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Getting Started on the Right Foot with System Dynamics Modeling

March 23, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event

Getting Started on the Right Foot with System Dynamics Modeling

What looks like a feedback loop but isn’t?
What looks like a system dynamics model but isn’t?

We all probably know that systems thinking word-and-arrow maps contain feedback loops and system dynamics models contain stocks and flows as well as feedback loops. But it’s not that simple.

  • It may be shocking to realize that some word-and-arrow maps aren’t “systems thinking”! Some loops aren’t “feedback loops”. Some aren’t CLDs, even though they contain loops. They may be good thinking, but they may not be “system dynamics thinking”. How can that be?
  • Some pictures we draw in STELLA or Vensim may look something like a system dynamics model but they may be misrepresentations. Some may be unintentional imposters. It’s a fact that something can be diagrammed in STELLA or Vensim but not be a “system dynamics model”! How is that possible?

This workshop is designed to be sure we are all aware of what makes a diagram reflect “systems thinking” and what makes a model a “system dynamics model”.

By the end of this workshop, we will all be better systems thinkers and “mappers”. We won’t all be able to be “modelers” (yet), but we will know what a picture has to look like to have a chance to be a good system dynamics model. We will all be stronger members of the system dynamics community.


Presenter: George P. Richardson

George P. Richardson is Professor Emeritus of public administration, public policy, and information science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany. He earned his doctorate under Jay Forrester at MIT and is the author of Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling with DYNAMO (1981) and Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory (1991), both of which were honored with the System Dynamics Society’s Forrester Award.

George has played and sung acoustic folk music for sixty years. He has ridden a motorcycle cross-country from NY State to Seattle, the Olympic Peninsula, and down to Portland. He’s also ridden round-trip the fabled Dalton “Highway” from Calgary to Deadhorse, AK, and Prudhoe Bay, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Both trips took less than sixty years.


March 23, 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
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