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Exploring Careers in System Dynamics

The Exploring Careers in System Dynamics webinar, held on March 29, 2023, was an engaging panel discussion featuring experts Sharon Els, Eduardo Romanenko, and Georg Pallaske, moderated by Shane Carnohan. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about the career journeys of these three System Dynamics experts, as well as their personal experiences and views on the field.

Sharon Els, with over two decades of experience in business modeling and simulation, provided insights into her extensive client work, which includes predicting market changes, optimizing corporate resource allocation, and improving project performance. She has advised corporate executives and government leaders on complex strategy, policy, and program challenges at various organizations. According to Sharon, “You want to simplify as much as you can. You don’t simplify the System Dynamics modeling itself. But you simplify your messages and you focus on what they need to solve and their challenges.”

Eduard Romanenko, a System Dynamics expert with a Ph.D. from the University of Bergen, highlighted the relevance and transparency of System Dynamics as a tool, which he believes will remain important in the future. He has been working as a full-time SD modeler and researcher for the past 3.5 years, providing insights into complex issues related to various projects.

Georg Pallaske, a System Dynamics expert and project manager with a passion for sustainability, shared his experience working closely with clients to develop customized analyses to support government decision-making. Georg is also pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Bergen, focusing on integrated sustainable development policies. According to Georg, “If we talk about scarce resources, inequality, greenhouse gas emissions & climate change, we cannot address these things in isolation. We need people who are able to use System Dynamics and systems thinking, and to actually support them.”

The panelists discussed the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the field of System Dynamics, as well as the challenges and opportunities that come with it. Attendees gained valuable insights into addressing complex business challenges and integrating System Dynamics into real-world professions.

Whether you’re a student exploring your career options or a seasoned professional looking to broaden your understanding, the “Exploring Careers in System Dynamics” webinar provided an excellent opportunity to learn from experts in the field.

Watch the recording below

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About the Speakers

Sharon Els is an expert in business modeling and simulation with over two decades of experience. Her extensive client work includes predicting market changes, optimizing corporate resource allocation, and improving project performance. She has advised corporate executives and government leaders on complex strategy, policy, and program challenges at various technology, aerospace, finance, gaming, and government organizations. Sharon’s insights and expertise have been instrumental in providing actionable recommendations and solutions to her clients. She currently works at Sage Analysis Group, where she continues to help organizations navigate complex business challenges.

Eduard Romanenko is a System Dynamics expert who holds a Ph.D. in System Dynamics from the University of Bergen (2022) and a European Master’s degree in System Dynamics (2014). He has been working as a full-time SD modeler and researcher for the past 3.5 years. Eduard has provided SD modeling capacity for various projects, including a project on urban stormwater management in Oslo and a 5-country EU-funded project on adolescent overweight and obesity. His contributions have provided insights into complex issues related to these projects.

Georg Pallaske is a System Dynamics expert and project manager with a passion for sustainability. He works at KnowlEdge Srl., where he develops customized analyses to support government decision-making. Georg is also pursuing a PhD at the University of Bergen, focusing on integrated sustainable development policies. As a project manager, he works closely with clients from inception to the presentation of results.

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Engaging Younger Audiences in Climate Change Education

This webinar focused on engaging younger audiences in climate change education using the analogy of a bathtub. Linda Booth Sweeney, a systems educator, and author shared innovative ways to educate children about climate change and provided age-appropriate and impactful learning experiences.

We started with a poll that asked attendees about their concern over rising climate anxiety among youth, and where they would start when a young person asks why we have climate change. The poll results showed that most attendees were either extremely or somewhat concerned about rising climate anxiety among youth, and would start with emissions or our human impact on the environment when explaining why we have climate change.

Linda Booth Sweeney introduced the Think Like a Bathtub video created for the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow to explain the basics of climate change dynamics. Attendees also got to learn about an interactive, augmented reality Think Like a Batjtub app, designed as a hands-on educational tool to demonstrate understanding.

To further engage younger audiences, Linda Booth Sweeney shared experiential games from her book, The Climate Change Playbook. Attendees were also provided with climate bathtub-related resources and journal articles to further educate themselves and their students.

This webinar provided educators, parents, researchers, and concerned citizens with the tools and resources to engage younger audiences in climate change education. The analogy of a bathtub proved to be an effective way to help children understand the complexities of climate change and inspire action. With Linda Booth Sweeney’s expertise in systems education and her passion for writing children’s books, we can look forward to more innovative and impactful learning experiences in the future.

For a TLAB talk or webinar run for your group, contact Linda (linda@lindaboothsweeney.net).

Watch the recording below

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About the Speaker

Linda Booth Sweeney is a learning expert who specializes in complex systems. In her System Leadership Labs, Linda works to give leaders space to think differently, and to experiment with language, visuals, tools, and knowledge architecture that better mirrors the complexity they are navigating. Linda co-founded Toggle Labs, a metaverse education studio, in 2018 to offer people of all ages immersive, learn/do opportunities to work with complex systems and co-create healthier futures. She is co-author of The Systems Thinking Playbook, The Climate Change Playbook, and numerous other books and journal articles. Linda also has a passion for writing children’s books. Her next book, Apart Together, is a child’s first book of system thinking and will be published by Balzer & Bray in September 2023. For more on Linda’s work, see on systems visit lindaboothsweeney.net, and lindaboothsweeney.com for her work on children’s education.

Resources

1. THREE-MINUTE VIDEO: Youth-narrated Video. Explains fundamentals. Start here!

2. AUGMENTED REALITY APP (pilot): Fun, interactive AR app to engage students (ages 8 and up) in 1 of 4 key shapes of climate change — a bathtub. Students engage in thought experiments around our current rates of global warming pollution, then demonstrate their understanding with peers and adults. How to use the app video for educators here.

3. BOOK: The Climate Change Playbook.

4. EXPERIMENTAL GROUP GAME: A group game suitable for ages 8-88, and groups of up to 25. Download a free PDF of the Bathtub game instructions here

5. RESEARCH: See TLAB Pinterest page with related resources and journal articles

7. STAY IN THE LOOP: Sign up here to receive updates on TLAB and other Linda news.

8. SUPPORT: Interested in supporting this initiative? Please donate here.

CONTACTS

Dr. Linda Booth Sweeney
linda@lindaboothsweeney.net

togglelab.com (metaverse education)
lindaboothsweeney.net (systems thinking)
lindaboothsweeney.com (children’s books)

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The Role of Creativity in System Dynamics and Systems Thinking

A thought-provoking discussion led by internationally renowned expert Dennis Sherwood, as we explore the concept of creativity in System Dynamics and Systems Thinking. Delve into questions such as what precisely creativity is, how it differs from related concepts, and whether it’s just a natural attribute or a skill that can be learned, practiced, and enriched.

In this webinar, we gained a deeper understanding of the role of creativity in System Dynamics and systems thinking and learned about:

  • The differences between creativity and related concepts such as discovery, invention, innovation, entrepreneurship, and design thinking
  • Whether creativity can be developed and enriched as a skill
  • The concept of “goodness” in ideas and how it relates to creativity
  • The potential impact of AI on human creativity
  • Valuable insights into the role of creativity in your projects.

Watch the recording below

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About the Speaker

Dennis Sherwood has been running his own UK-based consultancy, The Silver Bullet Machine Manufacturing Company Limited, for the last 20 years, specializing in all aspects of organizational innovation and creativity, including applying systems thinking and System Dynamics modeling whenever the opportunity arises! Dennis first became aware of the systems perspective when a consulting partner at Deloitte, and had the great benefit of being a student of John Morecroft at London Business School. Subsequently, Dennis was an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs and Managing Director of the UK operations of SRI (Stanford Research Institute) Consulting. Dennis has written many journal articles and blogs, and is the author of 15 books, including Seeing the Forest for the Trees – A manager’s guide to applying systems thinking (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2002), Smart Things to Know about Innovation and Creativity (Capstone Publishing, 2001), How to be Creative – A practical guide for the Mathematical Sciences, co-authored with Professor Nicholas Higham FRS FREng (SIAM, 2022), Creativity for Scientists and Engineers (UK Institute of Physics, 2022) and Strategic Thinking Illustrated – Strategy made visual using systems thinking (Taylor and Francis/Routledge, 2022).

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11th South Africa Chapter Conference

 The South Africa System Dynamics Chapter (SASDC) is hosting our hybrid 11th annual South African System Dynamics Conference to create a networking platform where researchers can present novel work which contributes to systems thinking, System Dynamics (theory, methodology or empirics), systems engineering, and operations research.

Extended abstracts should contribute to the conference theme of “Unifying Systems through Collaboration”. Topics may tackle the following subjects:

  • Health Dynamics
  • Sustainability
  • Education
  • Sociology and Psychology
  • Economics
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Technology
  • Policy and Governance
  • Transport
  • Hydrogen Economy
  • Circular
  • Economy

Attendee Registration: systemdynamics.org.za/11th-asdc-registration/

Presenter Registration: systemdynamics.org.za/11th-asdc-submission/

Full Paper template 

 DATE

DEADLINE

15-March

Call for submissions (short papers/ work-in-progress/ case studies)

25-Aug

Short paper / work-in-progress/ case study submission deadline

28-Sep

Notice of submission decision to authors

06-Oct

Author registration deadline

20-Oct

Preliminary program

31-Oct

Attendee registration closes

10-Nov

Final program & conference details

16-17 Nov

11th South African System Dynamics Conference

PRICING

 Category

Early Bird Registration 

Regular Registration

SASDC Members 

R250

R300

Non-SASDC Members 

R350

R400

SASDC Student Members 

R150

R200

Non-SASDC Student 

R200

R250

Virtual

R150

R175

Venue:

Eskom Research & Innovation Centre, Rosherville, Johannesburg, South Africa

Questions?

Contact: Nalini Pillay – Pillayna@Eskom.co.za

Celebrating Women’s International Day

Over the past several decades, more women have become part of the System Dynamics field, greatly increasing gender diversity in our discipline. We have many amazing, inspiring, brilliant, and visionary female leaders. Today we highlight women in the field who have published books related to System Dynamics and systems thinking, although this list is not exhaustive.

Sustainability | Environment

Systems Thinking

Pre-College Education | Children’s Books | Teacher’s Manuals

Applied System Dynamics and Systems Thinking | Methodology | Organizational Change

Historical

  • Deborah Andersen and David Andersen: Theories of Decision Making: An Annotated Bibliography.
  • MIT Artificial Intelligence Group: John McCarthy, Robert Brayton, Daniel Edwards, Phyllis Fox, Louis Hodes, David Luckham, Klim Maling, David Park, Stephen Russel: LISP I: Programmer’s Manual
    • In 1959, Phyllis Fox and Alexander Pugh wrote the first version of DYNAMO (DYNAmic MOdels) and the system dynamics language that became the industry standard for over thirty years).

Use the button below If you’d like to add an author and/or book to our bibliography:

Donella Meadows

“We, humans, are smart enough to have created complex systems and amazing productivity; surely we are also smart enough to make sure that everyone shares our bounty, and surely we are smart enough to sustainably steward the natural world upon which we all depend.”

Donella (Dana) Meadows was an inspiring leader, scholar, writer, teacher, a Pew Scholar in Conservation and Environment, and a MacArthur Fellow, and was one of the most influential environmental thinkers of the twentieth century. After receiving a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard, she joined a team at MIT applying the relatively new tools of System Dynamics to global problems. While Donella Meadows researched and wrote about global problems, she herself also practiced local solutions, a living personification of Rene Dubos’ famous expression, “Think Globally, Act Locally.”

Donella’s ideas, insights, teachings, environmental leadership, and belief in the capacity of humans to create a sustainable world continue to inspire and motivate us today.

Visit the Donella Meadows Project by the Academy for Systems Change to learn more about Dana’s life and work.

Donella Meadows wrote and co-authored several books, including the following: 

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Thinking in Systems A Primer
Beyond the Limits by Donella Meadows. Sustainability and climate change.

Planning and Managing Performance Improvement Programs

See also a more extensive article based on this post, and watch the recording below on the topic.

Organizations of all sizes and types undertake programs of effort to improve their performance, whether it’s in the areas of health and safety, net-zero efforts, or digital transformation. But sustaining momentum for such efforts is tough, and many fail completely.

It turns out that such programs share a common structure, which can be used to assess how the program may progress, how benefits may grow over time, and the cost and effort of achieving them (figure 1).

Performance-improvement programs generally aim to eliminate or mitigate some problematic outcomes such as staff injuries, the loss of critical data, excessive energy use, and inefficient business processes. Those problematic outcomes are caused by previously unidentified problem drivers – hazards in business facilities, data vulnerabilities, inefficient or under-controlled energy-using assets, and inefficient business processes.

So the basic aim is to eliminate or mitigate those problem drivers. This essentially consists of two overlapping efforts [1] to find and quantify those problem drivers, then [2] to eliminate or mitigate those problem drivers that are found.

As benefits start to become apparent, two self-reinforcing mechanisms (R) kick in. First, the staff becomes engaged in its success and adds – often greatly – to the discovery of those unknown opportunities. This boosts leaders’ confidence, so financial savings from the program can be recycled to speed up the rate at which benefits are realized.

In due course, we run out of unknown opportunities to find, and the cost-benefit of remaining opportunities declines – two balancing mechanisms (B) that ultimately limit the benefits that can be gained.

Figure 1 – The overall structure of the system that underlies improvement programs.

 

Reviewing real-world cases revealed how the principles above actually work in practice. One example concerned a 2-year effort on energy-saving by a large ready-meals producer operating several facilities.

 Management appointed an energy manager, who soon brought monthly reports to the executive team, itemizing savings opportunities and specifying their impact, cost, and implementation steps. Those opportunities brought further benefits, such as lower maintenance costs and production downtime. The visible benefits led to staff adopting energy-saving behavior and finding still more opportunities. In under 2 years, the program saved 40% of the organization’s energy use – with no significant capital investment. Future investment will drive down energy use still further.

 The structure in figure 1 can be quantified and modeled,  then used to manage the program over time (A demonstration model is available at sdl.re/EnergySaving1, and a simple guide for its software is at sdcourses.com/silico-guide).

Background

The figure 1 framework and the working models that prove its value emerged from work for the British Standards Institution (BSI). BSI publishes internationally-recognized “ISO” management standards on a very wide range of topics. BSI commissioned a series of “serious games” to show the key choices and impact of adopting Standards – explore the first few games here, all built on working models of figure 1. BSI also wanted a game to encourage small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), to drive down greenhouse gas emissions. See The NetZero Challenge.

Figure 2 –The results screen of the NetZero Challenge game

Watch the recording below

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About the Speaker

Kim Warren is an experienced strategy professional, teacher, and publisher of online courses and teaching resources on business modeling – fast becoming a mainstream capability for executives, consultants, and business students. He was awarded the Jay Wright Forrester Award by the International System Dynamics Society in 2005 and was the Society’s President in 2013.

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How To Review for ISDC 2023

Reviews provide valuable feedback for authors, offering new perspectives and posing insightful questions to help them improve their work. They can inspire authors to think more deeply about their research, while also exposing reviewers to new ideas and honing their critical evaluation skills. Helpful reviews can also motivate newcomers to the field and foster a sense of belonging within the System Dynamics community. Through the use of reviews, the program committee is able to thoughtfully place work within the broader conference program, allowing for authors to engage with their peers and build a sense of community among those working on similar topics. Conference attendees can then benefit from attending more cohesive and engaging sessions, ultimately leading to a more productive and fulfilling conference experience.

Do you want to become a conference reviewer or improve your reviews? Here are ten tips to write a great review.

Ten Reviewing Tips

1. Don’t be intimidated by the review process. It’s a terrific experience that can help you develop your own critical evaluation skills and expand your knowledge of the field.

2. Start early and don’t rush through the work. Take your time to read and evaluate the paper thoroughly so you can provide constructive feedback to the author.

3. Remember that reviews are not about accepting or rejecting work; they’re about providing feedback and suggestions to help the author improve their work.

4. Be courteous and respectful in your review. Start with a positive comment, summarize the paper, and offer constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. If you have a different view of the paper, explain your perspective in a respectful way and provide additional resources that might be helpful to the author.

5. If you find yourself struggling to understand a section of the work, don’t assume it’s your fault. Ask the author to clarify the section or explain it in simpler terms for a broader audience.

6. When evaluating the work, pay attention to the assumptions, feedback structure, and parameter values. If it’s not clear how structure relates to behavior, ask the author for more clarification.

7. If your strength lies in theory or practice rather than modeling, your unique perspective will be a great contribution to the author. Consider adding notes to the program chairs to let them know what your strengths are.

8. Make sure you’re familiar with what was asked of the authors in the submission instructions. This will help you evaluate the paper more effectively.

9. Avoid providing unhelpful feedback in your review. Don’t simply summarize the paper without offering any suggestions for improvement. Don’t attack or threaten the author, and don’t be rude or condescending. Systems thinking based papers should be treated as complete papers and not regarded as lesser work for lack of simulation. Slamming the door on the author is not productive; if the paper is not a good fit for the current conference, the author can improve for next year’s conference.

10. Can you volunteer to review a paper if you’ve submitted one of your own? Absolutely! You will not receive your own paper to review. Further, the review process is blind, so you won’t know any author’s identity.

For other conference review questions, contact the conference team.

Student-Organized-Colloquium (SOC) reviews are processed separately. To review for SOC, sign up here.

Watch the recording below

About the Speakers

Allyson Beall King, John Pastor Ansah and Saras Chung are ISDC 2023 Program Chairs.

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Student-Organized Colloquium 2023

The Student-Organized Colloquium is a free, two-day online (Wed, July 19th) and hybrid event (Sun, July 23rd) organized by the Student Chapter of the System Dynamics Society held before and on the first day of the International System Dynamics Conference (ISDC). The Student-Organized Colloquium promotes dialogue among system dynamicists of varying fields, levels of training and backgrounds and creates spaces to have meaningful conversations about the topics that we all care about so that everyone can share and receive feedback to improve their work.

The format of the event consists mainly of breakout sessions in which doctoral, masters and undergraduate students, as well as practitioners, professionals and academics in any field who are new to System Dynamics (less experienced, mentees, juniors) can discuss their ideas and concerns, and get mentored by more experienced system dynamicists (mentors, seniors).

For more information, please visit the Student-Organized Colloquium Webpage.

Starting January 24th, you will be able to submit your papers.

Please join us when (and where) you are able!

*Participants who require a visa to enter the United States need to register for an in-person ticket to ISDC 2023.*

2023 International System Dynamics Conference

The International System Dynamics Conference is an annual event where people from all over the world interested in the practice of System Dynamics and systems thinking gather. Now in its 41st year, the Conference appeals to audiences across industry and academia. These conferences introduce newcomers to the field, keep practitioners aware of current developments, and provide unparalleled networking opportunities. Participants come from businesses, universities, K-12 education, not-for-profits, government, consulting, the healthcare sector, and beyond. The ISDC2023 will be a hybrid event, with virtual access for all attendees and opportunities for authors to present work virtually or in Chicago.

LIVE tickets include:

  • Access to the full program in Chicago, including all workshops;
  • Light refreshments;
  • Banquet;
  • Access to all recordings until September 30, 2023.

ONLINE tickets include:

  • Access to the full program, including plenaries, parallel sessions, virtual workshops, and roundtables.
  • Access to all recordings until September 30, 2023.

If you’re bringing one or more guests to the ISDC2023 banquet on July 24 in Chicago, please register them by purchasing the ticket “BRING A GUEST” above.

Theme

The 2023 Conference theme is “Adapting in the Face of Change”. The disruptions caused by the global pandemic, climate change, social and racial inequities, nationalist politics, and a rapidly urbanizing population leave us facing a future that calls for adaptation and intervention in complex systems.

Location

The 2023 Conference It will take place at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, a beautiful and historical venue at the heart of downtown Chicago.

 

 

Frequently Asked questions (faq’s)

What is your refund policy?

Registration may be changed from in-person to online without penalty until May 30, 2023. A partial refund will be given for the difference between the price paid and the price of the online conference. After May 30, 2023, no refund will be given.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes. Scholarships are available for waiving conference registration fees. We do not provide financial support for travel or accommodation. They are given based on a statement of financial need and a review of written work and are not limited to students. Learn More

Can I buy a ticket for one day only?

No. Single-day tickets are not available. The registration includes access to the full program of the conference.

Where is my member discount?

If you’re logged in, you should see the discounted prices for members. If you’re not seeing the member price, contact us using the chat function in the bottom right of the screen.  Please be sure to include your name and login email address so we can better assist you.

Does the LIVE ticket include food?

It includes a banquet with a buffet-style setup that includes gluten-free options. However, it’s important to note that only drinks will be served during breaks.

Do you offer bulk ticket purchase discounts?

No. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer bulk discounts at the moment.

Can I upgrade my registration?

Yes. You can upgrade your virtual ticket to a live ticket at any time by paying the difference. Upgrade here.

Do I need to bring a printed ticket to the venue?

No. We will be able to check you in with your full name. 

Do you offer discounts for presenters?

No. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer discounts for presenters.

Where should I stay?

We recommend the conference venue, the Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Attendees receive a special discount. Book Now.  Save even more and enjoy the historic hotel venue by requesting a roommate.

10th South Africa Chapter Conference

To celebrate reaching a decade milestone of our system dynamics conference in South Africa – started by Eskom in 2012 – we will offer FREE REGISTRATION for this conference only!

Theme: “Transforming our World of  Systems”

16-18 November 2022

The South Africa System Dynamics Chapter (SASDC) is hosting our virtual 10th annual South African System Dynamics Conference is to create a networking platform for researchers to present novel work that contributes to data analytics, systems thinking, system dynamics (theory, methodology, or empirics), systems engineering and operations research. Abstracts and full papers should contribute to the conference theme of Transforming our World of Systems.

Topics may tackle the following subjects:

Health Dynamics/ Sustainability / Education/ Sociology and Psychology/ Finance & Economics/ Natural Resource Management/ Technology/  Policy and Governance/ Transport/ Hydrogen Economy/ Circular Economy.

Please note that approved abstracts can take one of the following forms:

  1. Full paper and presentation
  2. Presentation only (paper will not be published in the Conference Proceedings)
  3. Working paper for inclusion in a discussion forum (no presentation required or inclusion in the Conference Proceedings)
  4. Case studies to be presented and discussed in a workshop format

Registration and abstract submission: https://systemdynamics.org.za/10-sasdc-reg-form/

 DATE

DEADLINE

15-Feb

Call for Abstracts

05-May

Abstract submission deadline

26-May

Notice of Abstract submission decision to authors

26-Aug

Full paper submission deadline

28-Sep

Notice of full paper submission decision to authors

09-Oct

Author registration deadline

14-Oct

Preliminary program

31-Oct

Attendee registration closes

10-Nov

Final program & conference details

16-18 Nov

10th Annual South African System Dynamics