In the last 3-4 years, after the constitution of the Italian chapter, there has been a fast growth of interest in the SD field, both in the University/research and Industry/consulting environments.
Around the original group of "founders" (20-25 people), those who have been joining the chapter in the last three years has increased to about 70 people. However, there are much more people (at least 100) involved in the field.
During the first year of the chapter, two conferences have been organised by the Chapter.
In the last two years, more activities have been done by single groups of people belonging to the chapter.
In the applied research field, an international SD workshop for small business entrepreneurs have been held in Palermo by CUSA (Centro Universitario Studi Aziendali)-System Dynamics Group. Guest speakers have been from France, Great Britain, Norway, Switzerland and Italy. About 50 entrepreneurs and researchers/consultants from Germany and different Italian regions (Milan, Rome, Bari, Siena) attended the workshop.
Another similar workshop will be held in Bari the next 22 October.
A significant European SD project on the winery industry has been fulfilled by 'Help', a consulting firm based in Rome.
Another project, involving Systems thinking/System Dynamics in small-medium firms, has been financed by the EU to 'Sud Sistemi', a consulting firm located in Bari.
Bocconi and Palermo Universities are involved in a joint research project concerning SD and business strategy.
Other activities in promoting SD in the small business environment have been done by 'Logo 2000' (a consulting firm based in Rome) together with CUSA-System Dynamics Group (Palermo) in a project financed by a public institution for youth enterprise promotion, involving the use of interactive learning environments in the start up stage.
Another significant project has recently started by the CUSA-System Dynamics Group and the Science Park of Sicily, with the aim to introduce in Small-Medium firms a learning-SD oriented approach in drawing up business plans.
Postgraduate and undergraduate courses involving SD have been held by the University Bocconi, CUSA-University of Palermo and University of Bari.
Other activities in the field have been recently started by the Universities of Pavia and Venice.
An important contribution to the education of young system dynamicists in Italy has been given by the University of Bergen (Norway). In the last four years six Italian students have attended the Master Phil in SD.
A special issue on SD will be published next year by 'Economia & Management', the review of SDA-Bocconi, Milan.
A paper on Small Business and SD will be published by Carmine Bianchi the next Fall in 'Piccola Impresa-Small Business', the review of the University of Urbino. Another article on SD and small firms has been published by the same author in a book edited by 'Giuffrè' on the proceedings of a conference held in Venice on Strategic Cost Management, on June 1997.
Some Italian bigger firms are investing in SD (e.g. ENI-Research, that presented two papers in the last Quebèc ISDC). Also major consulting firms are intensifying their activities both in the private and public field.
Another important aspect to be mentioned is the growing number of Italian members to the SD Society.
In spite of the strong acceleration effect that the start of the Italian chapter has produced the above activities, most of them have been undertaken by single institutions or groups, rather than by the Chapter per se.
More 'official' chapter activities will be hopefully started for the next year.