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Systems Thinking for Pre-College Education

Pre-College SIG Seminar Series consists of periodic online meetings on K-12 education to the Systems Thinking and System Dynamics communities. These virtual activities cover a wide range of topics on K-12 education from many subjects while bringing together academics, teachers, and students together for learning and lively discussion. Our seminars aim to promote and improve skills to effectively apply systems thinking and dynamic computer simulation to K-12 education.  All seminars and recordings are free for both members and the general public.

“A Strategy for Infusing Systems Thinking into K-12 Education”

In this short presentation, two models for infusing Systems Thinking into K-12 Education will be presented. The first model is a simple numerical simulation of infusion of systems thinking into K-12 education in Turkey. Based on this model a generic conceptual model will be introduced. This generic model is expected (actually hoped) to start a discussion on infusing systems thinking in pre-college education in the world. Both of the models show only the physical and institutional structure of the system we are trying to build. They lack the decision rules of the agents. The policies of the models will be presented as a separate layer over these models. Fundamental principles of policy levers are that the ST/SD infusion should: be open, free to teachers and schools, teacher oriented, curriculum adaptable, stock-flow based, with iterative learning. Policy levers will be discussed with examples from Turkey.

Emre Göktepe is a retired Industrial Engineer working for infusion of ST/SD into K-12 education. He is one of the founders of the Systems Thinking Association in Turkey. Beginning in 1988, his knowledge of systems thinking and system dynamics are mostly self-taught.

 “Strategy Implementation for Schools in Turkey”

The System Thinking Association in Turkey has worked to infuse the systems thinking approach into K-12 education since 2014 across different subjects. The strategy developed for infusion is applied by using an iterative approach. In the presentation the systems thinking infusion cycle, as well as lessons learnt from the cycle (which includes teacher training and mentoring, curriculum development and implementation, and experience sharing) will be introduced.


Meltem Ceylan Alibeyoğlu studied mathematics and she became a teacher. After working 5 years as an academic coordinator, she is now working in the same school as the R&D Coordinator for the middle and secondary school. She is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental sciences at Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. She is working in her school to implement a system thinking approach into the middle school curricula via numerical modeling. She is a member of the Systems Thinking Association in Turkey.

“Strategy Implementation for Faculties of Education in Universities in Turkey”

Within the strategic plan of the System Thinking Association – Turkey, one critical part is the inclusion of systems thinking courses in the education teacher training programs of education faculties at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
In this section of the webinar, a systems thinking course designed and implemented for three years in an M.A. program in Learning Sciences will be introduced.

Ülkem Yararbaş, a professor of nuclear medicine, serves on the medical faculty at Ege University. She is one of the founders of the Systems Thinking Association in Turkey. In addition to the elective systems thinking courses she gives to medical school students, she voluntarily supports the activities for the infusion of ST/SD in the education system conducted by System Thinking Association-Turkey.


You can watch the recording here

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.

Phyllis Kwenda presents “Using system dynamics techniques to estimate the material recovery potential and performance of community based household solid waste management scenarios for Harare, Zimbabwe”

In this Collective Learning Meeting (CLM), WPI System Dynamics and the South African Chapter of the System Dynamics Society host Phyllis Kwenda ( who will present

Using system dynamics techniques to estimate the material recovery potential and performance of community based household solid waste management scenarios for Harare, Zimbabwe

Short Description: This presentation is on the development of the household solid waste management network, causal loop diagram and model. I will also address the impact of data availability on the development stage.

Question(s) for the Audience: Are there any other ways I could model the system given the available data and aims of the study?


We will record this session and post it to the System Dynamics Society’s YouTube channel.

Call-in details:

Applied System Dynamics for Students and Beginners


Several guidelines on the System Dynamics modeling process are found in the literature. While these are rigorous, we have experienced challenges in the use of these existing guidelines in practice, especially where implementation based on the modeling results is critical. In this seminar, we will take you through an integrated system dynamics modeling process which is based on the customized process followed by Eskom SOC with specific elements from the Sustainable Development Programme at Stellenbosch University and Dynamic Strategies. We will also cover the do’s and don’ts when it comes to validation and calibration.

Visit the South African Chapter Website


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.

WPI System Dynamics Peer Tutoring Session


In this Collective Learning Meeting (CLM), WPI System Dynamics will host a

Peer Tutoring Session

Peer Tutoring Sessions are open sessions where attendees network and discuss systems and simulation.

Please come to this CLM if you have questions about:

  • Modeling and Analysis
  • Research/Writing/Publishing
  • Etc.

Or if you want to help others who may have questions.

We will not record this session but will take notes and share them. You can view the frequently asked questions (FAQ) and more on our website.

Call-in details:


MIT System Dynamics Seminar | Dynamics of American Firms: Data and a Family of Models

Please visit the MIT System Dynamics Seminars page for more information.

You are invited to attend the System Dynamics Seminar being held this Friday, February 25th from 1:00-2:30 pm ET in the Jay W. Forrester conference room, E62-450, or via Zoom: (Password: SDSpr22). Our guest speaker will be Robert Axtell (George Mason University) presenting Dynamics of American Firms: Data and a Family of Models (see abstract and brief bio below). A reminder will be sent out closer to the date.

Please check here for the latest updates on MIT’s indoor eating and drinking policies:

Abstract: Using data on the population of all American firms having employees over the last 40 years, several dozen gross empirical regularities, uncovered with statistical and machine learning techniques, will be described. These have to do with firm sizes, ages, growth rates, productivities, financial attributes, inter-firm networks, and spatial locations and involve 100s of millions of workers and 10s of millions of firms. A family of models based on a team production specification will be shown to be capable of reproducing many of these patterns. The equilibria and stability of the model are characterized. Computational challenges associated with rending this model at full-scale with the U.S. economy—in any period, 120 million worker agents self-organized into 6 million emergent firms—will be discussed. This talk is based on a forthcoming book.

Rob Axtell is Professor of Computational Social Science at George Mason University, Co-Director of the Computational Public Policy Lab at the Schar School of Policy and Government at Mason, and an affiliate of the Department of Economics there. His research focuses on the application of computational modeling and simulation techniques to economics and finance. He is External Faculty Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and Visiting Researcher at Google. He is currently on sabbatical at MIT Sloan.

Professor Axtell is the author, with Joshua Epstein, of Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up (MIT Press). His research has appeared in Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as in leading field-specific journals such as The American Economic Review, and has been reprised in newspapers (e.g., Wall St. Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post) and science magazines (e.g., Scientific American, Technology Review, Wired). For the past decade he has been using micro-data on individuals to build large-scale models of the Financial Crisis of 2008-9 (with JD Farmer, Oxford, and J Geanakoplos, Yale), the dynamics of business firms (with O Guerrero, Turing Institute), and natural resource exploitation, e.g., fisheries (with UC Santa Barbara, Oxford, and the Ocean Conservancy). The research on companies is described at length in a forthcoming book, Dynamics of Firms from the Bottom Up Data, Theories, and Models, due out later this year, which uses U.S. micro-data on firm sizes, ages, growth rates, networks, and locations to create a model at 1:1 scale with the American economy.


Timothy Clancy on “Enriching our Causal Vocabulary: Expanding the Language of System Dynamics”

Please join us online Friday, February 18th Noon ET (Boston time. Here is a time converter). In this Collective Learning Meeting (CLM), WPI System Dynamics PhD Candidate Timothy Clancy ( will present

Enriching our Causal Vocabulary:
Expanding the Language of System Dynamics

Short Description: In the last 20 years, there has been a heightened interest in the fields of physics, biology, cosmogony, and complex systems science on differentiating types of causation. In this presentation, Timothy introduces many of these terms to practitioners. What is the difference between top-down and bottom-up causation or between coarse-graining and fine-graining causal chains? What are causal classes, ranks, and types? For a field seeking to simulate causal relationships in structure – are we introducing these terms into our work and techniques?

Question(s) for the Audience: This is an early draft CLM presentation for a working draft paper Timothy is working on. Q&A is expected and encouraged around the topic generally and in specific the areas Timothy is asking for help on:

1. Does SD literature currently use or reference these terms?
2. Are there SD modeling techniques to represent these causal mechanisms?
3. Are these techniques incorporated in SD methods for developing hypotheses and assessing theory?


Call-in details:

[Economics SIG] Networking and Discussion Session

Join us online Friday, February 11th Noon – 1PM ET (Boston time. Here is a time converter).

In this Collective Learning Meeting (CLM), the System Dynamics Society’s Economics SIG and WPI System Dynamics will host a

Networking and Discussion Session

Short Description: This session will be an open session where people can break out into groups to network and discuss any topic or stay in the main Zoom room to discuss Economics SIG business and work on creating the Economics SIG webpage and other Economics SIG volunteer opportunities (e.g., webpage, repository, and a Road Maps for economics).

Call-in details:

WPI System Dynamics Peer Tutoring Session


In this Collective Learning Meeting (CLM), WPI System Dynamics will host a

Peer Tutoring Session

Peer Tutoring Sessions are open sessions where attendees network and discuss systems and simulation.

Please come to this CLM if you have questions about:

  • Modeling and Analysis
  • Research/Writing/Publishing
  • Etc.

Or if you want to help others who may have questions.

We will not record this session but will take notes and share them. You can view the frequently asked questions (FAQ) and more on our website.

Call-in details: