Applying System Dynamics Modeling to Foster a Cause-and-Effect Perspective in Dealing with Behavioral Distortions Associated to City’s Performance
by Carmine Bianchi (Professor, University of Palermo) & Dan Williams (Professor, Baruch College)

About the Speakers:
Carmine Bianchi is Professor of Public Management at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Palermo (Italy), where is also the scientific coordinator of CED4 System Dynamics Group. He is the director of the PhD program in “Model Based Public Planning, Policy Design, and Management”, and of the Masters course in: ‘‘Managing Business Growth through System Dynamics & Accounting Models. A Strategic Control Perspective’’. Professor Bianchi is member of the Steering Committee of the European Master in System Dynamics, an Erasmus Mundus funded program, patronized by the European Commission. He is member of the System Dynamics Society since the years 1994. He has published on several academic and professional journals, where and he also serves as a member of the Scientific Committee. Professor Bianchi has research and consulting experience with public and private sector organizations in designing policies and outlining consistent programs to link strategy and implementation. Consulting and education projects that Prof. Bianchi has conducted cover: strategic planning and control, performance management and reporting, as well as System Dynamics modeling for performance improvement and crisis prevention (Dynamic Performance Management). In the last decade Professor Bianchi has been strengthening an international network related on “Dynamic Performance Management”. He has been collaborating with a number of Universities all over the world, ranging from Europe (Bergen, Norway; Nijmegen, The Netherlands; St. Gallen, Switzerland; KTH, Stockholm, Sweden), to Asia (Multimedia University, Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia; Hanoi, Vietnam; Rangsit, Bangkok-Thailand; Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta; SMU, Singapore), and America (University of Campinas, Brazil). In the USA, Professor Bianchi has developed a strong scientific collaboration with the School of Government of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and more recently has started collaborating with the School of Public Affairs at the Baruch College, New York, and the School of Public Administration at FUA (Florida Atlantic University).

Professor Dan Williams has been at Baruch College since 1995. Before that he was with the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid) for 15 years, serving 9 years as the Budget Director. He teaches budgeting, performance measurement, and ethics. His academic research focuses on budget, performance, and the intellectual history of public administration. He has a variety of articles focusing on performance measurement including the history of performance measurement and reporting and the incorporation of the systems model within the performance paradigm (in process). His budgeting research focuses primarily on forecast methods and accuracy and, more recently, on post-adoption continuous budgeting.

This presentation aims to show how applying the system dynamics methodology to performance management can provide public sector organizations a powerful modeling perspective to prevent, detect and counteract behavioral distortions associated to performance measurement. A dynamic performance management approach is able to support performance management system designers to outline and implement a consistent set of measures that can allow public sector decision makers to pursue sustainable organizational learning and development. This perspective implies a major shift from a static to a dynamic picture of organizational processes and results. This means framing delays between causes and effects, feedback loops, and trade-offs in time and space associated with alternative scenarios. It also means understanding how different policy levers impact the accumulation and depletion of strategic resources over time, and determining how performance drivers affect end-results. An application of this perspective is outlined, in relation to crime control policies at Municipal level. Concerning this, unintended behavioral consequences generated by the implementation of the Compstat program (at the New York Police Department) on reward and performance management systems are framed through the ‘lenses’ of dynamic performance management.

Using inclusive wealth and system dynamics to design sustainable nations: The case of Saudi Arabia
by Ross Collins (Ph.D. student, MIT)

About the Speaker:
Ross is a Ph.D. student in the MIT Engineering Systems Division. His research concerns investigating the tradeoffs between short-term gain and long-term sustainability in complex decision making contexts. He is a research contributor to the Center for Complex Engineering Systems (CCES), a collaboration between MIT and the King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) in Saudi Arabia, where his latest work explored integrated energy and water decisions. More broadly, he is interested in systems analysis of natural resource and energy policies in countries of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. Previous work for the MIT-Portugal Program centered on the tradeoffs between fire suppression and prevention to effectively manage forest fires in Portugal. Ross holds an S.M. in Technology & Policy from MIT, an M.S. and B.S. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia (UVa) as well as a B.A. in Economics from UVa. Research at UVa included tradeoff exploration of different geographic configurations of PV installations, risk-scoring of critical infrastructures for the Virginia Department of Transportation and the US Department of Homeland Security, and economic analysis of workforce disruptions during pandemic flu outbreaks.

While nearly all agree that sustainable development is important, differences in definition and measurement, oftentimes across academic disciplines, have inhibited rigorous analysis of policies. Recently, a new framework for evaluating sustainable development, called inclusive wealth, has emerged out of the economic literature. While limited in some respects, the approach is novel in that it focuses on stocks instead of flows when evaluating development. This presentation will describe the inclusive wealth framework, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, and advance a research agenda to merge the theory of inclusive wealth into a dynamic systems framework. Two policy areas, relating to natural and human capital management, are explored within this framework.

Cumulative Impact Analysis of Systemic and Governance Changes Associated With Multi Small-Scale Hydropower Projects: A Modeling Study in the context of Ikizdere Valley, Turkey.
by Aysen Eren (Ph.D. student, Bogazici University/Yale University)

About the Speaker:
I am an industrial engineer and have double MSc in industrial engineering and operations research from Bilkent University, Ankara/Turkey and from Columbia University, NY/USA. I worked many years in international marketing, banking and telecommunications sectors. In 2008, I established "Sustainable Living Games", an alternative education program, to create and increase awareness on sustainable living issues. Since then I play games with people of all ages. I also write regularly on sustainability issues for a national newspaper. I decided to pursue an academic career in 2010 and enrolled to a PhD. program in Environmental Sciences at Bogazici University, Istanbul/Turkey. My research interests focus on issues of natural resource commons, human-environment relations and socioecological systems. My research approach is interdisciplinary, combining perspectives from political ecology, social sciences, systems thinking and modeling.

Aligned with global economic and political trends, hydropower generation by constructing big dams on major rivers has been a popular energy policy since the 1930s in Turkey. At the turn of twenty first century, the state’s hydropower efforts have escalated and intensified, especially over the small rivers. The state’s vision is to have two thousand actively operating Run-of-River Hydropower (RRH) projects by 2023. If plans are realized, in every single river course at least one RRH will be constructed, and in many rivers, such as İkizdere which is seventy eight km long and with average flow of hundred meter cube per second, as many as twenty six, will be built in succession. RRH projects sparked concerns among local communities and they formed a strong grass-root resistance movement against RRHs particularly in Northeast Black Sea region of Turkey. No study has been conducted to estimate how the valleys and the rivers will change, when all projects are completed and in operation, and in what ways changes and transformations will continue in the region during fifty year-license period of RRHs. The principal aim of this research is to analyze these cumulative changes and transformations in an interdisciplinary, holistic and systematic way in the context of Ikizdere Valley. The research hypothesizes that, by transforming the nature of the resource, Run-of-River hydropower development changes not only the biophysical environment, but access, governance, and the scale at which benefits accrue. The study will focus on minimum water requirement (MWR), one of most controversial issues, to identify and define how the transformations and changes associated with RRH projects along a river change the beneficiaries, terms of access to water, and affect the scale at which beneficiaries benefit from the resources. It will investigate the role of the state and institutions in access mechanisms related with MWR, and offer feedback on environmental policies and practices of the state. The research will explore whether the privileged access of RRHs to river, provided and secured by the state, can create a ‘tragedy of the commons’ scenario.

Key Words: Run-of-River Hydropower projects, Tragedy of The Commons, Commons Theory, Access Rights, Political Ecology, Water Grabbing, Sustainable Development, Renewable Energy.

Extra: Systems Language of Ecology: A System Dynamics Atelier

Dynamics of obesity intervention adoption, implementation, and maintenance
by Mohammad S. Jalali (Ph.D. student, Virginia Tech/MIT)

About the Speaker:
Mohammad is a Ph.D. student in Management Systems in the Grado Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering. He works with Hazhir Rahmandad at Virginia Tech’s System Dynamics Lab. Mohammad is interested in simulation and model estimation methodologies and dynamic modeling for complex health care and social problems. Before joining the System Dynamics Lab, he was a researcher at the WV Industrial Assessment Center associated with the U.S. Department of Energy. His email address is and his web page is:

In the US, obesity has been recognized as a major public health challenge for over two decades. A large number of obesity interventions, from upstream (policy) to downstream (individual level), have been put forward to curb the obesity trend; however, not all those interventions have been successful. Overall effectiveness of obesity interventions relies not only on the average efficacy of a generic intervention, but also on the successful Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (AIM) of that intervention.

In this project we aim at understanding how effectiveness of organizational level obesity interventions depends on dynamics of AIM. We start the project with an obesity intervention, implemented in food carry-outs in low-income urban areas of Baltimore city, which aims to improve dietary behavior for adults through better food access and point of purchase prompts. Building on data from interviews in two carry-outs, we first develop a contextualized map of causal relationships integral to dynamics of AIM, and then quantify those mechanisms using a system dynamics simulation model. We are currently continuing the project with two more interventions in North Carolina. All three interventions vary in their organizational arrangements, stakeholders involved, and mechanisms of impact. Variations across interventions offer insights into what mechanisms are shared across different interventions and helps with the generalizability of results.

The limits of efficiency of Bike Sharing
by Dimitris Papanikolaou (Ph.D. student, MIT/Harvard)

About the Speaker:
Dimitris is a doctoral candidate at Harvard GSD and a recent graduate of the MIT Media Lab where he worked as a researcher at the Smart Cities and Changing Places groups. His interests explore the intersection of media technology, economics, and systems thinking with applications on intelligent transportation systems. At the Media Lab he co-developed Mobility on Demand, a vehicle sharing system of electric foldable cars, claimed by Time magazine as the best invention of 2007 and winner of the 100K Buckminster Fuller Award in 2009. His doctoral dissertation, using Boston's bike sharing system as a case, combines computer simulation with experimental methods to compare the limits of efficiency of truck rebalancing to the potential efficiency of a social mechanism based on dynamic pricing. Dimitris holds a M.Sc. in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, a SMArchS in Design Computation from MIT's School of Architecture and Planning as a Fulbright Scholar, and a Diploma in Architectural Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece.

Mobility on Demand (MoD) systems utilize fleets of shared vehicles (bikes, scooters, automobiles) and networks of docking stations allowing users to make point to point trips on demand. Despite their convenience, today’s MoD systems have significant operational complexities and economic inefficiencies. In bike sharing, 10%-40% of the daily trip volume remains imbalanced causing some stations to deplete from bikes while other stations to deplete from empty docks. Operators spend their entire usage revenues paying gas, trucks and workers to manually move bikes from full to empty stations. Yet, level of service in most MoD systems is low. In Paris 48% of users find no bikes and 58% of users find no parking spaces available. In Barcelona, 50% of the stations are unavailable (empty or full) during 30% of the time. In car sharing these figures can only be worse as workers must drive (or tow) cars using other vehicles between relocations. The key decision for an operator is how many trucks to use, in how many work shifts (e.g. 8hr, 16hr, or 24hr per truck) and within what time window (e.g. from 6am till 10pm, etc.), so that ridership is maximized while revenues cover operation costs; furthermore in the long run, what portion of the revenues to allocate on additional bikes and docks and what portion on trucks and workers. Allocation of revenues affects ridership, which in turn affects revenues. What are the limits of efficiency of truck repositioning? While we have no reasons to believe that truck repositioning is currently done efficiently, we know little about how better it can get. To address this question, I develop a system dynamics computer simulation model calibrating it with real time data and interviews from the bike sharing systems of Boston, Paris, and Washington DC. The model simulates ridership, costs, and revenues, as a function of the trip pattern, number of trucks, work shifts, and operation time windows and can be used to find the combination of the above parameters that maximizes ridership for given a pattern of trips.

Evaluate the Tradeoffs Among Stakeholders’ Interests Using Normative System Dynamics Models
by Weijia Ran (Ph.D. student, UAlbany)

About the Speaker:
Weijia Ran is a doctoral student in Informatics at the University at Albany. She is interested in complex systems, sustainability, and modeling and simulation methods. Her past and current experience includes work as a software engineer, graduate assistant at the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany, and student assistant in the System Dynamics Society Office. She has been involved in research projects that across multiple disciplines and fields, including knowledge management and E-learning in the workplace, collaboration across boundaries, cancer support via social media, and sustainable tourism development.

Tourism is an important industry in many developing countries. In the past few decades, the issue of how to make better policy decisions that can minimize the negative effects of tourism on natural and cultural environments and maximize its positive effects on economic development has been a major topic for tourism researchers and policymakers. Since tourism practices are depicted as processes that reflect different competing interests and values, in order to make better tourism-related policy decisions, the first step should be understanding different competing interests and values and their possible contributions to tourism development. This presentation describes how normative system dynamics models can be used to unfold the complexity involved in the tourism-related decision-making process, and help policymakers to examine and evaluate the tradeoffs among tourism stakeholders’ interests.

From Flatland to Spaceland: The pursuit of insights from modeling startup research universities management strategies.
by Raafat Zaini (Ph.D. student, WPI)

About the Speaker:
Raafat is a third year PhD student in the interdisciplinary PhD program in the Social Science and Policy Studies department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute WPI. His research interest is in the area of organizational dynamics and innovation sustainability. Currently, he is focused on understanding and modeling startup research universities management strategies.

In startup research universities focused on technology and innovation, performance is paramount to fulfilling their aspirations to become world-class academic institutions. We attempt here to summarize the major elements contributing to the performance of startup research universities and the dynamic relationships between them. To help simplify matters, we grouped similar elements sharing similar causal relationships with others and created a multilevel dynamic hypothesis in pursuit of insights that improve our understanding of key performance enablers and the strategic management decisions to realize them.