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Children’s Oral Health

Children’s Oral Health

Name Exploring Prevention Strategies for Improving Children’s Oral Health
Modelers Gary B. HirschBurton Edelstein, Marcy Frosh, Jayanth Kumar.
Client/Participant Childen’s DentalHealth Project, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, New York State Department of Health
Client Type Government

The Issue You Tackled

Early childhood caries (ECC) – tooth decay among children younger than 6 years – is highly prevalent and consequential in the United States, despite being highly preventable. Forty-four percent of 5-year-olds have cavity experience. ECC manifests frequently as pain and infection and disproportionately affects low income children, leading to avoidable expenditures by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The problem facing policy makers is selecting interventions that have greatest potential for reducing both disease and costs.

What You Actually Did

ECC modeling projects span five years and two states, Colorado and New York. These models helped policymakers in both states explore different preventive interventions to determine their potential impact on the percentage of children developing cavities, potential savings from reducing treatment costs, and ratios of treatment cost savings to preventive program costs. Preventive programs simulated included Community Water Fluoridation, fluoride varnish application, motivational interviewing of parents, tooth brushing encouragement, and preventive dental visits and combinations of these and other programs.

The Results

The Colorado model included all children aged 0-5. The New York model represented children covered by that state’s Medicaid program. The models helped policymakers see the alternative benefits of broad-based programs affecting all children (maximum reduction in cavities) vs. programs focused on children at the highest risk of developing ECC (highest return per program dollar invested).

Related Publications

A Simulation Model for Designing Effective Interventions in Early Childhood Caries Download
Reducing early childhood caries in a Medicaid population: A Systems Model Analysis Download

System Dynamics & Agent-Based approaches to face HR constraints

System Dynamics & Agent-Based approaches to face HR constraints

Client Public ICT company localized in Minas Gerais, Brazil; Primary Hospital Localized in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
Authors/Consultant Guttenberg Ferreira Passos, Ilan Chamovitz, Babis Theodoulidis

Case summary

Human Resource Management (HRM) has emerged as a fundamental and critical capital in organizations. After all, human resources plan, design policies, handles machinery and innovates. Human Resources hire human resources. In this context, information systems can facilitate the understanding of problems, especially when there is a complex scenario involving decision making. Thus, investment in HR Information Systems becomes increasingly valued by managers.

To better understand and manage human resources in Research and Development teams and develop competences in alignment with a dynamic and complex environment, a combination of System Dynamics and Agent-based modelling was used. This model career’s employee evolution is mapped taking into account these 3 steps, including promotions and absences from work, considering time, from hiring to retirement. During this cycle there is a possibility of one or more delays, that lead the employee on taking a certain time to pass from a beginner employee to more experienced one. The proposed model was generated from the Organizational Responsibility Model. It has been applied for a public service ICT software development company, in Brazil. The model was extended to the ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and the Customer Monitoring Marketing Model.

Clients in both cases greatly increased their insight into the causes of delayed reactions to changes in the environment. The model indicates that integrating qualitative and quantitative data contribute to a deeper understanding of the different factors related with delay in STEMI patients’ treatment. It can help the decision makers in providing the best care for STEMI patients, to experiment with new prevention policies, look for improvements in the process and consequently decrease the rate of mortality and complications after a cardiac event.

Links to articles, presentations or models:

Model: http://api.adm.br/netlogo/HR/
Presentation: http://pt.slideshare.net/guttenbergpassos/hr-presentation-38182772
Video of Evolution Of Employee (IEEE): http://youtu.be/2P6awZWnjPk
Video of HR – Marketing Model: http://youtu.be/qnX-WY8kj2s
Link to the Paper

Extended work:

ANDRADE LD, LYNCH C, CARVALHO E, RODRIGUES CG, VISSOCI JRN, et al. (2014). System Dynamics Modeling in the Evaluation of Delays of Care in ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction Patients within a Tiered Health System. PLoS ONE 9(7): e103577. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103577. 

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0103577

A Case Study in Strategic Human Resource Management

Strategic Human Resource Management

Name A Case Study in Strategic Human Resource Management with System Dynamics
Modelers Andreas Größler, Alexander Zock

The Issue You Tackled

The case-study company is a German service provider in the logistics industry that is the market leader in this industry and that has a quasi-monopolistic status. One of the major services the firm provides requires the availability of highly skilled operator staff. The company’s performance depends to a great extent on the timely and effective provision of this service. The intellectual and personal requirements that these operators have to meet are demanding, and the duration of their training is long. Thus, selecting and developing employees is a complicated matter resulting in a difficult and often sub-optimal workforce-planning process that has a major effect on operational performance. As a result of preferable employment conditions and the company’s excellent reputation, however, there is no principle shortage of potential employees. The workforce planning practice employed at the case-study company was to assume continuous growth of demand for the future (for instance, assuming 3% p.a. growth of demand) and, on the basis of this figure, to calculate for each geographical division the deviation between the assumed and the required operator capacity for the future.

The forecasting horizon was determined by the time required to train a newly hired operator to be ready for operational services. In the case-study company, the human resource department considered this time lag to be 51 months without variation. In the past few years, the case-study company has experienced a situation of overall growth in demand for its services. The company’s managers described its long-term planning scheme over this period as sub-optimal primarily because they perceived the staff situation to be characterized by transient but prolonged periods of staff shortages, followed by periods of staff surpluses. Both situations are highly undesirable as they can result in a declining service quality, excessive workforce costs, and lower productivity.

In short, the seemingly trivial problem of providing just the right number of qualified people at the right time is actually highly dynamically complex.

What You Actually Did

The company decided to complement its regular planning process, which consisted of forecasting future workforce demand through spreadsheet analyses, with a modelling approach based on system dynamics. The goals that were set by the case-study company’s management for this study were

  • to conduct a structural analysis of the existing long-term workforce planning process for service operators,

  • to provide a dynamic analysis of the existing planning policies, and

  • to construct a scenario tool to improve the existing planning policies.

To meet these requirements, the company defined the following project framework:

  1. Interviews with members of the company with all the departments involved.

  2. Participative construction of a basic system dynamics model.

  3. Testing and validation of the constructed model for one service centre.

  4. Testing and validation of the model for a second service centre.

  5. Definition and evaluation of future scenarios to demonstrate the capabilities of the planning tool.

  6. Possible roll-out to all remaining service centres in Germany.

This multiphase approach highlights the fact that system dynamics-based modelling frequently is much more than a back-office modelling exercise with some expert involvement. The main reason for this approach is the necessity of building intensive involvement in the organization to foster commitment and trust in such a new approach to organizational planning. The modelling project was conducted in 2008.ed in 2008.

The Results

The modelling process involved several working sessions with a group of six to ten people. In the context of these sessions, several qualitative insights were gained:

  • There were data inconsistencies in the planning databases used by the service centres and the centralized planning department. These inconsistencies had never been laid bare, and only the rigorous character of the formal modelling approach led to a comparison of the databases in such detail that the problem could be identified.

  • The overall lead time between the request for new employees and those employees becoming operational was much longer than had been assumed. This insight also showed that the implemented planning horizon was actually not long enough, which also brought up questions about the adequacy of the existing forecast methods.

In the course of the sessions, most participants reported that the systemic representation of the planning process provided an integrative picture that had never before been accessible in the organization. They also said that the quality of the discussion in the sessions was very high and had led to interdepartmental dialogue that had not taken place before the project started.

In addition to these qualitative insights, a number of quantitative aspects of the planning process were found to be of considerable interest. One example is the dynamic consequence of the variations in the lead times of the recruitment process.

The overall lead time of this process were divided into three blocks: the recruitment lead time (12 months), the basic training (15 months) and the on-the-job training (24 months). If one assumes that these lead times are only average times and that they display some degree of variance, the analysis demonstrates that, although the average lead time is 51 months, not all of the recruited operators are fully productive after this time.

Although some may finish their training earlier, quite a few take longer.

Thus, in the simulation it takes 68 months until about 100% of the newly hired operators are actually available. Although this insight may be intuitive when one considers the meaning of the term “average lead-time”, the planning process did not take it into account before this simulation outcome was presented. Other quantitative insights gained in the modelling process included the influence of limited capacity at the local centre for on-the-job training, the effects of different policies for distributing trainees across the centres, and the occurrence of cyclic behaviour in workforce capacity.

Related Publications

Supporting long-term workforce planning with a dynamic aging chain model: A case study from the service industry Download
Understanding human resource flows with System Dynamics (Slideshow) Download

Are You vMad To Go For Surgery? Risk Assessment for Transmission of vCJD via Surgical Instruments

Are You vMad To Go For Surgery?

Risk Assessment for Transmission of vCJD via Surgical Instruments

Client UK Department of Health
Authors/Consultant Stephen Curram, Jonathan Coyle, André Hare

Case summary

Although the prevalence of vCJD (a human form of “Mad Cow Disease”) was successfully reduced between 2000 and 2004, the alarming peak in cases led to concern about the disease’s possible transmission via various pathways. Surgical instruments were considered to be a plausible, if surprising potential risk.

The work was undertaken for the UK Department of Health and contributed to official reports by the UK government.

Models helped simulate potential transmission rates and the impact of mitigation policies on the general population. A wide-ranging review by both medical and modelling experts undertook a very detailed verification and validation exercise on models used in the study. The case is a strong example of model-informed policy in health-care, specifically concerning disease transmission – a topic on which many valuable system dynamics projects have been carried out.

Links to articles, presentations or models:

Are you vMad to go to surgery? Risk assessment for transmission of vCJD via surgical instruments.  Link to the Paper

Keep on rolling – managing a large rail improvement project

Keep on rolling – managing a large rail improvement project

Client London Underground
Authors/Consultant Steve Curram, David Exelby, and Jocelyn Lovegrove

Case summary

The London Underground carries up to 4 million passengers a day, and required a major upgrade involving new trains and signalling, plus much additional engineering work. A working system must be maintained during the upgrade, requiring a complex migration process to be planned and implemented. The service operators receive financial penalties for poor system performance against constantly rising targets.

The system dynamics project captured progress on train introductions and engineering work, their impact on system performance, and the resulting financial implications. The model enabled management to assess different options for work scheduling against changing conditions of access to the system they were improving.

The Coca-Cola Company’s Brand Beverage Barometer is a massive global brand tracker that informs decision-makers about their brand’s health, and gives clues on how well marketing programs perform. But, powerful as it is, this solution alone cannot give good forward-looking consumer insights.

The solution developed was achieved through a behavioral and attitudinal segmentation, plus system dynamics modeling that allows Coca-Cola to project current understanding of consumers’ choices into future changes to brand preferences. The approach is analogous to taking a series of snapshots of consumer behavior, turning them into a movie, and running the movie forward in time.

The result is a strategic planning tool that can identify high return-on-investment marketing initiatives, which can be replicated across regions and numerous product categories. This also provides a common language for marketing professionals to share their insights.

Links to articles, presentations or models:

Keep on rolling – understanding the migration dynamics of a large rail improvement project Link to the Paper

For further information, contact Steve Curram at DAS Ltd: www.das-ltd.co.uk

Data Center Capacity Planning

Data Center Capacity Planning

Name Data Center Capacity Planning
Modelers Kaveh Dianati
Contact kaveh.dianati.15@ucl.ac.uk
Client/Participant Telecomputing, Norway
Client Type Corporation

The Issue You Tackled

TeleComputing, now called Visolit, is a leading provider of centralized IT operation services, based in Norway. The project developed a System Dynamics model that would enable continuing estimation of the point in time at which the processing capacity limit of the company’s data center in Oslo would be reached.

The work was done in close cooperation with the Chief Technical Officer of the company, with regular in-depth meetings where model progress and results were presented and potential improvements discussed.

What You Actually Did

The model includes a relatively detailed representation of the development and growth in the company’s main assets, namely servers and storage spindles, and shows how the company’s growth objectives, together with its service level and inventory policies, lead to the historic and likely future growth patterns in its assets. Once the model was shown to replicate the observed behavior patterns for the right reasons, it was used to test future business development scenarios, and plan future investment in data-center capacity, valued at many millions of Norwegian Krone.

The Results

Previously, the likely future availability of processing power in the data center had been projected by using intuitive extrapolation. However, the model demonstrated that such extrapolations are completely misleading, because of a shift in the system’s behavior mode due to advances in technology. Consequently, the model fundamentally changed the company’s estimates concerning the project’s central question – when the limit of the data center capacity would be reached, and how much to invest, when, to ensure that capacity will continue to be adequate, but without excessive investment.

Development of the System Dynamics model also discovered faulty data, and led to the devising of useful time-charted performance indicators, which resulted in otherwise unattainable insights.

Related Publications

A System Dynamics Approach to Data Center Capacity Planning – A Case Study (Full Thesis) Download
A System Dynamics Approach to Data Center Capacity Planning – A Case Study (ISDC Conference Paper) Download
A System Dynamics Approach to Data Center Capacity Planning – A Case Study (Power Point Slides) Download

Did You Know?

Updates on the case

The authors contacted the CTO of the company for follow up three years after their final deliverable. The positive and valuable outcomes that emerged throughout the project, together with the ability to see their business performance in a visual, structured and rigorous manner, led the client to engage with the project enthusiastically from the start. As he remarked “I can confirm that the projections [from the model] are definitely true. We now know that virtualizing the majority of our servers means there’s no need to expand the data center for the foreseeable future, as we had previously expected we would need to do!

Although of substantial commercial value, this project was carried out as a requirement of the European Master in System Dynamics (EMSD) program at the University of Bergen, Norway, under the supervision of Professor Pål Davidsen.

Pushing the boundaries of marketing ROI at Coca-Cola

Pushing the boundaries of marketing ROI at Coca-Cola

Client Coca-Cola Inc.
Authors/Consultant Foresight Associates

Case summary

Marketers behind major brands look into consumer data to spot trends and craft possible futures. Their vision and strategy relies on a balance of art and science, based on raw marketing talent and supported by extensive data on consumer behavior.

Virtually all available brand tracking data is grounded in the past.

Although social media give vast amounts of real-time information, much of this is qualitative, incomplete and unreliable. But the historic information is critically valuable for two reasons.

First, that data explains how interactions between consumers, retailers and competitors actually operate and how the entire system responds to marketing and pricing changes. Secondly, historic actions and choices are already strong determinants of what will happen in the near- to mid-term future.

The Coca-Cola Company’s Brand Beverage Barometer is a massive global brand tracker that informs decision-makers about their brand’s health, and gives clues on how well marketing programs perform. But, powerful as it is, this solution alone cannot give good forward-looking consumer insights.

The solution developed was achieved through a behavioral and attitudinal segmentation, plus system dynamics modeling that allows Coca-Cola to project current understanding of consumers’ choices into future changes to brand preferences. The approach is analogous to taking a series of snapshots of consumer behavior, turning them into a movie, and running the movie forward in time.

The result is a strategic planning tool that can identify high return-on-investment marketing initiatives, which can be replicated across regions and numerous product categories. This also provides a common language for marketing professionals to share their insights.

Links to articles, presentations or models:

Link to the Paper
Click to view “Pushing the boundaries of the research brief”.

C-ROADS

C-ROADS

Name Climate Rapid Overview And Decision Support
Modelers John StermanThomas FiddamanTravis Franck, Andrew Jones, Stephanie McCauley, Philip Rice, Elizabeth Sawin, and Lori Siegel
Model To get the model, please follow this link.
Client/Participant Please click here.
Client Type NGO

The Dynamics of Climate Change: Understanding and influencing the planet’s future (October 8, 2013)

Presented by Andrew Jones, Co-Director, Climate Interactive

Presentation slides: Dynamics of Climate Change slides

Description: Learn how world leaders are using C-ROADS in global climate negotiations C-ROADS is an award-winning computer simulation that helps people understand the long-term climate impacts of policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. World leaders are using the model in global climate negotiations. In this interactive session, Andrew Jones, Co-Director of Climate Interactive, introduces participants to C-ROADS and describes how it can be used by others to understand and test their own scenarios or conduct real-time policy analysis. This webinar is the first in the Big Data, System Dynamics, and XMILE webinar series jointly sponsored by IBM, isee systems, and the OASIS XMILE Technical Committee.

The Official Website

climateinteractive.org is the official website that covers all information about this brilliant project including the latest news, simulators and learning tools, videos, etc.

The Issue You Tackled

Negotiations have failed even though scientific understanding of climate change and the risks it poses ha s never been stronger. The failure of global negotiations can be traced to the gap between the strong scientific consensus on the risks of climate change and widespread confusion, complacency and denial among policymakers, the media and the public.

What You Actually Did

The C-ROADS model is designed to address these issues and build shared understanding of climate dynamics in a way that is solidly grounded in the best available science and rigorously non-partisan, yet understandable by and useful to non-specialists, from policymakers to the public.

The Results

C-ROADS:

  • tracks GHGs, including CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, halocarbons, aerosols and black carbon;

  • distinguishes emissions from fossil fuels and from land use and forestry policies;

  • allows users to select different business-as-usual (BAU) scenarios, or to define their own;

  • enables users to capture any emissions reduction scenario for each nation portrayed;

  • reports the resulting GHG concentrations, global mean temperature change, sea-level rise, ocean pH, per capita emissions and cumulative emissions;

  • allows users to assess the impact of uncertainty in key climate processes;

How to Work With The Model?

Video tutorials are available online to guide use

Related Publications

Climate interactive: the C-ROADS climate policy model. Download
Management flight simulators to support climate negotiations Download
Communicating climate change risks in a skeptical world Download
The Climate Scoreboard shows the progress that national contributions (INDCs) to the UN climate negotiations will make assuming no further action after the end of the country’s pledge period (2025 or 2030). Scoreboard
World climate: a role-play simulation of climate negotiations Download

Did You Know?

  

A Big Boost for the Climate Summit

An editorial in the New York Times about the climate summit in Paris, mentions C-ROADS team analysis of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). Please follow this link to read this article in the NYT.

Offers for Paris Climate Talks Would Reduce Warming by 1°C

Climate Interactive’s Climate Scoreboard analysis, produced in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management (MIT Sloan), shows that the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) put forward in advance of the UN climate talks this December make a sizeable contribution towards curbing global emissions and limiting warming. However, the offers need to be paired with further action if warming is to be kept below the 2°C target, avoiding the worst impacts of catastrophic climate change. Please see the full news release of their new analysis of the expected impact of the emissions pledges nations have made in the run up to Paris. The climate scoreboard is an embeddable widget that people can embed on their sites, blogs, etc. and will automatically update as analysis is revised when new pledges come in. The New York Times and in Science Magazine Science Insider (dated September 28, 2015) have pick up this story so far.

Climate Interactive announced the World Climate Project at a Back-to-School Climate Education Event at the White House.

The World Climate Exercise is a role-playing simulation game that puts teams, classrooms, and communities into the role of international climate negotiators to create a pathway to solutions that limit global warming. Through these simulation games, Climate Interactive plans to reach more than 10,000 people by December 2015, when nations will come together to finalize a global agreement on climate change in Paris. (Aug 2015)

Professor John Sterman and Climate Interactive featured in film “Disruption”

The film Disruption features incredible and informative interviews from scientists, activists and leaders—including Climate Interactive partner John Sterman of MIT. The film was released in advance of the People’s Climate March, the largest climate march in history, in the streets of New York City on September 21, 2014. (September 2014)

System Dynamics Application Award

The System Dynamics Applications Award is presented by the Society every other year for the best “real world” application of system dynamics. The Society awarded its 2013 Applications Award to John Sterman, Thomas Fiddaman, Travis Franck, Andrew Jones, Stephanie McCauley, Philip Rice, Elizabeth Sawin and Lori Siegel for their work Climate Interactive: The C-ROADS Climate Policy Model. To see the citation that was made by Brad Morisson at the conference, please follow this link(Jul 2013)

Professor John Sterman wrote an article in Climate Progress

It’s a great short article by John Sterman articulating why it is crucial to “hold our feet to the fire” WRT +2C maximum global warming target (i.e., to promote carbon emissions mitigation), while being careful, skeptical and perhaps even averse to climate resilience initiatives (i.e., to avoid engaging in adaptation to climate change). This article is contemporary, and more relevant as each day passes by without a global commitment to limit climate damage to a level that adaptation becomes pertinent. Please follow this link to find the article. (Jul 2013)

Prism

Prism

Name Prevention Impacts Simulation Model (PRISM)
Modelers Jack HomerKristina WileGary HirschJustin Trogdon, Amanda Honeycutt, Bobby Milstein, Diane Orenstein, and Lawton Cooper
Client/Participant Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Client Type Government

The Issue You Tackled

At least 70% of deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases, and their direct and indirect costs are more than 1 trillion dollars per year. Governmental health agencies are in a position to promote strategies to prevent and manage chronic disease, but identifying the most effective and economical strategies is often difficult. To help health agencies better plan and evaluate interventions, the CDC and the NHLBI funded the creation of the Prevention Impacts Simulation Model (PRISM).

What You Actually Did

PRISM is a relatively large System Dynamics model that is used to simulate trajectories for health and cost outcomes for the entire U.S. population from 1990 to 2040, and has also been applied to represent other national and local populations. Interventions are in several broad areas: medical care, smoking, nutrition and weight loss, physical activity, emotional distress, and particulate air pollution. These interventions act through a range of channels such as access, price, promotion, and regulation. The diseases and conditions modeled in detail include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity, and the model also accounts for cancers and respiratory diseases related to smoking, obesity, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity.

The Results

The model reports summary measures of mortality and years of life lost as well as the consequent medical and productivity costs of the chronic diseases and conditions modeled. Local and federal health officials have used PRISM throughout its development, and its applications continue to grow in number and variety.

Related Publications

Using simulation to compare established and emerging interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease risks in the United States. Download
Using simulation to compare 4 categories of intervention for reducing cardiovascular disease risks. Download
From model to action: using a System Dynamics model of chronic disease risks to align community action. Download
A ‘whole of system’ approach to compare options for CVD interventions in counties Manukau. Download
Proceedings from the workshop on estimating the contributions of Sodium reduction to preventable death. Download
A System Dynamics model for planning cardiovascular disease interventions. Download
Simulating and evaluating local interventions to improve cardiovascular health. Download
Modeling the local dynamics of cardiovascular health: risk factors, context, and capacity. Download

Did You Know?

System Dynamics Application Award

The System Dynamics Applications Award is presented by the Society every other year for the best “real world” application of system dynamics. The Society awarded its 2011 Applications Award to Jack Homer, Kristina Wile, Gary Hirsch, Justin Trogdon, Amanda Honeycutt, Bobby Milstein, Diane Orenstein and Lawton Cooper for their work Prevention Impacts Simulation Model (PRISM) for Chronic Disease Policymaking. To see the citation that was made by James Lyneis, please follow this link. To see the slides that were used in the 2011 ISDC, please click here(Jul 2011)