New Book: Introduction à la dynamique des systèmes (Introduction to System Dynamics) (September 27, 2017)

Introduction à la dynamique des systèmes (Introduction to System Dynamics) by Patrice Salini is both theoretical and practical. Patrice, a system dynamicist and former official of the French Transport Ministry and university professor used his own real models as examples in the book. Patrice states that, ”After general and theoretical consideration about the paths leading to systems analysis, the book tries to give the keys to understand the logical process of modélisation, and the modalities of implementation of System Dynamics modeling. Then, the book explains how, concretely a model is built.” According to information on the Amazon website, “This book makes it possible to better understand the logic and methods of implementation.” The book, which is written in French, is available on the Amazon website. Congratulations Patrice!

Iran Chapter Members’ Article Published in The Modares Journal of Management Research in Iran (September 19, 2017)

The research article “The Dilemma of the Dynamic Problems: Provide a Framework for the Process of Problem Definition” by members the Society's Iran Chapter, Ali Haji Gholam Saryazdi (pictured on the left), Ali Rajabzadeh Ghatari, Ali Naghi Mashayekhi, Alireza Hassanzadeh, was published in The Modares Journal of Management Research in Iran (In Persian). In the abstract the authors state, “The problem definition is the most vital and important step in system dynamics approach. It's the basis for other steps of dynamic modeling and one of the main conditions in the effectiveness of the modeling and its success. However, it's very important; there is little literature on the process of problem definition and attributes and indicators of dynamic problems. With aims to explain the problem definition, this article creates problem definition framework through the systematic and structured process by extracting the indicators and factors that determine a dynamic problem. At this point all the articles listed in the first two rounds of system dynamics research conferences in 1976 and 1981 and also 33 around the conference system dynamics from 1983 to 2015 as well as the Journal of System Dynamics Review (SDR) and scientific databases include Elsevier, Wiley, Springer and Emerald were examined. Finally, a framework it was designed with 6 indicators include the structure of the problem, problem`s stakeholders, the border of problem, problem complexity, dynamics and nature of the problem, which altogether consists of 24 indexes. Comprehensive framework for the diagnosis of dynamics problem is main finding of this article.” Read more in the full article available on the website.

New Issue of System Dynamics Review Now Available Online (September 19, 2017)

The January/March 2017 issue of the System Dynamics Review is available on the Wiley Online Library. The main articles are “A computational Intelligence-based Method to ‘Learn’ Casual Loop Diagram-like Structures from Observed Data,” by Hassan Abdelbari and Kamran Shafi, and “A co-flow structure for goal-directed internal change,” by Society members Pascal J. Gambardella, Deborah E. Polk, David Lounsbury, and Ralph Levine. The Notes and Insights sections features the following articles: “Graphical features of flow behavior and the stock and flow failure,” by Society members Cleotide Gonzalez and Liang Qi, along with colleagues Nalyn Sriwattanakomen and Jeffrey Chrabaszcz; and “Group Model Building Techniques for Rapid Elicitation of Parameter Values, Effect Sizes, and Data Sources,” by Society members Niyousha Hosseinichimeh, Rod MacDonald, Alireza Ebrahimvandi, Julie Maurer, Deborah Lines Andersen, George Richardson, and David F. Andersen, with their colleagues Lauren Porter, Ayaz Hyder, Rebecca Reno, and Joshua Hawley. The issue concludes with a review by Cleotide Gonzalez of the book Dynamics Systems for Everyone: Understanding How Our World Works, by Society member Asiah Ghosh. To access the full issue visit the Wiley Online Library.

Member’s Article Published on Huffington Post Website (September 13, 2017)

The article “Segregated Schools In St. Louis Are Not An Accident,” by Society member Saras Chung was featured in September on the website of the Huffington Post. Saras is the executive director of SkipNV, a think tank that co-designs and funds strategies with schools, communities, and other funders to increase access to high-quality education for the nation’s most vulnerable youth. She is also a faculty affiliate at Social System Design Lab at Washington University in St. Louis. Her article addresses the inequality of resources among school districts that fall along a racial divide in St. Louis. She believes the pattern of inequality can be broken by changing the underlying system. Saras states, “These system dynamics are complex, and though they seem resistant to change, they can be altered. The beauty about systems is that the same structure that creates undesirable events is the basis for which great ones can be established. This deep systems work is happening. We have a cadre of committed individuals who are doing their best to understand the system and change it for the long haul. There are few, if any, districts that are okay with the status quo and superintendents, home-grown and imported due to their success in other city districts, work tirelessly to do better for kids.” To read the full article, please visit the Huffington Post website.

Article on StratTech Featured in Business Observer (September 8, 2017)

An article that appeared on the website of the Florida based Business Observer featured the company StratTech, a recently named Gartner 2017 Cool Vendor for Project Portfolio Management for their use of System Dynamics in building better business models. As described in the article, “The Gartner cool designation goes to technology companies that standout globally for disruptive capability or opportunity.” Society member Bruce Ellis, Managing Director of StratTech, and fellow Society member business partners Frederick Kautz and Kim Warren, are using System Dynamics modeling to break the status quo of a static strategy framework. In the article Ellis talked about the challenges of changing the way a company accesses their strategies. Donna Fitzgerald, an analyst with Garner, reported “System dynamics modeling is a tool for the future, and StratTech opens a window toward understanding its power.” The full article can be accessed on the Business Observer website.

Member’s Article Published in Information and Software Technology (September 7, 2017)

The research article “Applying system dynamics approach in software and information system projects: A mapping study,” by Society member Eduardo Franco, and his colleagues Kechi Hirama and Marly M. Carvalho, was recently published in the journal Information and Software Technology. Based on bibliometric and content analysis techniques, the work draws a panorama on how the System Dynamics approach has been used in scientific literature to model complexity in software and information system projects, identifying patterns, evolution trends, and research gaps. Read more in the full article available on the Elsevier website.

Members’ Article Published in Building Research & Information (September 5, 2017)

The research article “Participatory system dynamics modelling for housing, energy and wellbeing interactions,” by Society members Sibel Eker, Nici Zimmermann, Shane Carnohan, and their colleague Mike Davies, was recently published in the journal Building Research & Information. In the abstract the authors stated, “This paper illustrates the development and application of an integrated approach to address these complex interactions with regard to housing performance, energy, communal spaces and wellbeing. In particular, it explores the dynamics created by these relationships with simulation modelling in participatory settings, and with a diverse group of stakeholders.” Read more in the full article available on the website Taylor & Francis Online.

Article Features Oregon High School Using System Dynamics (August 17, 2017)

In The Dalles, Oregon, Brian Goodwin, the principal and current math teacher at Wahtonka Community School is using System Dynamics to help teach calculus. Goodwin’s creative approach that uses Stella modeling software for an exercise challenge project was the subject of an article by Neita Cecil featured in The Dalles Chronicle. According to the article, "While students are cutting their teeth on the exercise project, he [Goodwin] wants to turn them on next to a more real-world application of systems dynamics: trying to calculate what it would take to sustainably grow enough food locally for the community." Read more about Goodwin’s project and his students in the full article available on The Dalles Chronicle website.

Members’ Article Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (August 16, 2017)

Members Mohammad Jalali and Hazhir Rahmandad along with their co-authors, Sally Lawrence Bullock and Alice Ammerman have published an article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. “Dynamics of Implementation and Maintenance of Organizational Health Interventions,” is part of the Special Issue Community Health Intervention to Reduce Chronic Disease. In the abstract the authors state, “In this study, we present case studies to explore the dynamics of implementation and maintenance of health interventions. We analyze how specific interventions are built and eroded, how the building and erosion mechanisms are interconnected, and why we can see significantly different erosion rates across otherwise similar organizations. We use multiple comparative obesity prevention case studies to provide empirical information on the mechanisms of interest, and use qualitative systems modeling to integrate our evolving understanding into an internally consistent and transparent theory of the phenomenon.” The full article can be accessed on the MDPI website.

Society Members' Article Included in Sustainability Science (Aug 8, 2017)

The article "Policy coherence to achieve the SDGs: using integrated simulation models to assess effective policies" by Society members David Collste and Matteo Pedercini, along with colleague Sarah E. Cornell, is included in the Sustainability Science special issue Sustainability Science and Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The article discussed the use of Millennium Institute's Threshold 21 iSDG family of models to approach development from a systems thinking viewpoint. The Threshold 21 Model for Long-Term National Development Planning was awarded The System Dynamics Applications Award at this year's System Dynamics conference. Read the full article.

Society member publishes Coral Reef Dynamics (Aug 4, 2017)

Society member, Henry Bartelet, shared with us the publication of his book, Coral Reef Dynamics. His book describes in detail what local policy makers can do to reverse rapid coral degradation. Henry stated, "Instead of blaming the degradation of the coral reefs completely on climate change impacts, local policy makers should realize how their own decisions have a major influence on the sustainability of the ecosystem!"

While doing research for Coral Reef Dynamics, Henry was a student of the European Master in System Dynamics. He was working as a visiting researcher at the De La Salle University in Manila, supervised by Jose Edgar Mutuc, Erling Moxnes, and Andrea Bassi. Henry is now the commercial director of DynaMundo, a start-up policy institute which applies System Dynamics to solve complex societal problems around the world.

Henry received an Honorable Mention for the Dana Meadows Award at the 2017 International System Dynamics Conference in Cambridge for his paper, “Exploring the effectiveness of policies to reverse rapid coral reef degradation in the Philippines,” which was based on his work for the book.

Coral Reef Dynamics is available in a digital format on

Society Member’s Article Included in Upcoming Issue of Journal of Cleaner Production (July 26, 2017)

The article “Long term diffusion dynamics of alternative fuel vehicles in Brazil,” by Society member Mauricio Uriona, along with colleagues Lívia Moraes Marques Benvenutti and Arthur Boeing Ribeirob, will be included in the October 2017 issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production. In the abstract the author’s describe, “…the main aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of public policies in the long-term diffusion dynamics of AFV [alternative fuel vehicles] in Brazil. In order to do so, a system dynamics model is developed, based on the Generalized Bass Diffusion model, the Cobb-Douglas function and the learning curve theory.” In conclusion, they state “The results highlight the importance of the current incentive policies but at the same time call for reinforcing efforts in order to increase the AFV fleet to significant values by 2030. Conversely, the banning regulation obtains a higher diffusion rate, but only achieves significant values by 2060.” Read the full article, currently available on the Science Direct website.

Article Investigates Impact of Low-Carbon Policy on Future Endogenous Electricity Demand (July 10, 2017)

The Energy Policy journal recently published the article “A dynamic simulation of low-carbon policy influences on endogenous electricity demand in an isolated island system,” by Co-Representative of the Energy SIG, George Matthew and Society Member William Nuttall, along with their colleagues Ben Mestel and Lawrence Dooley. In the abstract, the authors state “This paper considers the dynamics of electricity demand in response to changes arising from low-carbon policies and socio-economic developments. As part of an investigation into the evolution of such systems on small economically-developed islands, endogenous electricity demand and associated policies are studied for the Azorean island of São Miguel. A comprehensive System Dynamics (SD) model covering the period 2005 − 2050 is presented which captures both historical behaviours and real-world influences on the endogenous demand dynamics of an island-based electricity system.” The full article can be read on the Science Direct website.

Article on Climate Change Exercise Featured on Ars Technica (July 3, 2017)

A mock climate negotiation exercise held at MIT’s Sloan School of Management was the subject of an article by Scott K. Johnson, titled “Fake climate negotiations produce real impacts,” on the Ars Technica website. The climate exercise, led by MIT’s John Sterman, Climate Interactive’s Andrew Jones and University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Juliette Rooney-Varga, gave a group of people taking a System Dynamics course at the MIT Sloan School the opportunity to simulate how their policy choices would affect climate change. With President Trump’s announcement of pulling out of the Paris agreement, this particular exercise was the first to include a new group among the nations: US cities and states that remained dedicated to do their part to reduce emissions. This climate model has been used by over 35,000 people and is successful in increasing knowledge, creating a greater sense of urgency and promoting action. Presenting the facilitator’s thoughts on the impact of the exercise, Johnson wrote “Those three things are linked in an interesting way, Rooney-Varga explained. It doesn’t appear to be the new knowledge that drives action, but the emotional sense of urgency. The social, personal experience has an emotional angle that is unlike simply reading an article. We are typically presented with a picture painted by scientists, which we can either accept or reject, Jones pointed out. But in a simulation like this, you are basically handed a tool and given the chance to work out the lesson for yourself.” Please read the full article on the Ars Technica website to learn more about the climate negotiation exercise.

A related workshop “World Energy and En-ROADS Training” was offered at this year’s conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Climate Interactive team trained participants on how to lead the workshop effectively. The workshop was organized into four sessions: Play World Energy; Complete World Energy, Debrief, and Introduction to Facilitation; Advanced World Energy facilitation techniques, En-ROADS structure and dynamics, and Planning your World Energy event; and Informal discussion.

Society Members Contribute Chapter to The Handbook of Behavioral Operations (June 23, 2017)

Society members Rogelio Oliva and Brad Morrison have contributed a chapter to The Handbook of Behavioral Operations. The book, edited by K. Donohue, E. Katok, and S. Leider, is set to be published in the Spring of 2018. In the chapter titled “Integration of behavioral and operational elements through System Dynamics,” Rogelio and Brad explain the use of System Dynamics to integrate operations management and behavioral sciences. The authors state, “At its core, system dynamics develops process-based theories that explicitly examine the interactions between the physical and institutional structures of operational systems and the behavioral decision rules of the agents in those systems. We first describe the system dynamics perspective on decision-making in dynamic environments. We then present a set of guiding principles to formulate behavioral decision making and describe the methods used by system dynamists to gather data to formulate those decision rules.” The full text of their chapter can be accessed on the ResearchGate website.

Systems Thinking Workshop Featured the Beer Game (June 19, 2017)

On April 25, a team of systems thinking experts from Virginia Tech (Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering) moderated the product distribution game (also known as the Beer Game) for a group of supply chain experts from the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition in Washington D.C. Society members Navid Ghaffarzadegan, Maryam Andalib and Arash Baghaei Lakeh ran a board-based simulation game where the participants competed as supply chain teams to provide efficiency in managing their inventories of “pills.” To read more about this interesting adaptation of the Beer Game, please see the article posted on the website of Virginia Tech.

Society Member Paul Holmström Passes Licentiate Examination (June 16, 2017)

Society member Paul Holmström, an industrial doctoral student at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, has passed his licentiate examinate. (In Sweden that is the half-way point between a masters and a doctorate.) Paul’s first Society conference, Oxford 2004, led to his research interest in bringing System Dynamics into a process consultation/action research context, rather than bringing participative methods into model building. Paul explained, “The aim of this thesis is to study how System Dynamics can be a useful tool for healthcare practitioners in action research settings, building more on the needs and issues of a group.” The full paper can be accessed here. Read more about Paul Holmström and his research in the press release on Chalmers' website. On behalf of the Society, congratulations to Paul!

New Book Features the Work of Society Members (June 2, 2017)

The book Innovative Healthcare Systems for the 21st Century, edited by Society member Hassan Qudrat-Ullah and his colleague Peter Tsasis, was published by Springer International. The book offers comprehensive frameworks, models, and integrative solutions for healthcare management presented by experts from around the world. Among the contributing authors are Society members Markus Schwaninger, John P. Ansah and Enzo Bivona. The publisher’s book summary states, “This volume offers researchers and policy makers an insightful and critical review of the state of the art in healthcare modeling, with a particular focus on system dynamics, agent-based models, and modern empirical studies. It will be of interest to those in the fields of health, business management, and information systems.” Innovative Healthcare Systems for the 21st Century is available on the Springer website.

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The System Dynamics Newsletter is published by the System Dynamics Society.
Editors: Babak Bahaddin, Carrie Stickan, LouAnne Lundgren, Michael Breslin, Roberta L. Spencer, and Robin Langer.