System Dynamics

Volume 19 - Number 1  March 2006


Policy Council Notes Policy Council Nominations for 2007 Name That Bullfighter
Bibliography Update 2006 Conference in Nijmegen Call for Photos
Membership Renewals News and Notes Request for News
Food For Thought One-Time Moving Sale How to Contact Us

From the President Michael J. Radzicki

Dear Colleagues:

I'd like to take this chance to formally say "hello" as President of the System Dynamics Society for 2006. I am looking forward to working with, and for, each of you during the upcoming year. Please feel free to contact me at any time with your questions and comments. Indeed, as system dynamicists we are all aware that systems perform best when decision makers receive timely and accurate feedback.

There are several initiatives that are currently under way that I think you will find of interest. The first is the creation of a system dynamics model for use in strategic planning by the Society's central office. As many of you know, our staff in Albany divides its time among a variety of tasks related to the annual conference, membership services, product sales and other fund raising activities, new initiatives, and general housekeeping. A question that has never been answered, at least not with system dynamics, is: What allocation of staff time is best for the future of the field of system dynamics? As Wil Fey noted so many years ago: "Shoemakers are the worst shod"!

My hope is that the system dynamics model will yield insights into time allocation to benefit the Society's staff and its members.

A second initiative that is currently underway is the creation of a web-based repository of system dynamics "success stories" that can be accessed by Society members and, perhaps, the public at large. Such a repository will serve a variety of constituencies such as teachers of system dynamics, system dynamics consultants, and the media. As I write this, a standardized format for stories, and a strategy for web-based dissemination of the stories, is being debated. If any of you are interested in helping with this initiative, by the way, please let me know.

In terms of leverage points in our field, it seems to me that the place to look is at Chapters and SIGs. If young system dynamicists are the future of our field, then the Chapters and SIGs are the nuturing parents.

When I attended my first system dynamics conference in the summer of 1983, one of the hot questions of the day was "How can the Society (which was new at the time) grow the field of system dynamics?" I now believe that it is better to ask "How can the Chapters and SIGs of the Society grow the field of system dynamics?"

In my view the Chapters and SIGs have the best opportunities to introduce system dynamics to people who know absolutely nothing about the field. For example, the Economics Chapter is putting on two system dynamics sessions at the Association for Institutional (Economic) Thought meetings in April in the US and has been invited to have a regular presence at this conference. Other groups such as the Health Policy SIG have made great inroads introducing system dynamics to health care policy professionals. Check out their wiki site at And, of course, who can forget the Student Chapter of the Society? Who better to manage a strong word-of-mouth recruiting feedback loop than our students?

In closing I'd like to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to serve as president of the System Dynamics Society. I hope I can live up to the faith you have placed in me and that we all have a happy and prosperous year. I hope to see you all in Nijmegen.

Sincerely, Mike Radzicki

Policy Council Notes

The System Dynamics Society is governed by its Policy Council, which meets twice a year, during the conference and again in the winter. This year for the first time the winter meeting of the Policy Council was held electronically over a two month period; the meeting is still in session as this newsletter is being written. Ongoing discussions at the meeting include the following items:

All the reports given, and more detailed notes on the discussion at this meeting and previous meetings, will be available on the Society website. Just click on "Governance."

Bibliography Update

The System Dynamics Bibliography is updated every six months. Members may download the bibliography for free. Please send your new references to the Society office. We ask your help in improving the accuracy and usefulness of the Bibliography. Please check your entries for correctness; send any edits (including deletions of entries that have been superseded) to the Society office. Find the Bibliography online on our "Member Services" webpage.

Membership Renewals

If you have not yet renewed, please do so now to ensure uninterrupted member services! It is simple to renew. Please visit the Society website and click on "How to Join or Renew." There are downloadable membership forms. Or, just call!

Food For Thought

One of George Richarson's PhD students sent this incredibly cute picture. She's not a system dynamics student, but pals around with someone who is. Maybe her lack of scholarship in the field could account for her apparent lack of appropriate reverence for John Sterman's great book (in the background). One wonders if food was placed on Feedback Thought. Hmm ... food for thought … Or maybe it's just that she knows a great picture when she sees one and wants to share the delight. However we react to this cat's taste in books, we can be pleased that cats are smart enough to know that they ought to know something about our field!

Policy Council Nominations for 2007

As we have traditionally done, rather than holding elections, these nominations are made uncontested.

However, members may submit other nominations for these offices and positions, provided that:

If no nominations are received by the Policy Council from the membership at large, the slate of candidates submitted by the Nominating Committee, and recognized and accepted by the Council, will be deemed elected. For more information on Nominations and Elections, please see "Governance" for the Policies of the System Dynamics Society. 

2006 Conference
Nijmegen, The Netherlands

The Society is already working attentively towards the upcoming conference in Nijmegen. The conference promises strong participation and a very full program of high quality contributions. There are a number of special convened sessions this year. Titles include "Social Systems Theory," "Organizational Learning and System Dynamics," "The Dynamics of Corporate Governance," "System Dynamics Projects That Failed," and "Health Policy SIG: Dynamics of Health Reform." The special Business Day sponsored by Minase and Significant BV on Wednesday, July 26, will feature sessions targeted at innovative projects in business. As always, there will also be a PhD colloquium and other associated events. Please note that the conference and related deadlines are a little earlier than last year. A wide variety of papers are being submitted for what promises to be an excellent meeting! Some quick reminders:

Innovations in 2006

Polder [ pōldər ] (noun): Land reclaimed from the sea, an area of land reclaimed from the sea and protected by dikes, especially in the Netherlands1. You will learn many new things at the Nijmegen conference! Some brand new events scheduled for first-timers and experienced conference participants alike will include:

Chapter and Special Interest Group Poster Session: From 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM on Monday morning, there will be an exciting opportunity to celebrate all the great undertakings by our Chapters. Chapters and SIGs have made phenomenal contributions and continue to make a positive difference in our Society and the entire field of system dynamics. This poster session will be a dedicated time for them to boast! We anticipate continued growth and strength from the Chapters and SIGs as they continue to foster mentoring, outreach, research, and faithful citizenship in the field of system dynamics. If you are looking for a way to learn about the larger community or a place to turn for support, this is a great opportunity to meet folks with the same interests.

Focused Research Sessions: Focused Research Sessions (FRS) give more presentation guidance and directed feedback than a normal parallel session. This type of session specifically encourages collaboration and community-building for the authors in the session, the moderator, and the audience. The plan is to foster communication among people working on related topics. Thread chairs, who have the complete overview of papers in a topic area, are in the best position to understand how the papers relate to one another, and to other related work. Most thread chairs have volunteered to be FRS moderators. The Focused Research Session is an alternative session design; it started in Boston last year. 2005 conference feedback has been incorporated to improve this year's program. If you are interested in participating in a Focused Research Session rather than a poster or parallel session, please contact the Society office.

"Introduction to Building System Dynamics Models" Software Workshops: Software vendors are invited to offer workshops introducing the use of their software. The workshops will introduce attendees to the mechanics of the software, and offer an opportunity for attendees to get hands-on experience with a demo version of the software. The sessions will be purely technical. The workshops are intended for people who are relatively new to the field or do not have experience using modeling software. The sessions will be conducted as hands-on workshops and will demonstrate basic techniques for building and analyzing causal loop diagrams, stock and flow diagrams and simple simulation models.

Society History Talk: We hope this helps newcomers to put faces with names! Everyone is welcome, but new attendees will receive special invitations. This presentation will include an opening by some of the Policy Council officers and members describing their roles on the Policy Council; an overall introduction to the Society including a brief history of the field; the highlights of the conference including workshops; a warm welcome to new members; and in conclusion a "meet-and-greet" time for participants to introduce themselves to each other. Chapter and Special Interest Group representatives will attend so participants may ask questions and make contacts. These talks are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday during the lunch break.

B2B Gathering: On Wednesday, the first event of the Business Day is a B2B Gathering. More information on the Business Day will follow as it is still under development and more people are getting involved. The aim of the Business Day is to bring system dynamics to the attention of local participants, by organizing special events around the conference theme of "The dynamics of innovation in networks." Special events focus on business applications, education, health care and public policy. If you are interested in the Business Day, please feel free to contact Etiënne Rouwette at <[email protected]>.

Informal PC "Social": Each year new Policy Council members arrive at our meetings, and many times they have never had a chance to even say hello to the person sitting next to them. Since we meet only twice a year, and meetings always have a full agenda, getting to know your PC mates is challenging. So, for the first time this year we will have a very informal event for current Policy Council officers and members. Our goal is have a get-together, perhaps at someone's home, to help new PC members get to know existing members and vice versa, increasing effectiveness during the actual meeting. (The Welcome Reception is definitely still in the schedule; everyone is encouraged to attend the Welcome Reception on Sunday. It's always a great time!)

Prospective Conference Host Meeting: VP Meetings Jim Lyneis and Executive Director Roberta Spencer will meet with prospective bidders as a group to discuss proposal submission guidelines, key criteria, and potential site availability issues. If you are interested in attending, this meeting will be listed in the conference schedule. Prospective hosts for the 2009 conference and beyond are encouraged to attend.

PC/PhD Colloquium Students Luncheon: Unfortunately, the Policy Council meeting and the PhD Colloquium overlap in the schedule. This prevents PC members from attending some of the PhD Colloquium. To better this situation to some extent, the lunch break for the PC meeting and the PhD Colloquium are scheduled at the same time. The goal is that these two groups will have time to interact and network.

An Emerging Idea: Provided there is enough interest, this conference will be the first to include a special one-on-one event for first-timers. First-timers and veteran attendees will be brought together based on their topics of interest. The veteran attendee will provide information to help the first-timer maneuver through the conference resourcefully and get the most out of the conference experience. Although this idea may not happen in Nijmegen, please contact the Society office if this is something you would like to participate in as first-timer or veteran. More information will be available shortly.

Optional activities: Although still in the works, here is a list of some possibilities during free time. Most of these activities are free; more information will follow.

1 Encarta Dictionary (North America)

For updated details on the 2006 conference please visit:

News and Notes

Sincere congratulations to Michael (Mike) Kennedy. He has been promoted by London South Bank University, and is now Professor of Educational Development. Mike was one of the organizers of the Oxford Conference and he played a pivotal role in the establishment of the UK Chapter and the Education SIG, both of which he has served as President/Chair. He will continue to be Head of Department of Accounting and Finance at London South Bank.

The Health Policy Special Interest Group has officially launched the HPSIG wiki at It also lists Australasian SD Chapter Events. The Health System Dynamics Wikipedia is the place to contribute to the definitive source on Health System Dynamics. Also listed is the Collaborative Research Agenda, where you can ask for help to complete papers, launch projects and post other online and international R&D ideas. Please take a look at their innovative site. The HPSIG is also planning to host a special convened session on the Dynamics of Health Reform in Nijmegen on Sunday July 23rd.

The 2005 Conference of System Dynamics & Management Science (SDMS): Sustainable Development of Asia Pacific was held at Tongji University from November 4th to 6th, 2005. The conference had many hosts and sponsors. More than 100 experts, scholars, and representatives attended. The conference collected 170 academic theses, which were published as a collection by the Fudan University Press. For a copy of the full conference summary, please contact Professor Qifan Wang, Conference Chair at <[email protected]>.

New PhDs: It is our pleasure to announce when a Society student member receives his or her PhD. Don Frazier successfully defended his PhD dissertation "A Simulation Model of Large-Scale Software Reuse Implementations: A System Dynamics Approach." It was approved by Nova Southeastern University, 2004. Don is a Director at Deloitte Consulting LLP in Atlanta, Georgia. A hearty congratulations to Don!

Dynamica: As part of the forthcoming 50th anniversary celebration of the field of System Dynamics, the Society will digitize the entire ten-year run of Dynamica. This collection of papers is a great testament to early work in the field. Thanks to Bradford University for allowing us to proceed with this important project.

One-Time Moving Sale

The Society office is being renovated this summer and we need to lighten the load for a temporary move. We will vacate our office in May and then move back in at the beginning of September. This should be interesting during the busiest conference planning time!

During the months of March and April 2006, we are offering most of the past issues of the System Dynamics Review and conference proceedings at substantial savings.

If you need some past issues to complete your collection, or would really like a specific issue, this is a great opportunity. Current members only may purchase back issues of the Review. For a limited period, single issues will be US$5.00 each and double issues will be US$10.00 each. Available to members and non-members, conference proceedings are on sale for US$10.00 per copy. There is a minimum order of US$25.00, not including shipping. All shipping, handling and local duties and taxes (customs) are the responsibility of the recipient. On May 1st all prices will revert back to the regular prices.

For details and a list of what is available, please visit:

Name That Bullfighter

Can you name the well dressed "bullfighter" wearing the tie?

Hint: Seville, 1986

Call for Photos
(and other bits of history)

The 2007 conference will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the field. We are looking for historical event photos, documents of historic significance, any kind of artifact of interest to display at the 2007 conference.

Were you at the bullfight in Seville? Did you play soccer in 1981 in Rensselaerville? Do you have any photos, documents, or articles, or stories of notable events, conference or otherwise?

There have been many remarkable occasions during the past fifty years, some momentous and some amusing. We are hoping that folks who have these bits of history will share them.

If you have an item that could be copied and displayed at the 2007 conference, please send it to the Society office. Items may be in electronic form or hard copy. Please send us your photos! Credit will be given to contributors. This should be interesting and fun. Start looking through your old stuff!

Request for News

This year we will once again publish four issues of the System Dynamics Newsletter. In the next issue, we will include "News and Notes" (about new books by members, promotions, awards, completed degrees, new products, notable projects, etc.), and "News from our Sponsors."

Please send us your news!

Additionally, if you would like to contribute an article of interest to our community, please send your suggestion to the Society office.

All past newsletters, back to 1988, are available on the Society "Publications" webpage.

How to Contact Us

System Dynamics Society
Milne 300 - Rockefeller College
University at Albany
Albany, New York 12222 USA
Phone: +1 518 442 3865
Fax: +1 518 442 3398
[email protected]


The System Dynamics Newsletter is published four times a year by the System Dynamics Society.
Editors: Michael J. Radzicki, Roberta L. Spencer, Robin S. Langer, and Jennifer I. Rowe


The End