2021 Society Sponsor News
Copernicos specializes in Asset Dynamics
Copernicos specializes in Asset Dynamics, the combined field of asset management and system dynamics. Asset Dynamics focuses on physical assets, the people that operate them, and the dynamic context in which they operate. By applying Asset Dynamics Copernicos helps organizations to innovate the management of their physical assets such as ships, trains, infrastructures, power plants, and buildings.
Rapidly changing circumstances and growing societal obligations, make that we ask more from our assets than simply their basic functionalities. To support organizations and asset owners in their policymaking Copernicos applies Asset Dynamics. In making models together with stakeholders and experts we create a (shared) insight into complex systems. In group-model-building sessions, we make underlying factors of behavior (of assets and people) visible and connect different perspectives, knowledge, and interests. We show how (un)foreseen factors might influence the performance of assets over a long lifespan. By finally making scenario analyses we can make better, more (cost-)effective and sustainable decisions.
In general, we apply Asset Dynamics in Asset Management and Innovation Management and more and more in the combination of both. Specific examples are:
- Sustainable traffic policies
- Life cycle and maintenance policies for navy ships
- Regional traffic management and long-term maintenance contracts
- Innovation portfolio management for sustainable coastline care
Future Proof Assets
Most of our assets perform in a dynamic and rapidly changing world. Load is changing because the use of our assets changes. Assets not only have to fulfill their primary functions but also need to meet all kinds of societal obligations. Climate change demands even more from our assets.
Normally assets are designed with frozen requirements in mind. The design job is to meet those requirements, including risk analysis on possible failures. We increasingly see that there are many probable future scenarios that also have a large spread of possible outcomes. The impact of climate change is unsure. So, how can we make our assets more resilient for an uncertain future?
By modeling the dynamic context in which assets actually function and by making scenario-analysis we can answer the question of which asset configuration is the most future proof.
Interested or would you like some more information? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Into its fourth year, DESTA is working on democratizing the knowledge of systems thinking through their youtube channel. These videos present the theory, Systems Thinking 101, and applications of systems thinking into real-world problems, Systems Stories.
In January 2021, DESTA in partnership with Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies released a report on climate change. Through a series of workshops, DESTA helped organizations working on the ground identify climate linkages in non-climate-focused projects using participatory systems thinking. These workshops made these linkages explicitly clear and allowed the participants to take cognizance of the climate linkages that exist across sectors and projects. Mapping the projects’ influences on the local ecosystems and livelihoods helped agencies understand how they were related to the adaptive capacity of people to deal with climate change, as well as with emission sources and sequestration. This report is the synthesis of that work, with broader implications for the climate space.
DESTA is working with CInI to mainstream systems thinking into their organization. They are doing this by evaluating the existing theory of change of the project using tools of systems thinking, building systems thinking capabilities of the project team, and helping them internalize aspects such as climate change and resource-based carrying capacity into the project design. This collaboration would help the project team evaluate the short-term and long-term impacts of their work on incomes, climate, and the local environment. And how these could be effectively communicated to communities.
DESTA developed a National Energy (Electricity) Model, in collaboration with CSTEP, where interplays between energy demand, supply, and natural resources( land and water) were modeled using system dynamics. The aim here was to develop a decision support system that could aid policymaking. The model simulates future scenarios up to 2050, taking into account national commitments for improving energy efficiency, demand-side management, and decarbonizing the electricity sector. Multiple payoffs, like improving the cost-effectiveness of electricity, reducing emissions, conserving materials, could be explored as scenarios. The model shall provide end-users with a vast canvas for running multiple scenarios of interest for testing policy assumptions and improving decision-making. Read the report here and the journal paper here.
We are offering online courses for those who are interested to learn about systems thinking and how to apply the tools. The first course begins on 4th September and people can know more about the course and register using this link.
DESTA Research LLP is a firm dedicated to providing research and consulting services for sustainable development using systems thinking and system dynamics, based in New Delhi, India. DESTA Stands for Developing Ecosystems for Systemic Transformation and Adaptation. It is also a word in Amharic having the meanings of joy and happiness.
Georgia Health Policy Center
The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) at Georgia State University is proud to sponsor the System Dynamics Society’s annual conference. GHPC provides evidence-based research, program development, and policy guidance at the local, state, and national levels to improve health and well-being. System dynamics tools and systems thinking are integral to our work.
Communities’ health challenges are often multifaceted and require new ways of engaging stakeholders to develop meaningful solutions. Systems thinking acknowledges that a set of interconnected factors underlie the complex issues challenging population health improvement. Identifying these elements and their connectedness helps foster critical thinking and catalyze multistakeholder conversations to identify high-leverage opportunities for significant and lasting change.
Systems thinking is central to GHPC’s work in Health in All Policies, health system transformation, and collective impact. GHPC uses systems thinking tools (e.g., behavior-over-time charts, stock and flow diagrams, causal loop diagrams, and system dynamics models) to foster critical thinking and catalyze multistakeholder conversations.
GHPC continues to explore ways to engage decision-makers and improve translation of research into policy and practice using system dynamics tools. Additionally, we evaluate practice conditions that enable system dynamics practitioners to engage more effectively with community collaboratives. Please visit our website to learn more about the center and our system dynamics work. If you would like to discuss potential collaboration, contact Jane Branscomb.
Jack has continued working on several fronts this past year.
In his 11th year working with ReThink Health and Dr. Bobby Milstein, the emphasis has been on the development of a model-based workshop experience called the Thriving Together Challenge. This effort was also made possible by Chris Soderquist of Pontifex Consulting, our intrepid software interface creator. The underlying model is based on concepts associated with the Thriving Together Springboard for equitable recovery and resilience in American communities.
Jack continues to advise Harvard researchers (headed up by Dr. Mohammad Jalali, under a major grant from the US Food & Drug Administration) on modeling the US opioid epidemic and the cost-effectiveness of alternative strategies to address it.
Jack is also moving into the final phase of a four-year project under Kaiser-Permanente for state-level decision-makers in Colorado on strategies for reducing the burden of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease.
In conjunction with faculty at the University of Colorado, he has adapted this Colorado chronic disease model to examine cardiovascular disease disparities. This study involved the creation of a new county-level index of “social risk” (based on poverty, race, and education) strongly associated with health disparities. Jack will present the initial findings of this work in a parallel session at ISDC 2021. Homer Consulting is a sponsor of the 2021 Conference generally and of the Health Thread specifically.
This past year Jack also worked with the Colorado Health Institute to develop a Root Causes calculator based on a stepwise statistical analysis of county-level data on mental health and social determinants.
Jack was one of four speakers in a System Dynamics webinar this past December describing models of COVID-19. His presentation considered alternative scenarios for vaccine impact on the final phases of the pandemic in the US.
Jack is in his final year as VP of Professional Practice for the System Dynamics Society. This past year, he continued to direct the Society’s one-on-one mentorship program, which has so far matched up more than 50 learners with their own dedicated System Dynamics expert. Another new initiative this past year has been the publication of “Practitioner Profiles” at the Society’s blog, edited by Jack with assistance from the incoming VP, Dr. Saras Chung
The System Dynamics Group at Radboud University is part of the Nijmegen School of Management. The head of the group is professor Etiënne Rouwette, former System Dynamics Society President. The focus of this group is on disentangling messy organizational problems in a wide diversity of domain areas. Within the overarching research theme of Responsible Organization, the group studies among others the energy transition, educational policies, health care interventions, and stakeholder engagement. Besides their meaningful contributions to the existing knowledge in the field, insights are widely shared among students of the European Master in System Dynamics and the Master’s specialization in Business Analysis and Modelling.
In this unique Master’s specialization in Business Analysis and Modelling, students learn about the role of formal modeling and facilitated modeling for organizational decision-making. They will become specialists in working with stakeholders and developing simulation models that offer a sound basis for designing and evaluating strategies. In addition to facilitation and simulation, the Master also addresses the basics and application of game theory and related decision support methods. In conclusion, the master’s program combines system dynamics (analysis) with group model building (facilitation). Students learn how to apply system dynamics analysis in a social setting: communicating results, facilitating group sessions, creating consensus, and commitment.
The group was recently able to attract new colleagues, strengthening its method expertise and its system dynamics expertise in particular and broadening the area in which it is applied to include climate change. We are still looking for a new Ph.D. candidate on climate change, please visit the RU website to and apply for this position
The situation regarding the coronavirus supported the group in exploring and improving methods for online group facilitation. Finally, a large grant was acquired with the Dutch National Research Council for examining Adaptive systems-based pandemic management to improve the resilience of health care and society.
Ventana Systems through the application of its Vensim™ and Ventity™ software has achieved a milestone in Energy, Environment, Economy modeling. From its global environment energy models, C-ROADS and En-ROADS applied by partners Climate Interactive and MIT, Ventana has completed models to achieve Paris, Zero Net, and ESG objectives at state, city, and village levels.
For North Dakota’s Energy Environment Research Center the work defines what an energy-producing state can do to begin the low carbon journey while maintaining a robust economy. The breakthrough is integrating an hourly electric power model to manage variability with increasing renewable sources and baseload production for reliability, embedded in a monthly strategic model to meet 2050 targets. The model covers oil and gas production including EOR, electricity generation with wind, storage, natural gas peakers, coal with and without carbon sequestration, and job and tax revenue impact. The Governor’s energy advisor will present results to the Western Governor’s Conference anticipating interest in collaboration on energy policy.
To address city Zero Net Energy, Belmont Light and the American Public Power Association (APPA) had Ventana develop a city/utility low-carbon strategy model that examines relationships among commercial and residential buildings, energy-consuming devices, energy efficiency product adoption considering the value of incentive programs, electric and other vehicle adoption, Time of Use pricing and utility rate setting, with and without a carbon price. Belmont Light and Ventana presented results to APPA members in June.
The energy environment analytics portfolio is completed with the collaboration between Ventana, the University of North Dakota, DESI Power of India on a village / regional distributed low carbon energy system. The software optimizes the integration of biomass gasifier generation, solar PV, and storage for 24/7 reliable, affordable energy addressing demand and seasonal variability. DESI and Fichtner India plan a demonstration project including commercial enterprises for economic development.
Whole Systems Partnership
The Whole Systems Partnership has been busy in the UK supporting local health and care systems in planning for the pandemic, so much so that we’ve hired! We’ve also seen how the System Dynamics community can demonstrate the incredible value of our trade-in addressing such novel and complex challenges.
But we’ve not just been doing COVID. One client asked us to apply our modeling skills to the challenge of developing a whole new Emergency Department at the ‘front door’ of their hospital. To do this we adapted or built a suite of models to help understand what was changing in the needs of their local population, how services in the community could develop to ease the pressure on the hospital, how many beds the hospital would need when their new front was in place, what workforce challenges they would face, and of course what capacity was needed at the front door itself. The client was so pleased that we’re now in discussion about using the modeling in neighboring systems.
Our Director, Peter Lacey, is also involved in an interesting project with a Russell Group University acting as an Entrepreneur in Residence, which means that he’s having conversations with leading academics about how such an institution could collaborate more effectively with commercial organizations to support the health and care system in a more timely and seamless fashion. If you keep in touch with us here we’ll be posting more information about that in the near future.
Sage Analysis Group, Inc.
PA Consulting’s System Dynamics Arm is Now Sage Analysis Group, Inc.
A new name for our long-established team that began in 1963 as Pugh-Roberts Associates.
We are delighted to share the news that we have transitioned to be (again!) an independent, employee-owned firm. We began as an MIT spinoff, Pugh-Roberts Associates, and then were for many years a subsidiary of a global consultancy. We learned a lot through our different corporate homes and are excited to chart our new future. Our direction remains guided by our passion to use rigorous analysis to navigate through strategic complexity.
We are proud to maintain and grow a large team of expert modelers and our culture values developing deep technical expertise so we can best influence decisions and important strategic outcomes. While ten members of our team date back 20+ years to our Pugh-Roberts days, we continue to add and develop many great newer experts in System Dynamics and Data Science. We work in teams combining deep expertise in System Dynamics with other techniques and a range of styles and experiences.
We are strong believers in the value of System Dynamics analysis, which remains essential to our work. We use System Dynamics across the spectrum from large, closely calibrated and tested models to qualitative applications. We often combine Data Science and qualitative analysis techniques with System Dynamics to gain a comprehensive view of complex issues, cross-check information, and synthesize findings. We retain all of our core models and software dating back to our Pugh-Roberts years, along with many new models and tools. Our recent innovations build on our deep strength identifying causal drivers of performance, and integrating qualitative information, quantitative models, and data science.
We look forward to many new adventures!
Our new website has more on our capability, client impact, and origins. Please visit www.sageanalysis.com to learn more.
University of Bergen
The System Dynamics Group at the University of Bergen continues to offer two master programmes in System Dynamics: the M.Phil. System Dynamics and the Joint European Master’s Programme in System Dynamics.
As a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis, the newly admitted first-year students from abroad will not be able to enter Norway in time for the beginning of the fall 2020 semester. We are therefore offering the entire fall semester online (in combination with hybrid events) and are currently working on internet-based education also for the additional semesters in the M.Phil. program. We are excited by the potential to expand our reach and motivated to design a unique learning experience.
We are proud to announce version 2.0 of Stella Architect, Stella Professional, and Stella Designer; a new and innovative realm of system dynamics modeling. The highlight of this innovative release is the new Loops that Matter™ that allows you to immediately visualize the impact of every variable in a model on every other variable throughout the simulation. It identifies the feedback loops important to generating behavior and allows you to create causal loop diagrams that display those loops in a simplified form. We look forward to showcasing this new version at the upcoming ISDC.
The upcoming ISDC will be a busy one for isee systems. We have 6 presentation, 4 workshops, one user group meeting and of course we will also have a booth where you can stop by to talk with us. Below are the titles for all our presentations and workshops so you can keep a look out for them in the schedule.
- Automated Diagram Generation to Build Understanding and Usability, by William Schoenberg
- Finding the Loops that Matter, by Robert Eberlein, William Schoenberg
- Seamlessly Integrating Loops That Matter into Model Development and Analysis, by William Schoenberg, Robert Eberlein
- Inferring Causality in Feedback Systems by Combining Neural Nets and Ordinary Differential Equations, by William Schoenberg
- The Effect of Food, Housing and Skills Interventions on Individual Life Trajectories, by Sarah Davie, Robert Eberlein
- Economic Dynamics: Two Years from Completion, by Robert Eberlein
- Getting Started with Stella Automated Loop
- Dominance Analysis in Stella using Loops That Matter
- Optimization and Calibration with Stella Building
- Sharing Online Simulations Using Stella
We hope to see many of you at the ISDC.
Congratulations to the Society for rising to the challenge of an entirely online conference and also thanks to everybody for the considerable effort that has made this possible.
We remain, as ever, committed to providing accessible online learning resources, mostly for business modelling and management purposes – resources becoming more critical as normal travel-to-class is ever more difficult, whether for carbon-emission reasons or virus-avoidance.
We are delighted that our Sysdea software is having a major relaunch by its developer, Chris Spencer, as “Sheetless”. This new tool, too, is super-easy to access, use and share, so is perfect for newcomers to dynamic modelling. But Sheetless is also adding powerful integration features, to meet the needs of organisational users.
- You can request a free account for their own use and for students at https://sheetless.io/community.
During this period we have worked with top pandemic experts on a COVID-19 model that helps look at regional responses. This is an open-access model, developed with Sheetless, that can easily be localised (more at sdl.re/COVIDmodel).
Upgraded online courses
We are also upgrading our courses to a new platform. This will allow us to give a better learner experience, to exploit the power of Sheetless and to improve access for teachers who use our courses in their programs.
- Student packs that combine model-based games with e-books and the modelling classes work well and are popular to get students started on SD and business modelling. New teaching features will ease the load for Instructors when teaching remotely.
Our online games
These continue to develop, and now include the popular People Express game in Simplified Chinese and Japanese. Further translations will follow. We have added more games to the platform and our main games, in addition to People Express are White Label Restaurants and the Professional Services Microworld.
- We have made teacher-admin of classes still easier, so contact us to find out more.
Kim Warren & Christina Spencer
Strategy Dynamics Ltd
Dynaplan is present in Norway, Switzerland, and Germany. Through partners we deliver solutions worldwide.
Dynaplan provides technology and services for strategic workforce planning, dynamic business planning, and health.
In Europe we are among the top suppliers in SWP (strategic workforce planning) for large and mid-size organisations.
Our driver-based planning approach brings agility and flexibility to business strategy, planning, forecasting, and budgeting.
In the health sector we have contributed solutions for reducing patient waiting times with up to 80% for secondary health care provided by hospitals. Currently, we are using simulation to help hospitals maximize production while at the same time being prepared for different Covid-19 scenarios.
Our solutions are generic and customizable. In Germany, for example, we count at least one of the main players across all industries among our customers.
BENEFITS TO CUSTOMERS
The main purpose of Dynaplan’s solutions is to help customers make better decisions and to act quickly and adequately when things do not develop according to plan.
Good decisions make the right use of data, knowledge, and tools.
It is our experience that companies underutilize the vast amount of knowledge within the organisation. Through our technology, knowledge is structured into “parallel universes” which are used to simulate possible future scenarios.
As a result, data from the virtual future is available when decisions are to be made in the real world.
Dynaplan helps customers put in place and operate solutions that become part of both periodic and ad-hoc planning. Through our operation support programme, customers get assistance when necessary.
We normally do not consult. Instead we enable our customers to make use of new technology and methods to bring transparency, efficiency, quality, and speed into their planning.
Our customer promise is: we care.