Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages

Go Home

Multisolving: Working With Complexity and Interconnection

August, 31 at 11 am New York | 4 pm London | 11 pm Beijing (check your local time) Climate change. Biodiversity loss. Racial, gender, and economic inequity. Global pandemic and other health crises. Each of these challenges is serious on its own, but they also interact. Inaction on one crisis can erode gains in another, as when climate impacts threaten gains in health, well-being, or development. And sometimes an apparent solution to one crisis can worsen others, as when environmental protections were loosened in some countries to try to counteract pandemic-related economic slowdowns. But the same interconnections that lead to cascading crises also open up the possibility of synergistic solutions. Multisolving focuses on these possibilities – instances where the same intervention can yield multiple benefits. This one-hour webinar will share bright spots of multisolving from around the world. We’ll also explore the obstacles to multisolving, and how systems thinking and systems tools can help people overcome these obstacles. The webinar will also introduce the Multisolving Institute, which was launched earlier this year, and may be familiar to some members of the System Dynamics Society from its roots in the Multisolving Program at Climate Interactive.

About the Speaker

Elizabeth Sawin is the Founder and Director of the Multisolving Institute. Beth is an expert on solutions that address climate change while also improving health, well-being, equity, and economic vitality. She developed the idea of ‘multisolving’ to help people see and create the conditions for such win-win-win solutions. Beth writes and speaks about multisolving, climate change, and leadership in complex systems for both national and international audiences. Her work has been published widely, including in Non-Profit Quarterly, The Stanford Social Innovation Review, U. S. News, The Daily Climate, and System Dynamics Review. She has trained and mentored global sustainability leaders in the Donella Meadows Fellows Program and provided systems thinking training to both Ashoka and Dalai Lama Fellows. Since 2014, Beth has participated in the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, a continuing dialogue on issues of climate change and sustainability among a select group of humanities scholars, writers, artists, and climate scientists. Beth is also a member of the advisory board of the Kresge Foundation’s Climate Change Health and Equity Program. A biologist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Beth co-founded Climate Interactive in 2010 and served as Climate Interactive’s Co-Director from 2010 until 2021. While at Climate Interactive, she led the scientific team that offered the first assessment of the sufficiency of country pledges to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2008. Beth also led Climate Interactive’s efforts to integrate measures of equity, health, and well-being into decision support tools and computer simulations. Beth trained in system dynamics and sustainability with Donella Meadows and worked at Sustainability Institute, the research institute founded by Meadows, for 13 years. She has two adult daughters and lives in rural Vermont where she and her husband grow as much of their own food as they can manage.

Using System Dynamics to Teach and Learn about COVID 19

This Webinar is free due to the generous contribution of the University at Albany and California State University, Chico


The COVID Pandemic constituted a dynamic and complex problem challenging leaders and managers to design policies facing difficult questions such as:

  • Do we still need to wear masks?
  • Should the government mandate wearing masks?
  • What happens if everyone does (or does not) get vaccinated?
  • When will the next surge happen?
  • How do we know if the pandemic is over?

Systems thinking and simulation provide tools and methods to explore these important questions with a variety of audiences. Learn how a team of experts is using System Dynamics to help different audiences to answer these questions:

  • Using a case-based System Dynamics simulation to explore policy choices in an undergraduate public policy capstone course.
  • Using a set of self-paced learning modules to build a simulation model from the ground up.

Ali N. Mashayekhi is a retired professor of management from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran where he taught System Dynamics and strategic management. He received his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University and his Ph.D. in System Dynamics from MIT in Cambridge Massachusetts.

Babak Bahaddin works as an associate consultant at isee systems. Babak holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Sharif University of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Information Science, from the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Daniel Gordon trained in System Dynamics at Rockefeller College, the State University of New York at Albany. He is retired from the New York State Health Department, where he spent 34 years working in health care policy analysis and HIV epidemiology.

David Andersen is Professor Emeritus in Public Administration and Information Science at the University at Albany – SUNY. He is a former President and Vice President for Finance for the System Dynamics Society as well as a winner of the Forrester Award.

Hyunjung Kim is a professor of management at California State University, Chico. She teaches strategy and management courses using system dynamics. She received her Ph.D. in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany.

Luis Felipe Luna-Reyesis a Professor of Public Administration and Policy at the University at Albany and a National Academy of Public Administration Fellow. His research is at the intersection of Public Administration, Information Systems, and Systems Sciences.

New Horizons of Systems Science


Systems theory is developing to include new perspectives with a focus on integrated and inclusive transdisciplinary system approaches. This panel will discuss new advances in systems science including critical systems thinking, social/socio-technical systems, complex systems, which come together in the systems engineering principles. We will also discuss where Systems Dynamics fits into this picture as well as other types of systems models.

Erika Palmer is a Senior Lecturer in the Cornell Systems Engineering Program. She is the founder and chair of the Social Systems Working Group (SocWG) at the International Council for Systems Engineering (INCOSE); the Americas lead for Empowering Women Leaders in Systems Engineering (EWLSE) at INCOSE and represents Cornell on INCOSE’s Academic Council.

Michael D. Watson is the chair of the INCOSE Complex Systems Working Group and chair of the Systems Engineering Principles Action Team. He is the Technical Advisor in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Advanced Concepts Office. He graduated with a BSEE from the University of Kentucky in 1987 and obtained his MSE in Electrical and Computer Engineering (1996) and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (2005) from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Javier Calvo-Amodio is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at Oregon State University; Chair of the Systems Science Working Group at INCOSE and Deputy Editor of Systems Research and Behavioral Science Journal. His research focus is on developing a fundamental understanding of how to integrate systems science into industrial and systems engineering research and practice to enable better engineering purposeful human activity systems.

The Food Packaging Problem: A Food System Problem, not a Packaging Problem

7 pm New York | 12 am London | 9 am (April 07) Sydney (check your local time)

The reliance on packaging in food systems is a global challenge.

The increased use of food packaging is causing several negative environmental impacts, such as ocean pollution, freshwater, and land contamination. Improved waste management and recycling schemes remain the main response to this challenge. Whilst useful, current efforts overlook the importance of a systemic understanding of the problem. Current interventions fail because they tackle the symptoms of the problem and not the drivers.

This webinar explores from a system perspective the role that food packaging plays in modern society. The growth-driven globalized food economy and time-deprived society are responsible for the dependence on food packaging. The presentation sheds light on the mental models driving the system and leverage points able to reduce modern food packaging addiction.

About the Speaker

Sabrina Chakori holds a BSc. in Biology (University of Geneva), an MSc. in Environmental Economics (The University of Queensland), and she is currently finishing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. research that explores food packaging reduction in food systems. Sabrina is a passionate systems modeler (systems thinking, System Dynamics, network analysis). She believes that systems approaches are crucial to understanding and tackling current socio-ecological wicked problems.

For more than a decade, Sabrina has been advocating for a more sustainable society, leading numerous collaborations in various countries across Europe, Kenya, Ecuador, Mexico, and Australia, including an initiative with Queensland’s Environment Minister to introduce the law banning single-use plastic bags. Sabrina is convinced that to solve the interlinked social and ecological crisis we need to change the roots of our economy, shifting away from the growth-driven system. To translate into practice her knowledge and vision, in 2017, she founded the Brisbane Tool Library, a social enterprise that encourages people to borrow tools, camping gear, and other equipment. This community-driven circular economy model reduces productivism and consumerism. The Brisbane Tool Library is Australia’s first and only ‘library of things’ to be located within a public library – State Library of Queensland.

Sabrina is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and, in 2021, she has been selected as Post Growth Institute fellow. Winner of the 2020 Create Change: 7 News Young Achiever Award (QLD) and recipient of the Emerging Female Leader bursary from the National Council of Women of Queensland (2020), Sabrina is a multi-award social entrepreneur, researcher, educator, and most of all activist. Sabrina is fully invested in creating systemic change that would build a more socially just and ecologically sustainable post-growth society.

The Dark Side of Projects: Delays, Disruption, and Disputes

This webinar is free due to the generous contribution of Cooper Associates

The Dark Side of Projects: Delays, Disruption, and Disputes.

Using System Dynamics modeling to resolve high-stakes legal cases

The original author of the project Rework Cycle model and a pioneer of its application to high-stakes legal disputes will present materials and lessons drawn from dozens of successful dispute cases. “The Dark Side of Projects” examines the phenomena of project cost overruns, contractor-customer disputes, and “disruption”, the most contentious (and often largest) part of those disputes.

The “disruption” impacts that dominate so many contract disputes historically have been notoriously difficult to quantify and present persuasively to fact-finders (courts, boards, arbitrators). This in turn leads to significant under-recovery of the real damages. In the course of leading large dispute cases worth billions of dollars, the presenter has seen more equitable resolutions secured, with financial benefits to clients that have been quite large relative to the cost.

For modelers, we introduce the basics of conducting System Dynamics based analyses for project dispute resolution; this is one of the most commercially successful areas of practice for modelers. For business (company and project) leaders who have been (or might yet become) involved in a dispute over project cost responsibility—as well as the attorneys who advise them—we introduce how to employ model-based analyses to more effectively analyze, explain, and recover disruption cost impacts.

About the Presenter

Ken Cooper led the largest consulting practice focused on system dynamics for over twenty years and founded two more companies applying System Dynamics. He has won several best-in-world awards, such as the System Dynamics Society’s Applications Award, and was named an Edelman Laureate (twice) for his work in dispute resolution; The Franz Edelman Award (from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science) recognizes the best practice from among all forms of management science in the world. The first Edelman Laureate awarded Ken’s work on the seminal “Ingalls Shipbuilding case”, the first application of System Dynamics to a major project, and the first System Dynamics use for a large project dispute. This was the first of many successful SD-based dispute analyses Ken has led for executives of major defense and commercial contractors.

Cooper has led hundreds of applications of system dynamics modeling and led the renowned commercial system dynamics consulting practice at MIT spinoff Pugh-Roberts Associates for over 20 years. In 2011 Ken became the only two-time Edelman Laureate for his work, which began with his pioneering work in project modeling and dispute resolution and continued over four decades. The Franz Edelman Award from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) recognizes the best and highest-impact applications of all management science in the world. In 2009 the System Dynamics Society also unanimously selected his work for their Applications Award, recognizing the impact of his successful project modeling at Fluor Corporation with this global award for best application of system dynamics.

Ken was President of Pugh-Roberts Associates, then the largest consulting firm in the field, and Managing Partner of PA Consulting. There he pioneered the use of system dynamics in large-scale project management, and in particular the resolution of very large contractual disputes.  Ken has led the modeling of hundreds of projects and programs, including dozens of naval ships in the US and UK, the B2 stealth bomber, the F18 E/F fighter, the AMRAAM missile, the Peace Shield air defense system, the Cross-Channel Tunnel, power plants, refineries, and many other mega-projects. In all, Ken has led the modeling of over one-quarter trillion dollars of projects and programs.

Ken also has led major consulting assignments to solve high-stakes problems and guide corporate strategy for senior clients in several industries, including aerospace, automobiles, banking, bioscience, construction, shipbuilding, and telecommunications. His clients have included executives at MasterCard, Raytheon, Boeing, Fluor Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Ford Motor Company, IBM, and many others.

Ken’s work on business applications of system dynamics has been published extensively and recognized with numerous global awards. Ken was named by the System Dynamics Society as their first Vice President, Professional Practice. He is now semi-retired, working on select consulting cases.

Ken graduated from MIT, where he studied System Dynamics and received his Master’s degree from Boston University.

How to Publish in The System Dynamics Review: The Society Journal

In this webinar, we’ll have an overview of the System Dynamics Review – the academic and scientific journal of our community. You’ll learn about its growing positive performance and impact. We’ll review the process of submitting, revising, and eventually publishing your manuscripts in the Journal, including some tips on what works and what doesn’t work. There should be ample time at the end of the seminar to answer the questions of the participants.

Andreas Größler is a full professor at the Operations Management Department at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, teaching in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Andreas is the Executive Editor of the System Dynamics Review and holds several other leading positions in academic associations, including in the European Operations Management Association, the System Dynamics Society, and the Society for Business and Social Cybernetics. His research focuses on operations strategy, behavioral operations management, and System Dynamics.

Top 10 Tips to Engage People with a System Dynamics Model

Top 10 Tips to Engage People with a System Dynamics Model

Andrew P. Jones is Co-Founder and Co-Director of Climate Interactive and a Research Affiliate at MIT Sloan. Andrew is an expert on climate change and energy issues, a prominent System Dynamics modeler, and a keynote speaker.

In his webinar with System Dynamics Society, Jones presented his 10+1 tips to engage people with a System Dynamics model. Here’s a summary of the tips, but you can watch the recording below for all details!

All Seminar Series are free for members of the Society. Join us today and unlock all benefits!

1. Make it a challenging adventure on their terms in your virtual world
Make your model playful to entice curiosity about what it tests. This is a virtual world where people will experience something new. The challenging adventure or game is what we do mostly with the interface of the model. If you open the En-ROADS interface, you will see two main graphs, the main output, and several sliders. When playing with the sliders, your changes will be reflected in the graphs. Avoid telling people: “I’m going to show you how to do this”, instead, try saying: “On your terms, you’re going to have to figure out how to get that graph down to your target line”

“We do NOT model systems. We model problems.

2. Focus on mental models you want to improve
We do NOT model systems. We model problems. In System Dynamics, we define a problem as a behavior over time, a reference mode that we’re curious about why does it behave like that. We’re so curious about the problem that we develop a simulation to understand it. We build interfaces to improve the mental models of the stakeholders or clients. System Dynamics modelers know that mostly the mental models of decision-makers don’t match with the real world and how the actual system behaves. We don’t build interfaces to give access to policy levers in the system, but we are trying to leverage the necessary mental model improvements.

3. Make participants mentally simulate before running a scenario
If people don’t have a theory, they don’t notice the mental model they use to forecast what’s going to happen. Then they don’t get to learn and improve their understanding. Therefore, you must encourage people to anticipate, based on their own theories, what’s going to happen when running a scenario. No theory, no learning.” (Edward Deming)

“Tell people what to look at, let them guess what they are going to see, and then make it exciting like a movie”

4. Create a dynamic visual experience
Humans like to see change and it is important to employ this fact to get people to run and look at your graphs without losing their focus. Make people think and anticipate and then direct their eyes to what you want them to notice. If you do this well, you don’t even need to draw a Causal Loop Diagram because they are drawing it in their heads. Tell people what to look at, let them guess what they are going to see, and then make it exciting like a movie.

5. Set up participants to talk with each other
People learn socially and with hot-button issues like climate change, they need to know that their friends are not going to hate them if they change their minds. You need people to be processing the information collectively and socially with others. When presenting your model, stop frequently and advise: “Turn to the person next to you and discuss what you think of that conclusion”.

“Keep the discussion on improving system performance not on the tool you’re using”

6. Know along the way that you are playing at least seven roles

Try to present your model with the help of, at least, another person. Ideally, you need someone to facilitate the discussion while another runs the model. As a facilitator, you will be playing four roles including:

Coach – Helping participants to extract insights out of the model.
Professor – Teaching the audience theories and sharing factual information
Playwright – Creating an emotional journey of ups and downs.
Fellow Traveler – Being authentic, vulnerable, and just another person trying to solve a complex problem. If it is worth making a model about, it’s very important. If it is very important, you must deeply care about it.

You want the conversation to be around how to solve a complex problem together and what your audience is going to do about it. Keep the discussion on improving system performance not on “oh that’s a cool model how did you make that”. That’s all side information.

You want to minimize your roles in:
Tech – you must keep the conversation on improving the system performance, not the way or tool you have used to develop the model or create the graphs
Advocate – when people disagree with you, your job is not to fight them or disagree with them back, but to set up others to find the voice of your work.
Defender – Don’t get involved in the fight of “YOU HAVE A BAD MODEL!”. Avoid this fight as much as you can.

Read the article “Teamwork in Group Model Building” on the System Dynamics Review for more insights on strategies for efficient and effective model building in groups.

7. Build confidence and share testing as needed

You can share your tests and comparisons to other models and/or predictions to build stronger confidence. For instance, Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan built the En-ROADS with the best science available, using the data sources such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and International Energy Agency. All the assumptions are available open-source in the 400-page reference guide. Many of the assumptions that someone might not believe in are changeable within the model. Several models do not have good literature of other scenarios to compare against, while En-ROADS can be compared with six integrated assessment models to build confidence.

8. Use loops and stock/flow diagrams only to illuminate
As you help people improve their intuition, sometimes you need to use loops and stock/flow diagrams, especially if you are presenting to a more technical audience but always connect it to the simulator. Avoid showing this to policymakers, they are usually not interested in the loops, instead, tell a story about reinforcing or balancing feedback.

9. Make space for feelings and processing

Deliver your presentation with excitement and intensity, but you need to slam on the brakes and let participants compromise with their feelings and do the necessary processing. You may create a scenario of success, and they get to create their vision, something that they would love to see. And it’s time to slam on the brakes and may invite them to 60 seconds of silence. Yes! It is weird but imagine 60 seconds of silence of people sitting with a scenario of success.

“Create the conditions where people are open to changing their minds”

10. Pay attention to three legs of the learning stool
Reflective Conversation – Create the conditions where people are open to changing their minds, surfacing and testing assumptions, and talking to their peers about improving their assumptions. You’ve got to make the space where people are open to being wrong and thinking differently.

Vision – Help people see a future that they fall in love with they just want it so badly that they see the gap between the vision they want and the reality that they feel and experience that tension in between. Orient towards what one genuinely cares about.

Systems Thinking – Explaining how a complex system works where time, cause, and effect are distant in time and space can be difficult, especially when you include stocks, flows, feedback loops, and other inner relationships. You can learn how to facilitate a training that uses systems thinking and System Dynamics for free with Climate Interactive learning resources

10 + 1. Give them the simulator

People need your help as a facilitator, but you must give them something to play with that naturally gives them the mental model improvements that you want and guides them towards committing themselves to action to improve system performance. As Buckminster Fuller states “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”

Watch the recording below

Whoops, this recording is available for members only. If you have a membership, please log in. If not, you can definitely get access! Purchase a membership here. If you're not a member but have purchased a ticket to this webinar, please contact us at

Recent Posts

Economics SIG News: Summer 2022

Economics SIG News: Summer 2022 Summer 2022 Events Tyrone Keynes on “The Impact on National Accounts from NPI’s: Economic Pandemic Model” May 12th, 2022 Noon – 1PM (New York) Demonstrating the effects on the national and regional accounts of...

New Horizons of Systems Science

New Horizons of Systems Science This Seminar was sponsored by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). Systems theory is developing to include new perspectives with a focus on integrated and inclusive transdisciplinary system approaches. This panel...

Upcoming Events

Recent Business cases

General Motors OnStar

Name The General Motors OnStar Project Modelers Vince Barabba, Chet Huber, Fred Cooke, Nick Pudar, Jim Smith, Mark Paich Client General Motors Client Type Corporation The Official Website is the official website in which you can become a member, get...

Pharmaceutical Product Branding Strategies

Pharmaceutical Product Branding Strategies Name Pharmaceutical Product Branding Strategies — Simulating Patient Flow and Portfolio Dynamics Modelers Mark Paich, Corey Peck, Jason Valant Contact Jason Valant or Corey Peck Client Numerous Pharmaceutical Companies Client...

Join us