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Oceania Chapter Webinar Series

past webinars

The Lobster Game: Experiential learning of system dynamics through serious gaming

ONLINE, Wednesday, November 9th, 2022, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (AEST – Brisbane time) 

by Russell Richards 

The Lobster Game ( is a web-based system dynamics (SD) model that was developed to help meet the learning objectives of a System Dynamics course taught at the University of Queensland (Business School), Australia. The scope was to represent a well-managed fishery dominated by international live exports, where fishing effort was regulated but also strongly influenced by disruptions to market dynamics. The Lobster Game is a computer-based app developed in Unity3D. The motivation for using a serious game approach is its capacity to foster experiential activity-based learning, moving away from the standard didactic approach. This seminar will present the motivation for gamifying a SD model, the mechanics of the SD model itself and early insights into its utility as a teaching tool. The Lobster Game was developed as part of the ‘UQ Cases’ project using funding from the UQ Business School and was introduced to students in July 2022.

The effect of within-host dynamics on diversity of a multi-strain pathogen: Presentation of Dana Meadows Award winning work

ONLINE, Wednesday, September 28th, 2022, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (AEST) 

by Nefel Tellioğlu

Multi-strain pathogens cause millions of infections annually. High strain diversity complicates control of multi-strain pathogens. We have limited understanding about how diversity is maintained in populations given that strains compete both directly (within an individual host) and indirectly (via host immunity). Previous studies tend to make simplifying assumptions about direct competition. We propose an agent-based model to compare the dynamics of multi-strain pathogens under different assumptions about direct competition between strains. We find that direct competition can affect epidemiological dynamics. Our results suggest that while direct and indirect competition can each decrease strain diversity when they act in isolation, they may increase strain diversity when they act together. We argue that studies using multi-strain transmission models should examine sensitivity to assumptions about direct competition. Omitting consideration of direct competition can lead to inaccurate estimates of the effectiveness of control strategies as changes in strain diversity shift the level of direct strain competition.

Measuring and modelling the mental wealth of nations: Presentation and open discussion on using systems models to catalyse social change

ONLINE, Thursday, June 23rd, 2022, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (AEST)

by Jo-An Occhipinti

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deep links and fragility of economic, health and social systems. Discussions of reconstruction include renewed interest moving beyond GDP and recognising ‘human capital’, ‘brain capital’, ‘mental capital’, and ‘wellbeing’ as assets fundamental to economic reimagining, productivity, and prosperity. A/Professor Occhipinti will introduce the concept of Mental Wealth and the ambitious program of the Mental Wealth Initiative harnessing the transdisciplinary science of complex systems to measure and model a nation’s Mental Wealth. This program is working to understand the extent to which policy-mediated changes in economic, social, and health sectors could enhance collective mental health and wellbeing, social cohesion, and national prosperity. The presentation will be followed by an open discussion on the use of systems modelling to catalyse social change.

Model-supported case study of the 1999 crisis in East Timor  

ONLINE, Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (AEST)

by Shayne Gary

This study explores the use of a system dynamics (SD) model-supported case study to analyse potential future Australian Defence Force designs for an Australian led generic stability operation within the Asia-Pacific region. The 1999 crisis in East Timor serves as the historical case study for the model because it closely matches the scenario of interest. Model assumptions were based on data collected from: (1) interviews of subject matter experts (SMEs), (2) written publications about the 1999 East Timor crisis, and (3) expertise of core project team members. Simulation runs match the dynamics of the historical case and the model can be calibrated to represent future stability operations to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative Force designs.

Powerful insights from a simple model structure: A deep dive into population models

ONLINE, Wednesday, August 11th, 2021, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (AEST)

by Mark Heffernan 

Simple models of local, regional and national population dynamics are often the backbone and the starting place of larger social, ecological, technological and health system dynamics models. Their embedded nature means they are often overlooked as a potential source of powerful insights on their own. In this seminar we will present a range of population models, from single stock models to more complex models incorporating demographic characteristics and discuss ways in which these models can generate powerful insights in a variety of different contexts such as the current global COVID-19 pandemic. We will also discuss the policy implications of applying different methodologies, and more broadly how such models can be used to test scenarios and inform public policy.

En-ROADS Climate Workshop: Simulating global solutions to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions

ONLINE, Wednesday, May 12th, 2021, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (AEST)

by Bill Grace

En-ROADS is leading edge (system dynamics) simulation software developed by Climate Interactive, a non-profit think tank in the US, in conjunction with MIT-Sloan and Ventana Systems. This audience-led workshop aims to improve peoples’ mental model of climate policies by exploring for themselves the likely consequences of energy, economic growth, land use, and other policies and uncertainties’ impact on the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to less than 2°C. 

Participatory System Dynamics in the digital age of COVID-19: Adapting group model building
processes to digital delivery

ONLINE, Thursday, April 8th, 2021, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (AEST)

by Danielle Currie, Cindy Peng, and Andrew Brown

Group model building (GMB) is an important part of many of the system dynamics projects currently underway in Oceania region. When the global COVID-19 pandemic, and all its associated restriction, hit in early 2020 it forced many SD practitioners to rapidly adapt the way they approach and deliver GMB processes. In this seminar,  Andrew Brown from the Global Obesity Centre at Deakin University and Danielle Currie and Cindy Peng from the Sax Institute will share their early experiences rapidly adapting in-person GMB workshops to an online environment. They will share tips and tricks, and lessons learned, as well as reflect on the role online tools could play in the way SD projects are delivered in a postCOVID era.