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System Dynamics Blog

Webinar Q&A | Group Model Building Online

Webinar Q&A | Group Model Building Online

Webinar Q&A | Group Model Building Online In 2020, when COVID-19 hit, a group of researchers from the University of Bergen found themselves stuck and could not run a planned in-person Group Model Building Workshop. They thought outside of the box and used Miro, a...

Practitioner Profiles: Peter Lacey, Whole Systems Partnership

Practitioner Profiles: Peter Lacey, Whole Systems Partnership

Practitioner Profiles: Peter Lacey, Whole Systems Partnership Welcome to Practitioner Profiles, a series of up-close blog-length interviews with experienced System Dynamics practitioners.  We have a standard set of 10 questions and let practitioners take the responses...

Modeling for Implementation: an Illusion of Control?

Modeling for Implementation: an Illusion of Control?

Modeling for Implementation: an Illusion of Control? Every so often, I see someone in our field drawing attention to the fact that many client-based system dynamics modeling projects do not lead to effective implementation of their findings, and they wonder what can...

Webinar Q&A | Local Level COVID Models

Webinar Q&A | Local Level COVID Models

Webinar Q&A | Local Level COVID Models We had an insightful Webinar with the participation of The COVID 19 Localisation Modelling Group. Kim Warren and Maurice Glucksman and the formidable youth Farrah Farnejad, Quinn Kennedy, Harshita Magroria, and Brahmani...

Models, Maps, and Levels of Evidence

Models, Maps, and Levels of Evidence

Models, Maps, and Levels of Evidence Anyone who has attended a System Dynamics conference in recent years, or has read past posts in the System Dynamics Society blog, is surely aware of differences of opinion on the value of qualitative maps as opposed to quantified...

Modeling for Impact in the Era of Big Data

Modeling for Impact in the Era of Big Data

Modeling for Impact in the Era of Big Data On the occasion of the field’s 50th anniversary, in 2007, Jay Forrester spoke to us (SDR 23:359-370) about prospects for the field of System Dynamics—his view of the situation summarized by the phrase “aimless plateau”.  He...

Models Don’t Make Predictions, People Do!

Models Don’t Make Predictions, People Do!

Models Don’t Make Predictions, People Do! Models and I go back a long way. I created relatively simple spreadsheet models by hand for 6 years at Arthur Andersen & Co. These were done on 14-column paper with a box of Ticonderoga #3 pencils and a Pink Pearl eraser....

Simulation During Times of Crisis

Simulation During Times of Crisis

Simulation During Times of Crisis Scientists and researchers spend a long time crafting mathematical models that simulate multiple phenomena occurring in organizations and societies. Those models use varied methodologies based on either proven theories or envisioned...

Renewing my membership in the System Dynamics Society

Renewing my membership in the System Dynamics Society In 2009, at the International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, President Erling Moxnes started his Presidential address by saying, ‘”Groucho Marx said “I refuse to be a member of any club that would have...

Why we do not always simulate

Why we do not always simulate By Vincent de Gooyert, Inge Bleijenbergh, Hubert Korzilius, Brigit Fokkinga, Monic Lansu, Stephan Raaijmakers, Etiënne Rouwette, Merel van der Wal With great interest we have been following and participating in discussions on what ‘good’...

What scientific rigor can and cannot buy us

What scientific rigor can and cannot buy us Many words have been written about how System Dynamics modeling should be scientific and rigorous.  An initial dynamic hypothesis will always have shortcomings, and these can be revealed by model testing.  We must go through...

How to right-size your model

How to right-size your model I once developed a relatively compact System Dynamics model to help a major chemical company restructure their plastics business.  The model was well received by senior management but was not considered granular enough for accurately...

Group model building: a dialogue

Group model building: a dialogue In the late 1980s, academics on both sides of the Atlantic started to develop structured techniques for eliciting knowledge from expert and client groups as part of System Dynamics modeling. The goal was to democratize or “open up” the...

The endogenous perspective: a friendly amendment

The endogenous perspective: a friendly amendment I have developed lots of System Dynamics models over the years for both private and public organizations.  My models have all been built to answer strategic questions for which there was no single obvious answer, due to...

Let’s consider policy feasibility

Let’s consider policy feasibility I was once consulted by a semiconductor equipment maker who wanted to reduce their service maintenance costs.  The client team offered a variety of ideas, some of which were workforce-related and could be implemented fairly rapidly,...

First, look at the data

First, look at the data   I recently received an e-mail from a college student, someone I’d never heard of before, wondering whether system dynamics was the right approach for studying a particular issue: how the government’s publication of secondary school...

Why we mentor (and should mentor more)

Why we mentor (and should mentor more)   In the Odyssey, the ancient Greek epic poem of adventure and personal insight, we meet Mentor, a wise old friend of the family whose name means “mental strength”, and who gives crucial guidance to Telemachus, the son of...