 6/1/97 R=Roberta
Create/Update List/Data Base of Sponsors January April R=Roberta
Contact Wiley with Names of Sponsors 1-2 Weeks After Receipt 1-2 Weeks After Receipt R=Roberta



Attachment IV

Possible New Initiatives

(Not Routine Processes)

  1. Develop Records and Archive System
  2. Make Contacts and Support Special Interest Groups, Sponsors and Chapters
    Systems Thinking
  3. Link to Annual Research Conference
    Define Executive Director's Role
    for Turkey
    for Quebec
    Notice of Conference in Research Journals
    Manage Conference Program including:
    Call for Papers
    Proposed Review
    Paper Selection and Program Design
    Contact Sponsors and Special Interest Groups
    Site Arrangements
    Receiving Fees
    Special Events
  4. Develop Electronic Presence (with Bergen)