System Dynamics


Volume 18 – Number 4             October 2005


From the President

Chapter and SIG News

From the Executive Director

Chapter and Special Interest Group Overview

Society News


Dana Meadows Award Endowment Fund Successfully Reaches Goal


Wiley InterScience Change of Policy


Diversity in the Society Membership


Wiley Sponsored Membership to the System Dynamics Society


Member News


Bob Eberlein Receives Award for Exceptional Service


Kim Warren Wins Forrester Award


Dana Meadows Student Prize Awarded in Boston

Environmental Dynamics SIG

Walid Badr Announces New Business Partnership

Health Policy SIG

Bob Cavana Receives Promotion

Security SIG

Etiënne Rouwette Visiting Scholar in Albany

Announcements and Call for Papers

New PhD's

Latin American Chapter Newsletter

Boston Conference Report

Intro Workshop: Dynamic Modeling with STELLA and iThink

PhD Colloquium

Fordham 2006 Summer Worskhop

Session Reports

2006 International System Dynamics Conference, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Faith and Jim Waters Receive Award

Policy Council Holds Summer Meeting

Letters from Conference Participants

Society and Boston Conference Sponsors


Publication and Contact Information

Thank you

Many thanks to all who contributed their writing, photographs, and information to this issue of the newsletter: Emmanuel Adamides, Brian Dangerfield, Richard Dudley, Meg Fryling, Valerie Gacogne, Justus Gallati, Shayne Gary, Jose J. Gonzalez, Andreas Größler, Burak Güneralp, Mark Heffernan, Gary Hirsch, Hyunjung Kim, Birgit Kopainsky, Geoff McDonnell, Giovan Battista Montemaggiore, Michiya Morita, Leeza Osipenko, Oleg Pavlov, Anastássios Perdicoúlis, Ying Qian, Michael Radzicki, Scott Rockart, Etiënne Rouwette, Markus Salge, Burkhard Schade, Habib Sedehi, Birgitte Snabe, Warren Tignor, Silvia Ulli-Beer, Wayne Wakeland, and Yangang Xing. Apologies if we have inadvertently omitted someone.

From the President

Adapted from the President’s Address: "The Seven Ages of System Dynamics," given at the International System Dynamics Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, July 20, 2005.

Society President Graham W. Winch

Dear Members of the System Dynamics Society,

Some of you will know that this is a year of highlights and transition for me. The highlights have been many - Luton Town being run-away winners of League One, the Red Sox laying a ghost at last and winning the world series, and Liverpool winning the European Cup after being 3-0 down - at least one person in the room has not stopped grinning yet. To be honest the real highlight might have been Auburn Tigers crowned as NCAA football champions but for the dumb pollsters, and Geelong Cats - well close, but no cigar.

Also, I have had the pleasure of three papers being accepted for the conference with co-authors in three different countries - and I have delegated doing the presentation to my co-author in each case - one thing, at least, that Graham W. and George W. have in common! Despite all these, the major highlight is, of course, serving as President of the Society.

At the same time, a major change for me is that I have decided to give up the comfort of my tenured professorial post to become a free-lancer focusing on the research and consulting I most enjoy, and hopefully to ramp up my leisure time a little.

This change got me thinking about how we grow and evolve.

For most of us, traditionally 'coming of age' - the transition between youth and adulthood - used to be thought of as at aged 21, though now it is perhaps usually considered to be eighteen. It has been announced that the 2007 conference will be in Boston, which will enable us to celebrate, near their birthplace, both the 50th anniversary of system dynamics, and the 25th anniversary of the Society. These are quantitative milestones, well worthy of celebration, but we should really also look at some softer attributes - as anyone with children knows, they think they are grown up by about age twelve, yet they are still hanging around the house asking for money well into their twenties.

In considering some of our developmental attributes, I was reminded of the 'Seven Ages of Man' from Shakespeare's As you like it (the joys of 'O' level English Literature) which start:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

Well, the field of system dynamics has had nearly 50 years old of development, and while it is maybe not as all-pervasive as some think it should be, its impact has been significant. It is mentioned in most quality books on management science and simulation, and successful and valuable applications are reported in a very wide range of domain specific journals in management, social and economic policy and well beyond. There are still controversies, however. There is still heated debate over whether analysis using the diagramming conventions and with qualitative analysis of loop structures and feedback process, but without simulation, is actually system dynamics or not. And the arguments of some that in systems with a high proportion of soft variables, attempts to create a quantitative model might tend to mislead rather than bring a fuller analysis, has never been fully addressed as a methodological issue. We also have some friction with colleagues in related disciplines who see 'soft system dynamics' as, at best, a small sub-set of systems thinking alongside many other well-used techniques, whereas there are some within our area who consider 'soft SD' and 'systems thinking' to be synonymous.

How about the Society - at age 23 or thereabouts has it yet come of age? The Society is certainly a large and complex entity serving the needs of a number of different member constituencies - I have to admit that I have only really appreciated the range of activities and member services since becoming President. Let us review what these entail:

• We have been delighted to record that we now have over 1000 individual members, plus institutional members.
• A thriving in-house journal - SDR - which in addition to being part of the membership package, is also taken by a significant number of libraries. It is excellently supported by publishers Wileys - who, I think it is fair to say, consider it a real asset to their portfolio. It has a good impact factor, and figures consistently in the rankings of the ISI journal citation reports.
• An international high-quality conference - now in its 23rd year - which is once again breaking records for participation. I think those of us who go to a lot of conferences appreciate the quality of refereeing and of the sessions, as well as the diversity of activities with the PhD colloquium and workshop day.
• 15 chapters - including new chapters this year in Russia and Pakistan. Apart from two - Economic Dynamics and the Student chapter - these are country or global region-based, and show the extent of local activity worldwide in addition to the centrally organised events…
• … plus SIGs - more informal groupings of people with a shared interest
• A terrific new complimentary membership scheme which will allow twenty new memberships to be available at any point in time, predominantly to support new efforts and participation in developing and lower-income areas in the world (thanks again to Wileys for their support for this scheme).
• A growing range of resources - beer game, paper collections and so on
• A now well-endowed fund to reward and recognise outstanding student performance
• Growing and enthusiastic school-based programmes - (though activity at this is predominantly in the USA's K-thru-12 school grades.)
• And finally, but not least, a great group of corporate and conference sponsors

So, we are certainly through the mewling and puking and creeping like snail phases, and the lover's sighs!

So have we also passed through the next phase yet? - Shakespeare's soldier:

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.
(… sound like anyone you know?)

Growing up has raised issues too:

• Head office has had to move to new larger space at Albany.
• Re-organisation of VP roles and an increase in the total number of VPs to reflect growing tasks.
• Issues of succession, which has prompted the agreement to Associate Vice Presidents, who can share some of the workload and also gain experience in the governance of the Society.

Of course, the usual factor associated with 'coming of age' is that no further growth is expected. This is manifestly not the case - our membership is at record levels and we have two new chapters already this year. I have no doubt next year's conference in Nijmegen will be another record breaker, and expectations are extremely high for the anniversary conference in Boston the year after. We are still experiencing steady if not exponential growth, with, as yet, no limits to growth in sight.

So what about myself? After the soldier comes the justice:

And then, the justice
In fair round belly, with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances…

Considering what comes afterwards, I will settle for this!

Graham W. Winch

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From the Executive Director

We're already into the second year of "owning" our membership. This means the Society central office is invoicing for and processing memberships rather than this being done by our publisher, John Wiley & Sons. Our activities began one year ago with the renewal campaign for 2005. This has been a very rewarding experience for us as we have much more direct contact with our members. By bringing home the membership processing, we can continuously improve our personalized services to you.

Renewing is easier this year for current and new members. Last year, only current members could renew online; this year the online function has been expanded to include a web-based application for new members too! You may choose to renew online from the Society website, or you may mail or fax your preprinted membership form back to us. Please contact the office if you need assistance or have any trouble renewing.

This year the Society reached a new membership milestone. The 1000th member for 2005 is Warren Burgess, a first-time member and conference participant from BP Exploration Operating Co, Aberdeen, UK. The first to renew for 2005 was Alex Kononets, from Kiev in the Ukraine, a student member since 2003. Please see the Growth of Membership chart below.

Membership Chart

A summary of the 2006 Call for Papers for next summer's conference in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, follows in this newsletter. The Call for Papers can be found in its entirety on our website. I am happy to report that Etiënne Rouwette, 2006 Organizing Chair, will be visiting Albany later this month and together we will be working on conference planning. Mark your calendar-the dates of the conference are July 23-27, 2006.

Plan ahead and save these dates also! The 2007 International System Dynamics Conference will take place in Boston on July 29-August 2, 2007 and will mark the 50th anniversary year of the field of system dynamics.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.

Roberta L. Spencer

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Society News

Dana Meadows Award Endowment Fund Successfully Reaches Goal

We are delighted to announce the successful conclusion of the fund drive to permanently endow the Dana Meadows Student Award, given for the best work by students presented at the annual conference of the Society. The fund drive was announced one year ago, in October 2004. Donations were fully matched through the generosity of a diverse group of Dana's colleagues, former students, and supporters of the Society, doubling the impact of contributions by Society members and friends. In total, one hundred individuals and organizations contributed to the endowment fund, including thirty-one who contributed at the 2005 conference in Boston, putting us over our goal with a total of $65,600.00 raised.

The Meadows Award is given each year for the best student work presented at the annual conference of the System Dynamics Society. The award honors the late Dana Meadows, an inspiring and devoted teacher, by encouraging and recognizing the work of students, the future leaders of the field (the award, including past winners, is described at

The Meadows Award has been a great success. The number and quality of student entries has grown each year since the award was established in 2001. At the 2005 conference in Boston there were 60 submissions, roughly 16% of all submissions! The quality of the students' work has also increased dramatically. Even more important, the award is catalyzing growing participation and interest in the field of system dynamics by students from all over the world. It is empowering the newest generation in our field to become more active in the Society and profession, a wonderful sign.

We thank all those who contributed so generously to the fund. We are particularly grateful to Jane and Allen Boorstein, who not only supported the award from its inception but also contributed to the endowment fund. We are indebted to the Boorsteins for their strong and continuing support. See for a full list of contributors.

Again, thanks to all who contributed.

John Sterman, Roberta Spencer, Michael Radzicki, Drew Jones, and John Morecroft

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Wiley InterScience Change of Policy

E-mail addresses are now required for Wiley InterScience User Logins. Beginning August 15th, Wiley InterScience began requiring individual users of the site who access online subscriptions via a username and password to update their registration information with a valid e-mail address in place of a self-selected username. This new policy is designed to help improve security and reduce account duplication. Requiring an e-mail address as a login has become widely standard practice among many high-profile commercial websites.

When a registered user comes to the Wiley InterScience site and enters their existing login, the following will occur:

    1. User enters current login and password.
    2. User is prompted to enter name, country, and an area of interest, along with a single valid e-mail address.
    3. User receives a one-time confirmation e-mail, then clicks on the authentication link in the message. The verification process is complete.

Subsequently, users can log in to the site with just their e-mail and password. (NOTE: confirmation links expire after 24 hours; after that, users can re-submit their info, if necessary.)

Aside from the confirmation e-mail, users will not be sent any further e-mail alerts from Wiley InterScience unless they explicitly opt-in to receive such messages. If you no longer use your Wiley InterScience login, or access online content only via institutional IP-based subscriptions, then you do not need to update your account. Only individuals who access personal or member subscriptions via a login will need to do this. Similarly, if you choose to register for any of the personalized features of the site, such as table of contents alerts, or purchase single Pay-Per-View articles, you will need to update your login. New users registering on the site for the first time will be guided through a similar procedure to enter and validate their e-mail logins.

from John Wiley & Sons

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Diversity in the Society Membership

What is Diversity? Think of it as variety. When we talk about diversity in people, we mean variety in the human dimensions that make us similar to or different from each other, including (but not limited to) our country of residence, gender, age, education, ethnic origin, and profession. For example, since ethnicity and gender are important dimensions of human diversity, all combinations of ethnicity and gender, including white men, black men, Asian women, and native women, define an organization's diversity. The diversity of an organization includes everyone.

Are we a diverse organization? Currently our answer seems to be yes and no, as the Society membership is becoming very diverse on some dimensions but there is a way to go on others. This question is best answered by looking separately at each of the dimensions of diversity for which we have information.

Country of residence: If we consider how many countries around the world our members come from - 56 - then we are becoming diverse on this dimension. The countries where we have members are primarily located in Europe (including Russia and eastern Europe), Australasia, Asia, and North America. This is true for our chapters as well. We have done well growing our geographical representation in these areas, and we have an opportunity to grow further in Latin America and Africa. However, if we consider the number of members we have in each of these countries, the picture looks a little different for in many of these countries we have fewer than 10 members. So while we are doing well in our geographical reach, we have opportunities to improve the number of members we have in each country as well as the number of countries represented. This particularly applies to lower income and developing regions, and the Wiley Sponsored Membership scheme, announced at the conference, is designed to help us support increased membership in these regions.

Gender: Society membership has grown by over 40% since 1999 (Figure 1), yet the representation of women has remained flat at 12% (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Increase in membership

Figure 2: Percent of membership by gender


In October 2004, the Diversity Committee included a pilot survey in the annual membership renewals requesting demographic information on gender, age, and education. The survey confirmed that the above results hold also in 2005, with women continuing to represent about 12% of Society membership. While this figure perhaps reflects the areas of academe and professional practice we have historically served (e.g. engineering), this is nonetheless a disappointing figure. The areas of academe and professional practice of our members have broadened with the growth in our membership and our desire is to see the representation of women become more reflective of these broader areas. In addition, there are indications from our membership data that the dynamics of women joining and staying in the Society differ from those of men. We need to understand these differences so that if we increase the number of women who join, we are able to retain them.


Age and gender: The survey results also reveal that women tend to be concentrated in the 25-39 age range, while men are concentrated in the 35 to 59 age range. This older age range of men represents nearly 60% of total membership (see Table 1).

The ratio of women to men is higher for younger groups than for the Society as a whole. However, since we do not have the data connecting age with length of membership, it is difficult to say whether this will eventually translate into a larger representation of women over time. We need more detailed data to link age, gender, and length of membership in order to assess how demographics and membership retention interact.

Table 1: Distribution of members by age group and gender as a percentage of all respondents (N = 359)

Age group



20 to 24



25 to 29



30 to 34



35 to 39



40 to 44



45 to 49



50 to 54



55 to 59



60 to 64



65 to 69



70 to 74



75 or older






* Values for cells with 4 or fewer respondents have been removed to protect respondents’ anonymity.



Do we need to be a diverse organization? Diversity in the System Dynamics Society is a membership attraction, development, and retention issue. The world is facing an array of complex problems that we know system dynamics can help us address. Yet we must recognize there is tremendous diversity among these problems as well as among the stakeholders, decision makers, and public we desire to influence. Our ability to grow as an organization and profession as well as to realize the benefits of system dynamics to society depends on our ability to attract, develop, and retain qualified members who reflect this diversity.

What is the Diversity Committee doing? As a result of concern over the lack of growth in the representation of women in the Society, and to monitor other dimensions of diversity, the Policy Council in July 2004 unanimously approved the formation of the Diversity Committee to assist it in monitoring and improving the diversity of the System Dynamics Society membership. Last year the Diversity Committee focused its efforts on understanding the current diversity of the Society, as well as challenges members may be facing because of their diversity. The Committee chaired a Diversity Roundtable at the ISDC 2005 in Boston where participants were invited to discuss issues and provide feedback to the Policy Council. The forum was well received and the emphasis of the feedback was constructive. Issues raised concerned the respect given to all members and conference participants regardless of their role, seniority, etc., how to make new attendees as welcome as possible, and the accessibility of leading members of the community. Concern was also expressed that the Society strives to attract and welcome groups presently under-represented in our membership. The feedback has been circulated to Policy Council members along with ideas to address some of these issues. Improvements have already been discussed in planning for future conferences and for the Society's future direction.

This year, in addition to continuing our work of defining and understanding the diversity of our Society membership, which will include improving mechanisms for gathering and reporting on membership diversity information, the Diversity Committee will support the Policy Council in continuing to implement improvements. The Policy Council is committed to ensuring that the Society is a leader in understanding and improving the diversity of its membership.

There are two ways you can provide your own feedback to the Diversity Committee: join the email distribution list for the Committee (sign up by sending an email containing "subscribe DIVERSITY Firstname Lastname" to [email protected]) or attend next year's Diversity Roundtable at ISDC 2006. We are committed to making the Society a comfortable place for all members. If you have suggestions, we look forward to hearing from you!

Deborah Campbell, Chair, Diversity Committee, and Policy Council Member, 2003-2005

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Wiley Sponsored Membership to the System Dynamics Society

At the 2005 Boston conference, the System Dynamics Society was very pleased to announce a new scheme to be sponsored jointly by John Wiley & Sons, our publisher, and the Society to encourage development of the system dynamics community in 'lower income' countries and regions. The Complimentary Memberships Committee has developed the following implementation guidelines for this scheme:

(1) Name: The new SDS category of membership will be called the 'Wiley Sponsored Member'.

(2) Purpose: The purpose of this new category is to encourage development of the SD community in 'lower income' countries1 and regions to enable chapters to be formed or maintained, to encourage the development of local SD activity/meetings etc., or to encourage recent SD graduates who move to a new post where there is no current SD activity.

(3) Number: Up to 10 Wiley Sponsored Memberships will be available each year, full membership entitlements will be provided at no charge to the member [up to a maximum of 20 memberships current at any time].

(4) Duration: A member will remain a Wiley Sponsored Member for up to 2 years, and then be expected to subscribe under the appropriate normal membership category.

(5) Eligibility: Only prospective members who would qualify for the Society's reduced membership rate (student/subsidized member) may apply, and the Memberships will normally only be available in 'lower income' countries. The application should include a statement about relative incomes in his/her country of residence as part of the case.

(6) Application form: Applications must be made on a designated WSM Application Form (link below). The applicant can make a brief statement explaining their case to be a Wiley Sponsored Member. In addition the name of a referee must be provided (i.e. a current member of the System Dynamics Society, or a suitable person from the local academic, business or general community). Any comments made by the referee in support of the application should be inserted into the form, but all such comments are subject to verification by the committee, who may seek further information from the referee. Referees' details must include an email contact address and this will be the only method of contact. All information provided by the applicant must be included within the one-page form, and no further materials should be appended or submitted.

(7) Application assessment: The decision to award a Sponsored Membership will be made by a special committee nominated by the Policy Council. The present committee is Bob Cavana (Chair), David Lane, Scott Rockart and Graham Winch. The decision to award will be based on individual circumstances and the potential to grow SD membership and activities in presently under-represented economic regions. The individual circumstances considered will be based solely on the application form plus any further solicited comments from SD members in good standing (or other nominated academics or professionals). The committee's decision each year will be final, but re-application in a future year will be permitted.

WSM Application Form

1A 'lower income' country for the purposes of this scheme is defined as a country with a GDP per capita estimated to be less than US$15,000 pa. This is likely to include most countries in the world except the majority of OECD countries. For example, refer to the GDP per capita listing on the OECD web site:

Bob Cavana, VP at Large

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Member News

Bob Eberlein Receives Award for Exceptional Service

Graham, Bob and John

At the 2005 Conference in Boston, the System Dynamics Society was pleased to present Robert L. Eberlein with a special award for exceptional service, in grateful recognition of support far beyond the call of duty. Only the second distinguished service award in the history of the Society (the first was presented to Jack Pugh in 1997), the award recognized Bob's diverse and essential contributions to the System Dynamics Society. Bob's work on behalf of the Society has been tireless. Bob has served in a variety of key Policy Council positions continuously since 1987, including Secretary, Vice President for Meetings, and President, but most of the time he has taken on projects and solved problems simply because they needed to be done. Over the years he organized several conferences, including site selection, negotiations with hotels, logistics, and program. Building on this experience, he established formal procedures for developing and selecting conference venues and organizing teams. He created a customized web-based system for submitting, reviewing, accepting and scheduling papers for the annual Society conference, a system that, with the growth of the Society and conferences, is now essential. Bob is amazingly productive and responsive: During the year leading to the 2005 conference Bob would frequently receive urgent calls or emails from Roberta or the program chairs asking for some new feature for the system. Bob not only suggested better ways to implement these suggestions, but also delivered, often literally within minutes. Frankly, we don't know when he sleeps. He is always calm and constructive, a consensus builder. He has been vital to the success of the Society, giving of himself far beyond the call of duty. The Society gratefully recognizes his efforts and is delighted to present him with an award for exceptional service.

Graham Winch and John Sterman

Kim Warren Wins Forrester Award

Kim, Christina and Jay

The Jay W. Forrester Award was presented this year to Kim D. Warren for the winning work Competitive Strategy Dynamics, published by Wiley in 2002. Introducing the winner as "a distinguished scholar, teacher, and consultant," David Andersen and John Morecroft noted, "Kim likes well-grounded ideas that translate into action and results. He challenges academic orthodoxy. He also profoundly understands the customer, brands, market entry, and competition-whether you are talking polymer products, pubs and restaurants, business ideas or educational materials." One of the nominators of Competitive Strategy Dynamics wrote, "Kim Warren's book is a major piece of work-a unique synthesis of concepts from strategy and system dynamics interpreted through the lens of personal industry experience. Moreover the text is supported by a range of innovative educational software, including microworlds and new model building software, that bring to life the book's dynamic view of strategy and firm performance." Congratulations, Kim!

Kim's award presentation can be heard by clicking here.

David Andersen and John Morecroft, Jay W. Forrester Award Committee

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Dana Meadows Student Prize Awarded in Boston

Congratulations to all the 2005 Dana Meadows Prize Winners. Their papers may be viewed at

This years winners of the Dana Meadows Prize for the best student paper presented at the annual conference were Todd BenDor, Sara Metcalf, Lauren Fontenot and Brandi Sangunett, from the University of Illinois. Their paper was entitled "A Decision Support System for Emerald Ash Borer Eradication Using Spatial-Dynamic Modeling." This paper presents spatial modeling of the spread of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in the Midwestern US and Canada and their lethal impact on Ash trees. Five models are presented with detailed mathematical foundation of cell based geospatial maps coupled to the SD model of EAB spread. The paper is clear and well-written. The model background is well explained and convincing. The assumptions are well founded and model formulation is based an extensive and comprehensive review of the literature. The research is highly relevant to epidemiology studies containing a spatial dynamic component. It is also applicable to human disease dynamics and bioterror prevention policy management. Overall the Awards Committee considered this to be an outstanding paper.

In addition, Dana Meadows Merit Prizes were awarded to: Martin Kunc, London Business School for his paper "Illustrating the Competitive Dynamics of an Industry: The Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Industry Case Study; Timothy Quinn, MIT for "Lab Turnaround Time and Delayed Discharges: A Systems-Based Action Research Investigation"; Patricia Ochoa, Universite de Lausanne, Switzerland for "Policy Changes in the Swiss Electricity Market: A System Dynamics Analysis of Likely Market Responses"; and Burak Gunerap, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for "Towards Coherent Loop Dominance Analysis: Progress in Eigenvalue Elasticity Analysis". These were all regarded as excellent papers. Over 50 student papers were submitted for this year's awards. Assessment was difficult due to the very high standard of the papers.

Walid Badr Announces New Business Partnership

Walid Badr reports from Egypt that Mohaseboon Financial and Business Consultants has signed a business partnership agreement with the Regional IT Institute to work jointly on the "Management Champion League" project. The project includes developing and providing programs of business management with the aid of computer based management simulation games to business executives. The program will start in April, 2006. The plan is for the program to expand and be offered in other countries in the Middle Eastern region. Mohaseboon believes that this project will give a great push to the awareness of system dynamics in Egypt and the entire Middle East. Please contact Walid at [email protected] for more information.

Bob Cavana Receives Promotion

Dr. Bob Cavana, Vice President at Large for the System Dynamics Society, has been promoted to the rank of Reader at the Victoria University of Wellington. A Readership is a very ancient title in British universities and is also used in some Commonwealth countries. Well done Bob!

Etiënne Rouwette Visiting Scholar in Albany

Etiënne Rouwette from Radboud University in the Netherlands will be a visiting scholar at the University at Albany for the coming two months. He will be involved in research on group model building, attend projects with clients and work on the preparations for the 2006 conference. As the groups in Albany and Nijmegen share an interest in participative modeling approaches, this is a great opportunity for sharing ideas on project design and effective elements of the intervention. Radboud University encourages and supports international cooperation and funds this research visit.

New PhD's

It is our pleasure to announce members of the Society who have recently received their PhD's.

Hazhir Rahmandad "Three essays on modeling dynamic organizational processes." Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, August 2005

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Boston Conference Report

Photos from the Boston Conference are posted on the Society website at–please take a look.

You will find below articles written by volunteer conference session reporters. While not all sessions are covered, we hope these give a feel for the conference. There was an interesting mixture of work presented at the conference. Links to many full papers, including abstracts and supporting materials can be accessed on the Society website at

If you would like your own copy of the CD-ROM proceedings, extra copies are for sale through the Society office.

From the 2005 Conference Organizing Team, thanks!

PhD Colloquium, Sunday, July 17

Boston PhD Group Photo


The International PhD Colloquium is an event of the System Dynamics Student Chapter. It has been organized by PhD students and held as a full-day event on the Sunday before the conference every year for the last six years. Its objective is to bring together PhD students who are involved in system dynamics research and to give them the opportunity to raise key questions and/or concerns related to their research and discuss these in depth in a constructive and enjoyable atmosphere.

This year more than 20 PhD students presented their research and more than 150 people in total participated in the event. Professor Nelson Repenning was so kind as to give an opening speech, focussing on the opportunities and challenges facing PhD students in the field of system dynamics. The rest of the day included presentations, workshops, and poster sessions, and was organized in five blocks.The event was supported by many of the most respected senior academics, including Professor Forrester. We are thankful for their interest and support, contributing with their experience and knowledge in the discussions, workshops and poster sessions.

The event also formed a foundation for students to interact with peer students and establish a network that will hopefully be of great value also in the longer time horizon. From the feedback we have received, we believe that most of the participants found it to be a positive experience providing inspiration, interesting learning opportunities, and useful contacts to be used in their further pursuit of the PhD degree.

The papers presented at the PhD Colloquium will remain accessible through Thank you to everyone who contributed to make the day an interesting and vivid event.

Birgitte Snabe and Markus Salge, 2005 PhD Colloquium Organizers

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Health Policy Special Interest Group (HPSIG) Meeting on System Dynamics and Health Reform, Sunday, July 17

The meeting of the HPSIG at the 2005 ISDC focused on the question of why reform is so difficult to achieve in the US and other countries and the potential role that the HPSIG might play in applying system dynamics to health care reform. The meeting began with a presentation by Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, on the magnitude of the health care problem in the US. Then, Jack Homer and Gary Hirsch presented the highlights of the paper "Achieving Health Care Reform in the United States: Toward a Whole-System Understanding" that had been prepared in advance to provide a basis for discussion about health reform and the potential role of system dynamics. There were comments from a responder panel that included Dr. Woolhandler, Dr. John McDonough, the CEO of Health Care for All, a Boston-based advocacy group, and John Rodat, CEO of Signal Health. There was then extensive discussion by the group about the paper and future directions that the HPSIG's work might take.

Dr. Woolhandler's presentation emphasized:

    • The numbers of people in the US who lack health insurance and the effect of that lack of insurance on health outcomes
    • The high cost of health care in the US relative to other countries and its effects on the global competitiveness of US business
    • The comparatively poor performance of the US on various health measures despite its high costs

Comments on the paper on "Achieving Health Care Reform in the United States…" included:

    • The need to add a political dimension to the relationships shown in the causal diagrams
    • The possible value of considering and modeling reform with smaller-than-national populations such as that of a metropolitan area or state or province or a subgroup such as children
    • The difficulty of tracking and reinvesting savings from improved management of health risks and of explaining the complexities of health reform to audiences of policymakers as well as the general public

Ideas about directions for future work included:

    • Show how stakeholders interface with the causal map that was presented. Bring together the three conceptual threads that are central to the work and relate to each other: health and disease, political, and insurance coverage and financial.
    • Propose a special issue of the System Dynamics Review on health systems to provide a forum for the parallel efforts we will undertake.

A number of people in the HPSIG expressed a willingness to engage in projects between now and next year's conference in Nijmegen. These could be analyses of particular countries' experience including system dynamics models that help to explain why health reform efforts in those countries have been successful or unsuccessful. The efforts could focus on health reform in a national system or, as was suggested, a smaller segment of the population such as children or older people or a geographical area such as a state or province or metropolitan area. We could then have an expanded workshop at the Nijmegen conference to share what we learned from the different efforts.

We agreed that the authors of the paper presented in the HPSIG session would make revisions to the causal diagrams to reflect some of the comments received and that the revised diagrams could serve as a template for parallel efforts if people found them useful for that purpose.

Gary Hirsch

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Mental Models and Learning, Parallel Session, Monday, July 18

The papers in this session included experimental work, theoretical modeling and field research. Carlos Capelo's presentation related an experimental research project which found that balanced scorecards in combination with strategy maps can improve managerial performance in a simulated task environment. Emmanuel Adamides spoke about how product and organizational modularity influences strategic flexibility (the ability to precipitate change through strategy changes). Emmanuel's theoretical model included two contradictory effects of organizational modularity: while it enhances product flexibility it may also lower incentives for environmental scanning. Given the reduction in scanning, Emmanuel argued that organizational modularity may reduce rather than increase strategic flexibility. Martin Kunc related how he used annual report statements by the CEOs of four commercial radio firms to develop resource maps for each firm. The resource maps were both quite rich and quite different from one another with differences lining up closely with the original business lines of each firm. Martin asserted that the resource mapping process provided insight into why managers of competing firms built such different systems of resources. Silvia Ulli-Beer recounted work combining system dynamics with scenario planning for a client through a series of workshops which brought together fragmented knowledge in the firm and helped the client assess the learning process itself. Silvia related that, during the process, participants gained a greater appreciation for the importance of understanding the mechanics of systems (rather than simply trends) and of looking for causal relationships.

Scott Rockart

Developments in Organizational Theory, Parallel Session, Monday, July 18

System dynamics has been making great progress in the field of organizational theory, and at the parallel session "Developments in Organizational Theory" we saw three new researches that are currently and/or potentially contributing to that progress.

John Voyer, Suan Chinn, and Charlotte Pryor made the first presentation on "Adaptive Leadership Challenges at Smaller Nonprofit Organizations: A System Dynamics Approach." In their research, they tackled the inefficiency and ineffective issues in information and accounting systems in nonprofit organizations. The challenge that many nonprofit organizations face is that they are required to meet higher accountability standards with less and less government resources, while at the same time they are expected to fulfill their organizational missions. Voyer et al. explain the situation using limits-to-growth and shifting-the-burden system archetypes, and they build a simple three-stock model that represents such organizational dynamics. The model is used to show how implementation of new culture influences an organization in terms of its capabilities, cost of operation, and stakeholder satisfaction. The audience raised a question whether the model could be applied to for-profit organizations, to which Voyer responded positively. It was also noted that the model would be richer if a delay concept was incorporated.

The second presentation was made by Steffen Bayer, David Gann, and Ammon Salter on "Balancing Work - Bidding Strategies and Workload Dynamics in a Project-Based Professional Service Organisation." The work of Bayer et al. addresses a workload problem faced by project-based organizations which provide highly customized professional services to their clients. Because their workload is determined by bidding outcomes, it is uncertain and it often fluctuates. They use a system dynamics model to explain the workload fluctuation and to assess various bidding strategies for such organizations. They suggest that bidding strategy must take current workload into consideration, because winning a bid might do more financial harm to the organization than losing one. The audience pointed out that staff experience may have a relationship with staff allocation, and that organizational growth and the rookie factor may aggravate the problem.

The final presentation, by Charles Jones, was on "Behavioral Theory in Simulation: Ambiguous Results from Simple Relationships." In the field of organizational behavior, there exists no integrated and unified theory that explains everything. Jones challenges this by attempting to build an integrated theory of individual performance using system dynamics. His integrated theory is based on causal relationships between behavior, emotion and cognition. While each causal relationship between the three factors is simple and unambiguous, the combined results of causal relationships, when simulated, present ambiguity and complexity. His work highlights the strength of system dynamics in its ability to contribute to theoretical development in various academic disciplines, not limited to organizational behavior.

I am sure all the attendees at the parallel session greatly appreciated the three excellent presentations and wished for a longer discussion. We absolutely look forward to hearing updates from the presenters in the future regarding their work and their efforts to expand the boundary of the system dynamics community.

Hyunjung Kim

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Business Applications 1, Parallel Session, Monday, July 18

Henry Weil, in his role as session chair, started off the session by highlighting that one broad theme tying the three papers together was a focus on incorporating behavioral elements in their modeling work. In all three cases, behavioral elements had a significant impact on model outcomes.

The first presentation discussed a modeling project in Royal Dutch Shell to study the dynamics of the commodity plastics industry. The authors are Lester Burton, Seetha Coleman-Kammula, John Sterman, David Andersen, and George Richardson. The project was focused on the industry-level perspective to get a better understanding of the factors responsible for industry price cyclicality. Price data was available from 1990 to 2003 and indicated price downturns lasted longer than upturns and were more severe. "Given the cut-throat competition and price cyclicality of the industry, Michael Porter would probably characterize the commodity plastics industry as unattractive." The modeling team started with the analogous pulp and paper model as the core structure, and then added some industry-specific structure. This is a great example of transferring a generic structure from one industry context to another. The resulting calibrated model fit the historical data quite well, and continues to be used within the company for policy analysis experiments. The audience, including myself, very much enjoyed this presentation because it had the key ingredients for a very interesting modeling project: 1) an interesting dynamic phenomenon, 2) involvement of a group of experienced managers who collectively knew the inner workings of the industry, and 3) relevant quantitative data for calibrating and testing the model.

The second presentation featured Ritu Sharma and Tom Mullen from PA Consulting to discuss a recent modeling project with a client. PA Consulting (and formerly Pugh Roberts Consulting) have done extensive work on the dynamics of managing large scale projects over the last several decades, and Ritu and Tom presented some data indicating that performance generally remains quite poor on large scale projects in terms of completing on time and on budget. This point seemed to resonate with the audience and a good example of a project that has run well over budget and time was close at hand in the form of the Big Dig; work was continuing on this project just blocks from the hotel during the conference. The client engaged PA Consulting to examine the dynamics of project management for a specific large project with over 70 phases and a duration of over 15 years. This involved tailoring PA Consulting's generic project management model to the specific context. About 10% of the way into the large scale project, a major decision that would impact the whole project timeline arose. There were multiple stakeholders, lots of trade-offs, and a great deal of time pressure to make the decision. To help the managers make an informed decision, a system dynamics model was used alongside a database of project details to analyze different options. The system dynamics model captured the dynamic complexity of managing the project, while the project details tool captured the detail complexity. Using these tools in combination helped the managers reach a better decision. John Morecroft asked a question about how the two tools were combined. The project details tool was used in step one to test one decision option, and the output from this analysis was fed into the system dynamics model to test the dynamic implications of restructuring the project work in various ways. Another very interesting talk.

The third and final presentation was on the dynamics of innovative industries and was given by Henry Weil and Jim Utterback. The aim was to construct a model that captured the very general dynamics of technology-driven markets including technological generations. The first step was to construct a causal loop diagram out of the existing literature on innovative industries using a selective literature review, and then to build the simulation model. The model includes new entry, learning curves, economies of scale, technology adoption and diffusion, and a host of other relevant factors. The next step was to calibrate the model for the US camera market. The model fit is very good for the evolution of the number of firms in the industry, and they are continuing to push this work further. Henry and Jim had a great time presenting their work and discovered mid-way in the talk that they needed to find a new term for commoditization. Well, Henry discovered this was the case when Jim made his views clear about the term numerous times! A question from a member of the audience who works in the pharmaceutical industry may have provided Henry and Jim with the new term they seek--generic competition. This was a terrific final presentation for the session and I certainly look forward to the academic paper that I hope emerges from Henry and Jim's collaboration. The issues they are addressing are very important and it appears they have a lot to add to the existing knowledge in the area.

It is fantastic to see such good system dynamics work being applied across a range of topics!

Shayne Gary

Dynamic Modeling for Public Policy, Health Stream Plenary Session, Monday, July 18

"Modeling Global Policy for Managing Polioviruses: An Analytical Journey," by Kimberly Thompson, Radboud Duintjer Tebbens

Kim, a visiting professor at MIT from the Harvard School of Public Health, noted that system dynamics had a long link with polio via Boston Mayor John Collins who was afflicted in the 1955 epidemic. She then described extending static cost effectiveness (CE) analysis using system dynamics to address the way the CE ratio changes over time. Wild poliovirus cases have fallen dramatically in the US to less than the number of live attenuated oral vaccine-associated paralytic polio cases. This has resulted in less coverage and this increases the likelihood of the reversion of the oral vaccine to a neurovirulent form. Hence partial coverage can be worse than no coverage at all. Future policy options include stopping vaccination, switching back to immune vaccines, outbreak stockpiling for importation of the wild poliovirus from overseas. The project involved many people from CDC and WHO and progressed through several stages of complexity and disaggregation, with fitting the model with retrospective outbreak data from countries. Large and small models exist for communicating with various audiences, details for analysts and insights for policy makers. Because the CE ratio varies over time for live polio vaccine, a static CE analysis leads to ceasing vaccination before full eradication. This important work has been submitted for several publications, including American J Epidemiology 162 (4) 358-374.

"A Dynamic Model to Support Surge Capacity Planning in a Rural Hospital," by William Manley, Jack Homer, Marna Hoard, Sanjoy Roy, Paul Furbee, Daniel Summers, Robert Blake, Marsha Kimble

Bill Manley, a nurse at a 95-bed rural West Virginia hospital 400km west of Washington DC serving an Appalachian community of 25,000, presented the problem of handling a surge in emergency cases in this small isolated hospital, studied as part of homeland security preparedness during 2003-04. A surge of cases can be associated with deterioration of patients in ED, potentially contagious walkouts and ED overloading due to hallway boarders. The study investigated the impact of flow control measures and calling in reserve resources (see Int J Hygiene and Environmental Health 2005 208 117-25).

Jack Homer presented patient stock flow diagrams and output graphs showing the fey feedback interactions associated with deterioration while waiting: walkouts (contagious) and deaths in ED, boarder load on ED, wait times for triage and ward. Strategies included early discharges and transfers from wards and postponing electives. The load on ED nurses was identified as the primary constraint (others are beds and X-ray). Adding reserve ED nurses in preference to reserve ward nurses produced a boarder bottleneck due to not enough ward reserve. Several types of surges were modeled, including SARS, using scaled Singapore data. The study may be extended to outside hospital acute and long term care and other emergency medical services. There were several questions about X-ray and blood tests capacity constraints, reserve nurses time delays and quality, model tests and data sources, extreme values testing and infection and depletion of caregivers through exhaustion as extensions.

"A Decision Support System for Emerald Ash Borer Eradication Using Spatial-Dynamic Modeling," by Todd BenDor, Sara Metcalf, Lauren Fontenot, Brandi Sangunett

This paper won the Dana Meadows Best Student Paper Award. Todd described an Asian beetle outbreak in Michigan in 2002, resulting in loss of 1 million ash trees and dieback in 6m of a potential 700m. They used GIS techniques to map the spread from the Port of Detroit portal through human vectors carrying campfire lumber. Sara described the biology lifecycle of the ash borer with active and inactive larvae and adults which disperse 1.4 km/yr. The spatial distribution of ash trees in suburban locations was obtained by remote sensing and tree survey forest/city. They modeled a parasite host relationship with density-dependent feedback on adult migration and larval death rate using SME, which combines Stella with GIS The preferred strategy in use for managing the outbreak is a core suppression zone insecticide and culling, with a firebreak three miles wide removed if possible. The model also included known and unknown detection sites with human spread points (by campfire firewood spread). The model confirmed that the zonal strategy limits spread, and the human vector was the most powerful; however, reduced cell carrying capacity by tree culling may actually speed spread (by reducing local bark). Planned extensions with the Chicago Arboretum include better data and adding a dynamic land use map, LEAM, which models tree changes with urban development. Some of the questions and answers emphasised the need for quarantine because the infestation in firewood can't be reliably seen, lack of effectiveness of direct killing (boom/bust), adding wind distribution patterns, high granularity of data requiring computational power, with a tradeoff between system time step and cell size, sensitivity of the eradication policy to widths of suppression zones, and the desire of decision-makers to have a model that reflects rapidly changing knowledge of the outbreak.

Nelson Repenning closed the session, reflecting on three excellent papers using system dynamics modeling techniques to influence public policy decisions.

Geoff McDonnell and Mark Heffernan

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Epidemiology, Health Stream Parallel Session, Monday, July 18

Chaired by P. Jeffrey Potash.

"The AIDS Epidemic: Integrating System Dynamics and Gaming for Strategic Simulation," by William Edgar, C. Lance Durham, Aparna Higgins

Lance, from Booz Allen Hamilton Modeling Group ( Search on India and AIDS), presented a system dynamics policy game that was played at a joint public-private collaboration Indian industry (auto and IT) relationship-building exercise in 2000 at New Delhi. The model focussed on the impact of maternal-child transmission of HIV and disease progression to AIDS on industry sectors and GDP, including direct labor participation and productivity and indirect adjustment of the use of capital to match the reduced labor availability. Policy impacts included voluntary counselling and testing, education and prophylaxis aimed at mother-child transmission. Questions included the India-specific nature (e.g. heterosexual transmission only) of the model, generalising education inventions to other nations, and specific urban hotspots like Bombay. New collaborations and coalitions involving companies were formed.

"Modeling the Effect of Information Feedback on the SARS Epidemic in Beijing," by Geng Li Geng, from Bergen, presented a Powersim model of the February 2003 SARS epidemic, which resulted in a 10% mortality and a huge international scare. The outbreak was associated with inefficient public information transmission delays, a ten-day incubation/diagnosis delay, a one-week self-limiting outbreak and strong late quarantine policies. The model explored the effects of eliminating misperceptions, earlier isolation of the infected population, more timely protection policy (masks, gowns etc). A return after 500 days is predicted. Policy recommendations include improving response time and strengthening working relationships among government agencies.

"Endogenous Human Behaviors in a Pneumonic Plague Simulation: Psychological and Behavioral Theories as Small 'Generic' Models," by John Heinbokel, P. Jeffrey Potash John and Jeffrey (from reframed the classic SEIR model using a psychometric paradigm for risk reception. This included information cues, perceived risk factors (static, situational dynamic), decisions and behaviors (flee, freeze, fight). These were represented as a stock flow chain: Perceived not at risk, Believe at risk, Choose flee/hide/prophylaxis, Relax behavior. They developed small generic models to help stakeholders understand and accept and incorporate into mental models. Other concepts represented included information transmission, formal and informal trust in official credibility (which arrives on foot but departs on horseback), recognizing the need to act, perceived present and past, exponential or linear future, information ageing chain, and personalizing death based on level of familiarity driving the degree of dread. The model views the public as active participant, though it is difficult to estimate the conceptual parameters. One illustration of this approach is the freeze response in the Indian Surat epidemic in 1994, which was a form of self quarantining.

Geoff McDonnell and Mark Heffernan

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Security 1, Parallel Session, Monday, July 18

The Security 1 parallel session, chaired by Rene LeClair, consisted of three presentations addressing serious security concerns regarding information, infrastructure and public health. Although each piece of research has many facets, they also fit into the general category of security concerns regarding terrorism. Since the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, the topic of terrorism has become acutely prevalent. The US government, specifically the Department of Homeland Security, has attempted to predict and control ways in which terrorists might attack. Identity theft is one way in which terrorists gain access to the US and can conceal their true identity from authorities. "The Dynamics of Identity Theft: A Comparison of Symptomatic and Systemic Solutions" explores how our increasing dependence on personal information and a credit economy that insists on "instant" credit checks has caused identity theft cases to grow exponentially. Two further areas of concern for the Department of Homeland Security are infrastructure attacks and bio-terrorism. The research presented in "Leveraging a High Fidelity Switched Network Model to Inform a System Dynamics Model of the Telecommunications Infrastructure" and "Sensitivity Analysis of an Infectious Disease Model" studies these areas of concern in hopes of identifying the best plan of recovery should a disaster occur.

"The Dynamics of Identity Theft: A Comparison of Symptomatic and Systemic Solutions" presentation discussed the challenges of controlling the exponential growth of identity theft cases. The authors conclude that there are complex dynamics driving the growth of identity theft such that simply catching thieves is not enough to control the problem. Our society's ever increasing credit economy drives increased exposure of personal information, thus making identity theft easier and more wide-spread. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that few thieves are caught and even fewer are prosecuted. As identity thieves continue to find success they are encouraged to continue their activities, while new thieves confidently enter the "field." Business and consumer desire to return rapid credit decisions for shopping convenience has amplified consumer vulnerability. Unfortunately, each new case of identity theft has a negative impact on consumer trust. How can the economy grow efficiently without eroding consumer confidence? Based on their research, the authors recommend examining the use of social security numbers, stiffer penalties on companies that exposure personal information, better verification of identity, and consumer control of credit extension.

The "Leveraging a High Fidelity Switched Network Model to Inform a System Dynamics Model of the Telecommunications Infrastructure" and "Sensitivity Analysis of an Infectious Disease Model" presentations more specifically addressed the topic of homeland security. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil, much concern has been expressed regarding the critical infrastructure and its stability in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster. The intention of this research is to identify the critical points where limited resources would be best spent. The authors of the "Telecommunications Infrastructure" presentation built separate models for each infrastructure, with the assistance of experts in each area. The individual models were then linked together and attacks/incidents were introduced to discover the interdependency dynamics between infrastructures. Because it's difficult to build confidence in a model that is predicting unknown outcomes, the authors used unit testing, peer review and collaboration with experts to improve confidence. For instance, the authors collaborated with Lucent to convert their N-SMART event-driven model to a time step system dynamics model, which eventually became a piece of the larger model. The complete product is very much a working model that has been used in situations such as assisting with hurricane recovery in Florida. Similarly to the "Infrastructure" presentation, the "Sensitivity Analysis of an Infectious Disease Model" authors also stressed the need to allocate resources in the most effective way. In their research, sensitivity analysis is used to identify which variables are most important and thus, where resources should be utilized in the event of a bio-terrorist attack.

The research presented at the Security 1 session is particularly thought-provoking because the topics can have considerable direct impact on all of our lives.

Meg Fryling

Empirical Organizational Studies, Parallel Session, Monday, July 18

In this session right after the lunch break on Monday, four papers were presented. The presentations were highly interesting and easy to follow. Kambiz Maani acted as session chair.

In the first presentation, Markus Salge transferred lessons from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to organisational improvement programmes, which are conducted while routine operations are performed. As a main insight, he shows that in Chernobyl two stages of human failure existed: stage one, the odd reactor design, and stage two, by-passing behaviour of the reactor control crew, which had the effect of neglected safety routines.

Ignacio Martinez-Moyano (with co-authors David McCaffrey and Rogelio Oliva) presented a study towards a dynamic theory of rule compliance. They use a rich empirical data set (violations of rules at the New York Stock Exchange) to formulate their hypotheses and create a formal model of rule compliance. Similar to Salge, they report on an "eroding goals" behaviour, i.e. the fact that there is a positive feedback to decrease the compliance with rules as long as no immediate and substantial sanctions are to be feared.

The third presentation was by Lin Jun, who wrote a paper together with Kah Hin Chai, Yoke San Wong and Aarnout Brombacher. Their topic is distributed development processes between companies, which have become more common in the last years. The focus of the study is on information flows between the companies in a distributed development network. As a case study, they use the development and production of mobile phones in South China.

In the last presentation of this session, Kambiz Maani talked about the conflict between production and manufacturing engineering. His co-author is Qiang Lu. As a case study, they report on conflicts between the two functional areas in an electronics plant in Singapore. As a main problem, they identify role and task ambiguity. The effects are that burden-shifting, fighting for resources and cutting corners occur.

Andreas Größler

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System Dynamics in Action, Plenary Session, Monday, July 18

This afternoon's plenary session moderated by John Sterman featured prominent members of the system dynamics practitioner community including Nick Pudar, Vince Barabba, Winston Ledet, Paul Monus and discussant Mark Paich. Nick stressed that system dynamics work needs to be part of something else to be successful and that the something else is a focus on value creation for clients. In the role of "passionate advocate" of value creation, he noted that the model is almost never a central part of the discussion. This point was nicely illustrated by Vince Barabba as he recounted how an important modeling project done in a rush helped people shift their focus from the model to what they were learning about the problem itself. Winston Ledet spoke about the development and use of the maintenance game at DuPont and the learning process that managers and organizations must go through to improve. Paul Monus spoke about the rapid improvement process made at BP's Lima refinery and the challenge of sustaining improved patterns of behavior. Mark Paich emphasized the importance of packaging insights in a way appropriate to the audience and the value of system dynamics as an integrating framework across functions and data sources. Overall, the comments spoke to the importance of understanding the organizational context for modeling efforts and showed the serious attention that great practitioners give to that context.

Scott Rockart

Learning, Resources and Growth, Parallel Session, Monday, July 18

This Monday morning parallel session consisted of three presentations, all of which were presented in a clear and entertaining manner. Session chair was Abhijit Mandal.

In the beginning, Carmine Bianchi reported on a paper that he wrote together with Graham Winch. In this paper, they investigate the dynamics of what they call "dwarf firms," i.e. firms with less than ten employees. What is interesting to explore about this kind of company is the fact that they usually exist for a long time (several generations) without ever showing substantial growth. Bianchi and Winch modelled the structure of a typical "dwarf firm" and conducted several simulation experiments to better understand the growth paths of such micro-companies.

The second presenter was Lewlyn Rodrigues, who wrote a paper together with his co-authors Morvin Martis and G. Krishnamurthy. Their broad topic of interest is the integration of knowledge management and human resource management. Specifically, they investigated the pool of (potential and actual) engineers in India and their level of competence. In order to explain and fight unemployment of engineers, which is believed to be affected by the existence of a competence gap, they conducted simulation studies with special emphasis on changing time parameters in the scenarios.

As the third presenter, Abhijit Mandal presented a conceptual paper on the linkage between mental models and organisational performance. In particular, he connects his results to findings from other fields of research. As a source of problems in organisational settings, he identifies the existence of too many or too few differences between the mental models of organisational members. He reports on a case study from the British insurance industry.

Andreas Größler

Group Modeling, Parallel Session, Tuesday, July 19

This session chaired by Professor David Andersen consisted of four presentations:

The first presentation was "Reflections on Theory Building and Theory Integration Following a System Dynamics Approach" by Birgit Kopainsky and Luis Luna-Reyes. The authors argued that the procedures and characteristics of system dynamics model conceptualization have striking parallels with the process of theory building as described in many different strands of literature. The main purpose of this paper was to illustrate the modelling process as a theory building effort. The authors also introduced a set of criteria to assess good theories and reflections on the further development of these criteria for model validation purposes.

The second presentation was "Paramilitary Demobilization in Colombia - Insights from a System-Dynamics Based Seminar Game" by R. Evan Ellis. This paper presents insights from an interactive seminar game using system dynamics to help the US Latin American policy community explore issues associated with the process of paramilitary demobilization in Colombia. The author argued that the gaming mode and rapid causal tracing capabilities of Vensim created an interactive event in which players generated a rich set of strategic interactions in a hands-on learning environment.

The third presentation was "On Aspects of System Analysis and Dynamics Workflow" by Hördur Haraldsson, with Harald Sverdrup. The purpose of this paper is to discuss aspects of organizing the workflow in modelling using a systems analysis approach to system dynamics, and to illustrate how the modeller can make use of a checklist to inspect the iterative modelling process from a qualitative model into a quantitative and computerized numerical model. The authors argued that the most important aspect of the process is to systematically adhere to the principles of the learning loop, sometimes called the adaptive learning process, and to be totally consistent in all system maps created.

The final presentation was "Group Modeling of IT-Based Innovations in the Public Sector" by Luis Luna-Reyes, with Ignacio Martinez-Moyano, Theresa Pardo, Anthony Cresswell, David Andersen and George Richardson. This paper extended the discussion about scripts in GMB (Andersen and Richardson 1997, "Scripts for Group Model Building," System Dynamics Review 13(2):107-129). A sequence of scripts that constitute a comprehensive and practical description of the group model building approach at Albany was presented. Along with a detailed description of each script, the authors presented a series of process-related products that illustrate the process in a way that researchers and practitioners interested in building models with groups could use and replicate. The authors presented detailed documentation of eight different scripts used in a GMB project in 2001. The eight scripts are SCRIPT 1: Activity and Script Planning, SCRIPT 2: Logistics and Room Arrangements; SCRIPT 3: Hopes and Fears; SCRIPT 4: Concept Model; SCRIPT 5: Variable Elicitation; SCRIPT 6: Reference Modes Elicitation; SCRIPT 7: Structure Elicitation; SCRIPT 8: Reflector Feedback. The authors argued that documenting and reflecting about different approaches is without a doubt an important step towards the accumulation of replicable knowledge in GMB.

Yangang Xing

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Understanding and Evaluating Market Entry, Parallel Session, Tuesday, July 19

This session paired two papers investigating entry decisions into national pharmaceutical markets. Martin Simon discussed "the challenging task for a country manager to convince senior management at the headquarters early on that their global strategy for the launch of a new pharmaceutical might not succeed in the local market" and how the model building process helped managers in that task. Jeff Furman, encouraged to attend and present by discussant Scott Rockart, discussed a large sample econometric evaluation of how firm strategies (particularly national entry strategies for pharmaceutical firms) "vary across and interact with national institutional environments." As discussant, Scott Rockart took the opportunity to highlight the strong connections between the two papers in terms of research questions (both papers addressed how entry strategies of pharmaceutical firms differ across national boundaries) and the equally strong differences between the papers in terms of research method (model building versus econometric evaluation) and argued for the benefits of and need for a stronger connection between case-based modeling in system dynamics and large scale empirical work.

Scott Rockart

Cognition, Innovation and Strategy, Parallel Session, Tuesday, July 19

This session highlighted two prominent organizational scholars from outside the system dynamics tradition speaking about the effects of organizational design on innovation. Michael Tushman from Harvard spoke about his new research exploring "…the relations between alternative organizational designs and a firm's ability to explore as well as exploit" and Alva Taylor spoke about his research on "the role of internal competition on the rate and process of technology integration and organizational learning." Discussant and session organizer Scott Rockart used this opportunity to highlight the strength of the research design of the two papers (multiple-case studies with careful observation and construction of numerical measures for abstract constructs) and argued strongly for the benefits of expanding from predominantly single-case based modeling efforts in system dynamics to larger multiple-case based research designs.

Scott Rockart

Learning From Experiments, Plenary Session, Tuesday, July 19

Andy Ford chaired the well attended plenary session "Learning from Experiments" and John Sterman opened the discussion with some deliberations on the presented research:

"Experimental Economics for Market Design" by Klaus Vogstad, Santiago Arango, Hans Ivar Skjelbred

"Mental Models, Decision Making and Performance in Complex Tasks" by Shayne Gary, Robert Wood

These two very inspiring experimental studies working with flight simulators both deal with improving efficiency in complex decision environments. While the study "Experimental Economics for Market Design" aims at understanding efficient institutions in the Swedish green certificate market design, the study in "Mental Models, Decision Making and Performance in Complex Tasks" aims at testing the relationship between task complexity, mental model accuracy and performance within a management task - managing a new product through the product lifecycle. According to Gode and Sunder (in Sunder 2002), efficiency is necessarily a joint product of the rules of the institution and the behaviour of agents (cited in Smith 2002: 517). Following his reasoning both studies can be seen as complementary.

The first study builds on the tradition of experimental economics. In order to study price formation processes individuals are engaged in flight simulator experiments that mimic different market institutions, such as different green certificate market designs. No artificial decision assumptions need to be captured within the simulation model, since the individuals represent the decision makers. This study builds on previous system dynamics work on dynamics of a coupled electricity market and tradable green certificates (Vogstad, Kristensen, Wolfang 2003) showing that trading and investment behaviour are critical factors in analyzing the market dynamics. Therefore in the follow-up study the decision rules of agents in the model were replaced by real individuals as decision makers. In controlled laboratory conditions with students, fourteen different experiments showed that the tested TGC market designs were not efficient. In addition, representing the observed mix of trading strategies in a system dynamics model would be very challenging.

According to the winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, Vernon L. Smith, this kind of constructivist rationality - where worthwhile institutions were and should be created by conscious deductive reason - should be coupled with an ecological rationality order with an evolutionary adaptation path. If a promising experimental institution result is implemented in the field, further evolutionary change in the light of practice and of operational forces not tested in the experiments, might be working on continuously improving the institution. "In order to understand such social phenomena it is essential to investigate the workings of unseen processes that will enable us to probe beyond the anthropocentric limitations of constructivism" (Prize lecture 2002). While this statement is in line with the basic aspirations of system dynamics of understanding driving forces and unintended consequences the portrayed study illustrates that this line of research charts the way into the field of experimental economics. It is blessed by a Nobel Prize winner who acknowledges that feedback loops are essential concepts for understanding human society. "We have become accustomed to the idea that a natural system like the human body or an ecosystem regulates itself. To explain the regulation, we look for feedback loops rather than a central planning and directing body. But somehow our intuitions about self-regulating do not carry over to the artificial systems of human society" (Prize lecture 2002:502).

The second study builds on an experimental study design using a flight simulator that offers a dynamic decision environment for which underlying causal relationships are known to the researchers. This allows researchers to explicitly measure mental model accuracy and its effect on the performance of individuals working on the artificial management task. The task was adopted from previous research about learning in experimental markets (see Paich & Sterman 1993). The participants had to manage decision variables, such as price and production capacity, with the goal of maximizing cumulative profit from the sales of their product. Mental models were assessed through a questionnaire that measured participants' recognition and recall of causal relationships between variables in the decision environment. The experiments showed that task complexity along with cognitive ability are significant predictors of mental model accuracy and performance. This study not only provides empirical evidence for the often formulated hypothesis that poor performance on complex tasks is due to inaccurate mental models and misperception of feedback process. It also offers a theory based measurement instrument for evaluating the accuracy of mental models.

Sterman highlighted the value of such interactive experimental modelling studies for the field of system dynamics. They build on the research tradition established around the flagship of system dynamics - the Beer Game. Both studies enhance established knowledge and contribute to the accumulation of a common knowledge base in the field of system dynamics.

Both research teams show innovative research approaches that help bridge the gap between other relevant research communities having similar research traditions, for example those that are represented by the two winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, Daniel Kahneman and Vernon L. Smith.

Silvia Ulli-Beer

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Alternative Methodologies--Techniques, Parallel Session, Tuesday, July 19


Four papers were presented in the parallel session entitled "Alternative Methodologies--Techniques." This session was an opportunity to show a large variety of modelling techniques and approaches. These papers differ from each other in two manners--not only because the techniques presented are all different but also because they are considered from diverse perspectives and for different purposes. Indeed some of them are believed to be very complementary to system dynamics, and their combination might lead to the development of some kind of hybrid models, whereas the others are seen as alternative methods rather than complementary ones.

In the first category, there was the paper presented by Peter Hovmand that combines system dynamics with social networks and GIS (Geographical Information Systems). More precisely a geographic and a social network model both based on graph theory were combined then integrated to a system dynamics model via the application of matrices. Such developments are crucial to add a spatial dimension to system dynamics modelling.

Labedz Stalker

Another paper addressing a human resources problem, by Chester Labedz and George Stalker, set out the advantages of combining agent based modelling with system dynamics. It appears that the combination of the two allows linking a micro-level characterised by heterogeneous employee attributes to a macro-level that corresponds to strategic concerns such as business results. The translation mechanisms between these two interacting levels are operated in the model via a meso-level in which human resources programs and practices intervene. This work is not completed yet but it shows how such a research question needs both an agent approach and a system dynamics approach (simulating a more aggregate level behaviour) to be answered. To summarize, these two papers showed how alternative modelling techniques can be incorporated in a system dynamics environment, and all the advantages that might be expected from such combining.


In the second category of papers, John Morecroft and Stewart Robinson developed two independent models looking at the same problem (fisheries). They compared results from system dynamics and discrete-event simulations, and they agreed that these two ways of modelling are primarily based on key philosophical differences. By opposing deterministic complexity and constrained randomness these two approaches look differently at the same problem, but according to the two experts they yield complementary insights. Indeed if these two approaches were compared, and the authors did not intend to combine them, results appear very complementary in their insights.


The fourth presentation, Alan McLucas and Michael Ryan, focused on lessons to be learned by working with another discipline, i.e. system engineering. The authors explained that the two disciplines have the same interest in understanding complex systems but different application domains (i.e. technical vs. socio-technical systems, the latter including soft variables). More especially system dynamics modelling might learn from model building techniques and development concepts that are used in system engineering. All these papers gave very interesting insights for further developments in system dynamics.

Valerie Gacogne

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Psychology, Parallel Session, Tuesday, July 19

In this session four papers were presented. The first presentation, by Sawicka et al., described a model of cognitive load. This research was motivated by the poor performance of subjects in management flight simulators. Although subjects have complete information, they fail to steer a system in the right direction. Three types of cognitive load are included in the model: intrinsic, extraneous and germane load. The presenters analyse model runs by distinguishing five phases in model behavior. The research is continued to devise guidelines for design of teaching material and simulators.

The second paper, by Brehmer and colleagues, described heuristics in dynamic decision making. Frequency gambling is a heuristic on which people may rely when dealing with complex situations. In the research presented here, 46 students were involved in a fire fighting task. Their performance can best be described as "better safe than sorry." Results indicate that frequency gambling is used in some trials but not in all.

The third presentation, by Kim, focuses on psychological gaps between constructors and interpreters of causal diagrams. Kim uses three psychological theories to interpret the communication problems between these two parties: theories on dissipation effects, dilution and concentration. The results of a study with students indicate that the dissipation and dilution effect are small.

The last presentation, by Hong, is on the topic of motor behavior. The central question in motor behavior is how the human nervous system deals with so many degrees of freedom. The theory of Goldratt on constraints is used to explain effects of training motor behavior. Goldratt's model is used to explain training effects, showing for example that learning happens on more than one time scale, and that learning at the smallest time scale plateaus very quickly.

Etiënne Rouwette

Peer Review Meeting, Tuesday, July 19

A small group of interested reviewers met to discuss the conference review process. The group contained first-time reviewers as well as more experienced ones. In general, everyone felt that the system dynamics peer review process is a positive one and provides valuable feedback to the conference participants.

The following is a summary of the discussion topics for further consideration:

    1. Peer review guidelines for practitioner and academic papers would help.
    2. Creation of reviewer profiles would help with assignment of papers for review.
    3. Inclusion of the System Dynamics Conference Proceedings in the ISI would provide participants with academic credit and subsequently increase participation.
    4. A super-reviewer should check reviews for "one-liners" prior to release to authors to ensure completeness.
    5. Authors should have an opportunity to request a second opinion if they doubt the validity of a review.
    6. There should be an explanation of the process used to assign a paper to plenary, parallel, or poster sessions, e.g., who, why, and how.
    7. What is the relationship between a reviewer's suggestion to submit to the System Dynamics Review and the Proceedings, i.e., does one preclude the other?
    8. Is there a way to better support poster presentations with sufficient environments for dialog?
    9. Would "senior" reviewers consider mentoring papers deemed appropriate for the System Dynamics Review but not yet fully formed?

Warren Tignor

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Health Care Capacity, Health Stream Parallel Session, Tuesday, July 19

Chaired by Eric Wolstenholme

"A System Dynamics Model of Health Care Surge Capacity," by Alexander Lubyansky
Alexander provided slide handouts, which outlined work with a home care association in exploring the role of community involvement in emergency situations by taking the load off hospitals using distributed community facilities. The surge took 840 hours to regain equilibrium, and reducing hospital admissions decreased staff load 20% in simulation model runs. Workload was measured by staff patient task ratios and length of stay.

"Exploring the Strategies of Hospitals Facing a Global Budget and Evaluating its Effects in Taiwan," by Lihlian Hwang
Lihlian presented issues associated with Taiwan's move from global budgets to national health insurance in 1995. This was followed by a large deficit in 1998, which was responded to by reintroducing global budgeting in 2002 and simulating methods to reduce hospital overruns, including the impact of out-of-pocket patient charges on hospital demand.

"Coping but not Coping in Health and Social Care - Masking the Reality of Running Organisations beyond Design Capacity," by Eric Wolstenholme, David Monk, Gill Smith, Douglas McKelvie
Eric presented his long UK experiences, especially modeling flows of older people across health and social care at the national, local health authority and disease programs, including mental health. He re-emphasised boundaries and processes crossing boundaries and informal responses to capacity constraints, from his Oxford Jay W. Forrester award acceptance talk. His modeling of medical and surgical patient flows indicated bottlenecks, whereas the data supported an equilibrium state. Pressure to make the performance numbers created an illusion of coping. However several coping policies were in place that were not sustainable. Post acute community care produced expensive deficits and was self limiting. Send elsewhere resulted in losing patients especially ward outliers, with poor quality and rework. These detrimental workarounds were not always discussable, nor the extent of unintended consequences. This produced a picture of no bottlenecks (meeting performance targets) but cost escalation. Eric reflected whether data drives action or action drives data. System dynamics modeling surfaces inconsistencies and informal policies; informal actions are major sources of hidden feedback. Often hospital output flow data does not match home care inflow data, for example. Observers are eagerly awaiting the impact on the data of the current UK NHS major investment in capacity to March 2007.

Geoff McDonnell and Mark Heffernan

Hospital Operations, Health Stream Parallel Session, Tuesday, July 19

Chaired by Mark Heffernan.

"Evaluating the Impacts of Time-Reduction Legislation on Junior Doctor Training and Service," by Sonja Derrick, Graham Winch, Beryl Badger, Joan Chandler, Jenny Lovett, Tim Nokes
Sonja, who has an economics and management background, presented work in progress with the Plymouth Health Authority UK, planning for the impact of the EU directive and financial penalties for exceeding working hours. There was a need to explicitly classify junior doctor activity into service and training, take account of national and local policy feedbacks, account for the move to working shifts rather than overtime, and collect consistent baseline data. The directive has also led to restructuring the doctors' training program. Explicit performance criteria and data also needed to be established. Activities were placed along a training service continuum according to a questionnaire. The initial complex system dynamics model was communicated as causal loop diagrams, then revised to a much simpler model, focussing on impacts of reducing hours and length of training. There appeared to be short planning timeframes and a crisis management approach.

"Lab Turnaround Time and Delayed Discharges: A Systems-Based Action Research Investigation," by Timothy Quinn, Jenny Rudolph, David Fairchild
Tim received a student paper commendation for this work. He described a complex large hospital environment, with stakeholder perspectives and cross-functional tensions among residents, nurses, phlebotomists and hospital administration with parochial world views. His team used flowcharts, causal loop diagrams, collected performance and built a simulation. Clinical "tribes" with rigid operational boundaries tended to blame others and mistook understaffing due to financial pressures for laziness. Although the team stuck with detailed analysis of the wrong problem for a little too long, they eventually worked together with the client to find out what was really going on.

"The Dynamics of Hospital Medication Errors: A Systems Simulator Testbed for Patient Safety Interventions," by Geoff McDonnell, Mark Heffernan
As an aside, Geoff mentioned that the Health Policy SIG now has 100 members. The paper presented work in progress, using system dynamics to model the interaction between context and process in generating and intercepting medication errors. The main purpose of the model is to test and evaluate the impact of information and communications technology interventions on hospital medication error. An extension includes modeling the interaction between process and task interaction, combining system dynamics with agent based methods, the subject of a Thursday Workshop at the conference. Also, the power of compelling and engaging animations, using metaphors familiar to the audience, including the Swiss cheese model of organisational safety, was briefly demonstrated. More at

Geoff McDonnell and Mark Heffernan

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Modelling for Development, Plenary Session, Wednesday, July 20

Chaired by Bob Eberlein

"Dynamic Analysis of MDG Interventions: The Ghana Pilot," by Matteo Pedercini, Gerald Barney

With the Threshold 21 (T21) model M. Pedercini presented a comprehensive development framework that refers explicitly to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations. The MDGs proclaimed for 2015 provide a heavy challenge for individual countries as well as for the global community. The UN Millennium project team has therefore conducted a comprehensive cross-country analysis of the interventions and the investments required to achieve the MDGs. The applied methodology, however, cannot address two important issues: (1) the impact of the MDG-related interventions on the economic and demographic development of the country under study and (2) the possible synergies and dissynergies among different MDG interventions. In the Ghana pilot project the Millennium Institute used the T21 framework in order to complement the Millennium project approach by adding additional feedbacks and analyzing the impact on the target indicators and on the estimated investment.

The T21 framework has been developed as a response to the fact that the World Bank and IMF used (and still use) methodological tools for the evaluation of national policies that do not take into account major feedbacks between the economic, social, and ecological sectors. T21 is a holistic and stakeholder based approach that refers to the macro-economic level of a national economy. It builds on a classical Cobb-Douglas production function, which is disaggregated and complemented by additional influencing elements, such as education, health, etc. Furthermore it includes the feedback of production on these respective elements, thus providing the key feedback processes that drive the economic growth.

The T21 model has been applied and customized for more than 20 countries worldwide. To name a few: In Malawi T21 is used now for the development of the Policy Framework Paper that is required by the IMF. T21 has also been applied for the USA with a special focus on sustainability issues. The T21 approach is looked upon as a whole development framework, rather than a mere model.

On behalf of UNDP the Millennium Institute applied T21 in Ghana for the analysis of the country's strategy to achieve the MDGs. The work built on the analysis of the MDG interventions that had already been carried out. In workshops with stakeholders additional feedbacks were identified (e.g. total MDG expenditure on GDP thus reducing resource needs from abroad) and their impact discussed. Issues of time lag (e.g. related to population growth, child mortality, and health care) had been brought to mind and their consequences were clarified.

M. Pedercini finally presented the Millennium Institute's vision for the future, which is strongly directed towards capacity building and empowerment of people in the use of system dynamics for sustainable development. With regard to the application of T21 a special focus will be on developing countries and especially on Africa. For more information visit: or contact [email protected].

"SymBancTM: A Simulator for Microfinance Institutions," by Gary B. Hirsch, Guy Stuart, Jay K. Rosengard, Don E. Johnston, Jr.

The presenters gave a short introduction to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) with their specificities, demonstrated the basic structure of SymBancTM, and discussed a few typical results.

Microfinance has become more popular in the last years as a promising instrument for reducing poverty. Moreover, 2005 has been declared the UN's year of micro-credit, which has raised public awareness of these financial services for the poor. MFIs cover a wide range of services (savings, credit, insurance, remittances and payment transfers), and they can be focused on financial intermediation, economic development, poverty alleviation, or women's empowerment (or all of these). Though these institutions are growing it has to be made clear that their market share is still marginal with currently between 60m and 70m active clients worldwide, most of them in South and East Asia. MFIs have to decide whether they will serve urban and/or rural areas, if they give loans for women, for men, or for both, if they address individuals or groups, and if they provide credit and savings or only credit. All these strategic questions have a direct impact on the performance of the institutions, the design of their products, and on the sources of external funding. Microfinance is based on mostly non-formal information about the applicants and therefore appropriate mechanisms of stepwise procedures (step lending, delinquency management) have been developed in order to tightly manage repayment.

These strategic decisions have been implemented in SymBancTM, which provides a learning environment for students as well as for experienced practitioners. The game simulates the startup of a MFI and is played over an eight-year period. The users have to decide about the loan products, about staffing and investment in facilities, including incentives for loan managers, etc., and also about their strategy concerning the sources of funding. The performance is tracked on various levels, ranging from a "P&L" (profit and loss) statement to detailed information about the different driving variables.

The successful strategies that have been demonstrated are based on a balance of growth (mainly the speed of branch network expansion) and generating equity. The simulator also makes it possible to discuss the impact of external shocks (e.g. an economic crisis) on otherwise effective strategies.

Future versions of SymBancTM will include further features; just to name a few: enhanced options related to the financial products and the target market; more elaborate reflections on the country's macroeconomic environment including market and regulatory conditions; multi-user version for networked and Internet use. SymBancTM can be downloaded from

Justus Gallati

Analytical Techniques, Parallel Session, Wednesday, July 20

The sole session of the conference devoted to analytical techniques in system dynamics was chaired by Jim Duggan. The session drew a considerable audience apparently from academia as well as non-academia. The presentations stimulated questions from the audience, which led to a fruitful discussion environment. Interestingly, two of the four papers presented were on the application of eigenvalue elasticity analysis as a loop dominance analysis tool.

The first presenter, Rogelio Oliva of Texas A&M, talked about his study (with Christian Kampmann of Denmark Technical University) on demonstrating the application of eigenvalue elasticity analysis on three models with different characteristics. Instead of using the traditional elasticity measure, they introduce a modified measure to quantify the effect of each loop on the behavior modes of the model. Their results indicate that the utility of the method depends upon the character of the model and dynamics involved. Of the three applications the one on the Lorenz model, famous from the chaos literature, was the most interesting. This is the first reported application of the eigenvalue elasticity analysis on a model that exhibits chaotic behavior. The analysis was unable to detect a well-defined pattern of loop dominance when the model was in chaotic region. This is a bad start but I believe the methodology should be tested on other famous nonlinear models exhibiting chaotic behavior. They developed a design for a web-based toolbox to make the methods readily available to a wider audience.

The second presentation was also on eigenvalue elasticity analysis. Burak Güneralp from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign presented the improvements his study brought forward over the traditional eigenvalue elasticity analysis. The improvements suggested by Güneralp address the chronic problems of the methodology in its traditional form. One of these improvements is the ability to base the loop dominance analysis on the behavior of a specific variable of interest, which was actually raised by Oliva as an issue requiring attention in future studies. Another was the ability to map the relative dominances of loops over the behavior of interest over time. He applied the proposed methodology on three models, one of which is the well-known economic long-wave model of Sterman (1985). The proposed methodology gave rise to a new understanding in the behavior of long-wave model. Güneralp developed computer codes for the implementation of the proposed methodology too.

The third presenter was Michael Fletcher. His topic was on an analytical treatment of collaboration dynamics. His motivation for the study was the lack of any sound discussion in the literature on how in fact collaboration works. To this end, he has built a system dynamics model to represent collaborative knowledge building between two analysts. The model mainly consists of three parts: Document (Information or data) flow, analysts attempting to gain knowledge about that set, and collaborative interaction between two analysts. His findings indicate that high operational tempo as in a competitive environment creates good ground for collaboration. However, there are certain other conditions for which there are reasons not to collaborate. The connections between these rationales and their implications for real social systems are discussed in the paper in detail.

The final presenter, Jim Duggan of National University of Ireland, discussed how multi-objective optimization (MOO) can be used to assist policy makers to explore a richer set of alternatives when deciding on a range of values for key parameters in their system dynamics models. The benefit of the MOO approach is that it generates-using genetic algorithms-a set of non-dominated solutions, which can be evaluated before making a final selection. He demonstrated the approach on a well-known case study: the Domestic Manufacturing Company. For this purpose, a multiple objective optimizer was designed and coded. He shared the results of the application and showed that feasible results were generated. His methodology allows for a greater insight into the problem at hand before a decision is made as to the most appropriate solution.

Burak Güneralp

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Economic Transitions, Parallel Session, Wednesday, July 20

The first paper, by Brian Dangerfield, entitled "Towards a Transition to a Knowledge Economy: How System Dynamics is Helping Sarawak Plan its Economic and Social Evolution," reports on a system dynamics model designed to provide a planning aid which can be used by senior state officials and ministers in discharging their role in steering the transition from a production-based economy to a knowledge-based economy in the state of Sarawak in East Malaysia. The paper reports on a series of illustrative experiments in the education and human capital sector along with the workforce sector of the model. The experiments so far yield useful insights which argue for the successful completion of the work. In addition, positive engagement with State government officials at the highest level has put system dynamics on the map in this corner of Southeast Asia.

In the second paper, entitled "A System Dynamics Approach to Simulation of Tax Policy for Traditional and Internet Phone Services," Chao-Yueh Liu and Wei-Tsong Wang build a system dynamics model to gain insight into the interactions between the Voice Over Internet Protocol, the traditional phone market and tax policy. The purpose of the model is to understand market competition between traditional phone companies and IP phone companies, how current tax policies affect telephone market competition, and the possible trend of declining tax revenues, and to test the impact of different tax policies. Based on a series of model simulations the authors conclude that tax policy has little influence on market competition and that traditional telephone markets will continue to decline independent of the specific tax policy.

The third paper, "Classical Economics on Limits to Growth" by Khalid Saeed, reconstructs classical economic growth models using system dynamics. It specifically includes the demographic, environmental, and social limits to growth as posited in the classical economic growth models of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx and Joseph Schumpeter and demonstrates their behavior using computer simulation. The limiting factors often consist of soft factors that are difficult to quantify but have a significant impact on the behavior of the economy such as social conflicts and entrepreneurial processes. System dynamics modeling allows reinstatement of such soft variables into models of economic behavior. In order to arrive at realistic policy options the paper makes a case for taking a pluralistic view of the growth process and for reincorporating a multitude of institutions driving the growth process.

The discussion centered around the limits to economic growth, among other topics. One conclusion was that economic growth is very likely to be constrained by soft limits first whereas hard limits such as demographic limits and capacity constraints will only come second.

Birgit Kopainsky

Improving Health Systems, Health Stream Parallel Session, Wednesday, July 20

Chaired by Bobby Milstein.

"Futures through the Eyes of a Health System Simulator," by Peter Lacey
Peter presented an Ithink macro model for a UK Strategic Health Authority. He described his journey in convincing managers to move past a "What's the answer black box" to an explicit consistent logical framework and simulation to help struggle with complexity. The Authority is gradually moving from decisions without evidence to managing capacity and change. The engagement started with a soft rich picture and a web simulator was delivered over 6-9 months. Key assumptions were made explicit: what-if planning impacts were explored, including increase intermediates care and LOS sensitivity. Language became more explicit. Workforce was linked to capacity planning including four medical levels.

"System Dynamics Modeling for Long Term Care Policy," by Hyunjung Kim, James Goggi
Hyunjung described a long term care simulation project to model the impact of a single point of entry (SPOE) policy on cost quality. The modeling team tried to focus on analysis, while the client wanted to use the project to "sell the policy." Little numeric data was forthcoming and the success of the policy depended on assumed unmet need in the community and needed to consider the possibility that extra POE Capacity may be under-utilised. System dynamics was chosen based on past experience. Team interactions with the client were generally defensive, occurring twice per week for six months. Final report is still undecided.

"Achieving Health Care Reform in the United States: Toward a Whole-System Understanding," by Gary Hirsch, Jack Homer, Geoff McDonnell, Bobby Milstein
Jack outlined the paper and updated the audience on the HPSIG workshop held the Sunday of the conference and reported by Gary Hirsch here. He summarised Steffie Woolhandler's description of the large problem the US has with healthcare cost quality and access and briefly outlined the stakeholder map and causal loop diagrams. Gary outlined the types of reform, the difficulty of single focus reforms and pure philosophical approaches being implemented. He reported on the key areas for discussion at the Nijmegen conference. Options raised include working on a common representation of international health systems, reform experiences and issues, explicitly representing power flows and focussing on fixing coverage, and whether to simulate at a national or regional level. Internet discussions will continue within the HPSIG in preparation for Nijmegen in 2006 and Boston in 2007.

Geoff McDonnell and Mark Heffernan

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Operations Management Models, Parallel Session, Wednesday, July 20

Quite a few people attended this parallel session, chaired by Marcus Schroeter, and the number of questions raised by participants evidences the relevance of the topics analysed by the authors of the four researches presented.

The first paper, "The Influence of Schedule Targets on Project Performance," was discussed by Qifan Wang, who described his research by explaining the underlying system dynamics model and how the simulation results gave evidence of the negative effects of ambitious schedule pressures on project performance.

Jan Juerging presented the second paper, "Interdependencies of Product Development Decisions and the Production Ramp-up," whose focus was on the effects of a production ramp-up on companies' yields. Though managers are mainly concerned with the reduction of the "time to market," the author showed on a graph how two companies producing hard drives achieved quite different revenues because of their different performance in terms of "time to volume."

The presentation of the third paper, "Evaluating Fleet Maintenance and Management Strategies through a System Dynamics Model in a City Bus Company," was conducted by the two authors. Enzo Bivona introduced the research topic by illustrating how traditional management tools are inadequate to support fleet and maintenance managers in evaluating the trade-off between costs and benefits related to different policies and the interdependencies between their performance and the results of other company's sub-areas. Giovan Battista Montemaggiore then described a consulting project in which the authors built a system dynamics management flight simulator to support fleet and maintenance management in two Italian city bus companies.

Marcus Schroeter presented the last paper of the session, "A System Dynamics Model for Strategic Management of Spare Parts in Closed-Loops Supply Chains." This presentation focused on a case study to illustrate how a system dynamics model can help companies in the evaluation of different spare parts management policies by comparing their relative net present value.

The papers presented in this parallel session gave further evidence of how system dynamics can support managers in dealing with operational and strategic issues which are of real concern, as is demonstrated by the case-studies discussed by the authors.

Giovan Battista Montemaggiore

Security 2, Parallel Session, Wednesday, July 20

Ik Jae Chung announced the start of this session.

The first paper, "Simulating Insider Cyber-Threat Risks: A Model-Based Case and a Case-Based Model," was presented by two of the co-authors, Eliot Rich and Ignacio Martinez-Moyano. Eliot mainly introduced the background of this work. This is the paper with the greatest number of authors in this conference. Eliot organized all the authors in several groups. "I will not introduce every person, otherwise, we can finish this session reading through this list." I counted - in total, 17 authors. Eliot explained that a lot of persons contributed to this work and for the purpose of capturing all the contributions, 17 persons were listed as authors. The collaboration, based on common interest in the application of system dynamics to security issues, led to the establishment of the "Security Dynamics Network" ( SDN is individually based. Members of the group have been working on various projects. However, people also commit to work jointly to improve the visibility of the work and the approach. Considering the number and diversity of papers at various conferences, it effectively demonstrated the increasing interest in a system dynamics approach to information security problems. If anyone is interested in this topic and would like to know more about the research projects, please feel free to contact Jose J. Gonzalez (the chair of the Security SIG). Email: [email protected].

Ignacio Martinez-Moyano presented the specific case of this study. The paper focuses on the long-term fraud threat, and uses this as the basis for examination of the motives and tradeoffs that organizations and individuals make in thinking about their internal security systems. The case and the model combine to countervail the common presumption that firms are playing a zero-sum game where increased security comes at the expense of production (and vice versa). This erroneous view leads to systematic under-investment in security. Through the simulation, the user learns through experimentation to find an appropriate level of security that maximizes financial returns for the company, and learns that increased expenditures on security may lead to increased profitability.

The second paper, "Limits to Effectiveness in Computer Security Incident Response Teams," was presented by Jose Gonzalez. The preliminary results of the paper indicate that the theory of the "Capability Trap" is useful for understanding why a CSIRT can experience problems in staying effective. The typical over-stretched resource situation in a CSIRT strongly re-enforces the CSIRT to work harder and harder which further reduces its capability to improve. People under pressure will tend to choose short-term solutions, such as working harder, to achieve tangible results quickly. This is opposed to long-term solutions, such as tool development, where the effect is delayed and more intangible. A CSIRT that has over-stretched its resources over a long time period must be prepared to go through a worse-before-better scenario to escape the "Capability Trap."

Agata Sawicka gave the presentation for the third paper, "Managing CSIRT Capacity as a Renewable Resource Management Challenge: An Experimental Study." This is an experiment study. The experiment is based on Erling Moxnes' reindeer experiment. The experiment is formed in such a way that almost everything remains the same, except the content is changed from raising reindeer to managing a CSIRT. The purpose of the experiment is to see 1) whether people make different decisions for different content; and 2) whether people could understand the dynamics of managing CSIRT capacity. The result of this experiment is highly similar to the reindeer experiment. Therefore, it shows that no matter what the content is, people in general have difficulty in grasping the dynamics of the system. After the experiment and the debriefing section, when the participants (students) were shown how to find out the best solution, they were asked to write a short report on what could be improved to facilitate their decision making, i.e. what could help them identify the dynamic. The author is trying to do further study to improve the communication/learning of dynamics to an audience. Actually, this study is not only interesting to security group people; it could also be helpful to all people working with system dynamics. Communication with an audience is one important issue facing all of us.

During the following question and answer session, participants raised questions about insider and outsider threats to information security, experiment studies experience, etc. Due to the limit of the time, a lot of the questions and comments had to be left to off-meeting time. The session ended in laughter when Ik Jae Chung raised sign "0 minutes."

Ying Qian

Urban Dynamics, Research Session, Wednesday, July 20

Andrew Ford gave a short introduction to the field since 1969, when Jay Forrester published "Urban Dynamics." Despite some research that has been carried out based on this model system dynamics has never become an established method in urban planning. What are the reasons for that? First, system dynamics in general - and "Urban Dynamics" especially - often lack a spatial dimension; and secondly, the problem definition has to be embedded in a participatory process involving the main groups of stakeholders. These two challenges should be addressed in future in order to make the strengths of system dynamics useful for urban planning.

In the research session the following issues were addressed:

"US Low Income Housing Policy - A Dynamic System Evaluation," by Karen Jarzynka
K. Jarzynka is revisiting "Urban Dynamics" with regard to the fact that urban poverty and low income housing projects are heavily determined by elderly people and single parents, a fact that was not considered in the original model. In the "Urban Dynamics" model access to better housing for example is provided through workforce, which does not hold true for elderly people. Other recent trends are the increasing workforce of women. K. Jarzynska plans to investigate various low income housing policies and their determinants. With regard to Forrester's model she asks the question, if it provides a valuable model for the evaluation of these policies under current conditions. To what extent can/must the original model be reframed in order to encompass these recent findings?

"Regional Industrial Development Based on the Dynamics of the Technological Innovation Cycle," by Maria Angelica Martinez Medina, Carlos Scheel, Gloria Perez Salazar, Roberto Rodriguez
M. Angelica Martinez Medina focused on the industrial development on a regional level. She presented a framework for the modelling of emerging industries combining three levels of complexity (activities at the firm level, networks of industries, and supporting organizations at the regional level). The methodology refers to a notion of industrial ecosystems and implies the measurement of the relative attractiveness of regions based on a set of eight parameters. The model has been applied to the biotechnology sector.

"Some Contributions toward Spatial Urban Dynamics," by Akira Uchino, Nobuhide Tanake, Yukata Takahashi, Tetsuma Furihata
A. Uchino referred to the concept of "relative attractiveness" in "Urban Dynamics" as an important but vague concept. How could it be tackled in reality, e.g. for the attractiveness of cities for shopping? The team applied GIS to spatial dynamics, and was thus able to describe the agglomeration of retailers in a city. This made it possible to calculate relative attractiveness of retail areas. Still it needs a long way to an operational spatial approach for urban planning.

"Communicating the Vision of an Urban City Development: A Model," by Lubomir Kostron, Marek Susta, Ladislav Lakomy
M. Susta focused on the communication of the vision for the city of Brno. Their research comprises both the development of a model of urban dynamics (derived from Forrester's model) and reflection on learning and communication processes in a complex setting of different stakeholders. In order to test the communication it was necessary first to develop a model (adaptation of Forrester's model with additional "soft" elements such as quality of life) and to describe possible visions in order to run the model. The model incorporates also the policy dissipation, which is influenced by the communication policy. Thus the response of the citizens with regard to a) different visions and b) different communication policies is taken into account in the model. This makes it possible to derive recommendations for the communication policy that are related to the envisaged visions. In order to present the model and its insights a pictorial user interface (BUI = "Bureaucrat User Interface"…) has been created.

"A System Dynamics Approach to Sustainable Urban Development," by Ines Winz
I. Winz investigates different policy options for a sustainable urban water system in the city of Auckland (New Zealand). The city faces rapid growth to which the wastewater treatment system is not sufficiently adapted. The study addresses a set of problems that are encountered all over the world, as a large part of the world's population live in urban areas. Two problems have been named: high risk of infrastructure failures and incomplete pricing. During the discussion emphasis has been put on a clear definition of possible solutions and on the integration of stakeholders in order to set the scope for the project. The project is in its initial stage.

The final discussion mainly dealt with spatial aspects of modelling in an urban context. While on one hand the necessity for spatial disaggregation was stressed ("Socio-economic problems do have a spatial dimension"), it was also mentioned that it is important to clarify if a spatial or a temporal focus is more appropriate to the problem at hand.

Justus Gallati

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Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, Concert and Social Event at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Wednesday, July 20

A small, but feisty group of system dynamics folks and their guests enjoyed a great concert at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday evening. The concert featured the band Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, playing a traditional form of music from Louisiana. The concert was part of the Museum's Concert in the Courtyard series and the heat and humidity in this outdoor venue made it feel as if the concert was actually being held in Louisiana. The music was as hot as the weather! Zydeco melodies are driven by an accordion, played spectacularly well by Nathan himself, and supported by several other instruments including a washboard and bass. The music was so lively that, despite the heat, the audience was up and dancing by the end of the concert.

Gary Hirsch

A summary of health and related posters and research sessions:

Health Care Planning and Modeling, Poster Session, Tuesday, July 19

"Initial Experiences of Introducing System Dynamics through a Mental Health Project in North West England," by Gill Smith, Eric Wolstenholme, Dean Repper
"Balancing Supply and Demand for Dementia Care in the Netherlands," by Roel van der Sanden, Hayke Everwijn, Etiënne Rouwette, Jan Gubbels
"Flows in the Child Welfare Systems: A Computation Theory Approach to Developing Numerical Reference Modes," by Peter Hovmand, Melissa Jonson-Reid, Brett Drake
"Modeling the Health Insurance System of Germany: A System Dynamics Approach," by Stefan Grosser

Diffusion of Health Care Innovations, Poster Session, Tuesday, July 19

"Translating Insights from a Causal Loop Diagram into a Game," by Cornelia van Daalen, Pieter Bots, Michelle Hendriks, Jill Slinger
"Diffusion of an Innovative Biotechnology: The Case of Plant-Derived Vaccines using System Dynamics," by Martin Cloutier, Céline Berard, Luc Cassivi

National Health Policy, Poster Session, Wednesday, July 20

"Using Simulation to Evaluate Policies for the Financial Imbalance of the National Health Insurance in Taiwan," by Lihlian Hwang

Public Policy, Health & Education, Research Session, Wednesday, July 20

"The Care Planning Process - A Case for System Dynamics," by Marie Elf, Maria Poutilova
"Performance Evaluation of Management Information Systems in Clinical Trials: A System Dynamics Approach," by Céline Berard, Martin Cloutier, Luc Cassivi


"A Culture Out Of Balance? Obesity Among America's Children: A Dynamic System View," by Richard Althouse
"The Dynamics of Glucose Regulatory System: An Educational Tool for the Students of First Medical Year," by Fadl Ahmed, Khaled Wahba, Abdallah Ahmed
"Explaining Puzzling Dynamics: Comparing the Use of System Dynamics and Discrete-Event Simulation," by John Morecroft, Stewart Robinson

Geoff McDonnell and Mark Heffernan

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Faith and Jim Waters Receive Award

Jim Waters

The Society honored Faith and Jim Waters in special recognition for their unwavering vision, guidance and support of systems thinking and system dynamics in elementary and secondary education. An award was given at the 2005 annual conference in Boston.

Letters from Conference Participants

Loved the venue -- both the convention site and the city. The refereeing process for the papers is outstanding and is probably part of the reason for the improvement in the quality of the papers over the short time (four years) I've been attending the conference.

Steve Conrad

The Dana Meadows Award ceremony was, once again, one of the highlights of the conference! Inspirational.

Drew Jones

This is my first System Dynamics Conference, but I was impressed by the way the conference treated people. It was so friendly and warm. I met a couple of scholars who have very similar ideas and will be in contact with them. Really appreciate all of your hospitality.

Hojong Baik

The conference was extremely important for me and I can assure you that what I learned there will have spillovers in terms of diffusion of the system dynamics methodology in Brazil.

Newton Paulo Bueno

Chapter and SIG News                                                                                              

Chapter and Special Interest Group Overview

Our Chapters are growing! The Society currently has fifteen chapters: Australasia, Brazil, China, Economic Dynamics, Egypt, Hellenic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latin America, Paskistan, Russian, Student, Swiss, and the United Kingdom. To find the list of Chapters, Chapter reports, contact information and their representatives, please visit the Society website at scroll down to Chapters.

There are currently five Special Interest Groups: Business, Education, Environmental Dynamics, Health Policy, and Security. Contact information for these groups is listed on the website under Society Activities.

For information on how to start a chapter or special interest group, please contact Ginny Wiley, VP Members and Chapters, at [email protected].

Economics Chapter

The Economics Chapter of the System Dynamics Society brings together academics and practitioners who are interested in the application of system dynamics to problems in economic science. The Chapter currently has over 60 members who work on such topics as monetary and fiscal policy, finance, economic development, transportation economics, and information economics. Several Chapter members are also very active in developing new curricula for teaching economics using system dynamics.

The Economics Chapter maintains a website ( and uses a mailing list as its primary means of communication. Those wishing to join the mailing list can find instructions for doing so on the Chapter website. The Chapter meets regularly at the annual System Dynamics Conference and has plans to begin meeting annually at economics conferences in the United States and Europe.

The Economics Chapter held two meetings during the 2005 International Conference of the System Dynamics Society. During these meetings the Chapter voted to change its name from the Economic Dynamics Chapter to the Economics Chapter and to replace its old system of governance, which consisted of a president and secretary, with a new system consisting of a president-elect, president, and past-president. The Chapter felt that the new governance structure would be superior because it will enable a new officer to serve for three years instead of one, and he/she can receive help in their first year from the people who are currently in office. The current chapter president is Burkhard Schade; the past president is Michael Radzicki; and the president-elect is Oleg Pavlov.

One of the themes that has repeatedly come up during Chapter discussions is how best to bring system dynamics into the economics profession. The current consensus view is that this is best accomplished by doing good work and then presenting this work to the "right" economists at the "right" economics conferences.

At present, the Chapter has identified several schools of economists who are interested in system dynamics. Generally speaking, the economists within these schools are "heterodox," which means they object to many of the tenets of traditional (orthodox) economics. The heterodox economics schools that appear to be most interested in system dynamics are Post Keynesian economics, institutional economics, ecological economics, behavioral economics, feminist economics, and computational economics.

In 2006, the Economics Chapter will begin meeting annually at the Association for Institutional Thought (AFIT) conference. The 2006 AFIT conference will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, USA in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Western Social Science Association. The Chapter is being allowed to organize two sessions at this conference and any person interested in submitting a paper is urged to contact Mike Radzicki ([email protected]).

In 2006, the Economics Chapter is also planning to participate in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Summer School in Post Keynesian, Institutionalist and Feminist Economics (June 18-24, 2006) and the Ninth International Post Keynesian Conference (September 15-19, 2006). Both of these conferences will be held at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. Additional conferences that are being considered for 2006 include EcoMod in Brussels (July 10-22, 2006), a heterodox economics conference at Lancaster University's new Institute for Advanced Studies, and the annual conference of the Society for Computational Economics in Cyprus (June 22-25, 2006).

Michael Radzicki, Oleg Pavlov, and Burkhard Schade

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Hellenic Chapter

The Chapter organized a system dynamics session in the 1st National Conference of the Hellenic Society for Systems Studies that was held in Tripolis, Arcadia on 12-14 May, 2005. The session was very successful and system dynamics was exposed to a wider audience of non-system dynamics researchers and practitioners. In addition to technical papers, the president of the Chapter, Dr. G. Papaioannou, presented an introduction to system dynamics activities in Greece.

The Chapter also organized three system dynamics sessions in the 17th National Conference of the Hellenic Operational Research Society that was held in Patras on 16-17 June, 2005. Fifteen papers were presented in these sessions. In addition, in the framework of the same conference, the Hellenic Chapter organized a plenary session where Prof. Brian Dangerfield delivered a speech on "System Dynamics: To the Tipping Point and Beyond". Prof. Dangerfield was invited by the Chapter and stayed in Patras for two days, meeting with the members of the Chapter's executive board.

On June 17, 2005, the executive board of the Chapter met and decided to organize an annual meeting at around Christmas, which will also include a winter system dynamics school. It was provisionally decided to hold the first meeting in Thessaloniki. Preparations for the meeting are underway.

The Chapter's executive committee had two meetings in August 2005 and it was decided to investigate thoroughly the possibility of submitting a proposal for the organization of the Society's annual conference in Greece, in 2008.

The new website of the Chapter is currently under construction.

Emmanuel Adamides

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Italian Chapter (SYDIC)

There has been a lot of ferment in this past academic year (2004-2005) around system dynamics in Italy. Dividing Italy geographically in three areas, North, Centre, and South, the issues indicated by SYDIC's active members can be synthetically described as following:


Milan-Bicocca University - Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences - Computer Science Department - Thesis in system dynamics applied in study of flies' life cycle (Roberto Berchi, [email protected])
Catholic University of Piacenza - Master of Management in the Network Economy - Business Simulation course, use of system dynamics methodology (Roberto Berchi, [email protected])
Bologna University - Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences - Internet Science Department - Dynamics of Complex Organisation course - use of system dynamics methodology (Edoardo Mollona, [email protected])
Research activity in system dynamics at the Department of Computer (Edoardo Mollona, [email protected]):

    • Different approaches in the building of learning environments
      - Interface structure and data gathering
      - Blending system dynamics and agent-based modelling
    • Modelling of strategic and organisational change
    • National Research Projects for 2004-2007 involving system dynamics:
      - Dynamics and Performance Determinants in Clusters of Firms: A Computational Approach (PRIN 2004)
      - Dynamics in Clusters of Firms: New Structures and Technologies (FIRB 2003)


Pisa University - Faculty of Computer Sciences - Department of Environmental Sciences - use of system dynamics in environmental modelling (Giorgio Gallo, [email protected])
Rome "La Sapienza" University - Faculty of Communication Sciences - Department of Computer Sciences - use of system dynamics methodology
Research on use of system dynamics in e-Learning courses. Thesis in system dynamics applied to web-based simulation (Habib Sedehi, [email protected])
Faculty of Statistics Sciences - Department of Data Intelligence and Strategic Decisions - system dynamics course (Roberto Berchi, [email protected])
Rome "Tor Vergata" University - Faculty of Engineering - Department of Enterprise Engineering - use of system dynamics methodology in enterprise production processes (Stefano Armenia, [email protected])
Theses in system dynamics applied in the following areas:

    • Software Project Management
    • Changing Organisation Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Communication Management

Research activities with use of system dynamics in the following areas:

    • Bathtub Dynamics
    • Call Centre Management
    • Credit Securitization
    • Tourist Structure Management

Habib Sedehi and Stefano Armenia of Rome "La Sapienza" and "Tor Vergata" Universities are collaborating in the design and development of the new SYDIC web site.


Palermo University - Faculty of Political Sciences - Master in "Managing Business Growth through System Dynamics and Accounting Models (A Strategic Control Prospective)" (Carmine Bianchi, [email protected])

Habib Sedehi

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Japan Chapter

There are 29 System Dynamics Society members in Japan. The Japan Chapter's domestic members amounted to 112 at the end of March, 2005. The organization expects that we are about to see a new perspective of system dynamics opportunities. The business world that has been little interested in system dynamics now faces many types of problems, ranging from management through globalization to environment.

A key solution concept underlying the problems is how to manage linked systems. Leaders more than ever have to design and manage involved functions, internal and external actors, and related systems from the viewpoints of integration and dynamics. Information technologies have given effective levers to control operational aspects, but in order to extract real effectiveness people have to design and implement effective processes to create new values. People seek for methodologies leading to the effective design and implementation of processes. System dynamics is suitable for the purpose.

A shift in our membership is happening from old generation to new. New members, especially young business people, are joining our Chapter. They expect system dynamics may give effective opportunities to solve their problems. This is related to the new opportunity described above. Our Chapter needs to respond to the new members. Their successes can be a powerful initiative for system dynamics applications in Japanese industry and society.

Activities in 2004 and 2005:

JSD Research Meetings: We had six study meetings in the Tokyo area and one meeting outside the Tokyo area in the fiscal year of 2004. In the fiscal year of 2005, we have had three meetings in the Tokyo area by July. Our fiscal year was changed from January to December to March to April, subject to the generally practiced rule in our society, at the Annual Conference in 2004.

JSD Forum and other major events: We held our Annual Conference in the fiscal year of 2004 on 31st January, 2004. The Annual Conference in the fiscal year of 2005 was held on 2nd, April in 2005. Also we held the Fourth Management Forum on 23rd October, 2004 and the Meeting on Promotion of System Dynamics on 3rd December, 2004 in Nagoya.

Business Process Dynamics Study Group: Chief: Morita Michiya; Vice Chief : Norihiro Matsumoto. The group had nine meetings at Gakushuin University from the beginning of April in 2004 to the end of May in 2005. The group started a new version of the project from the beginning of April in 2005 with a few additional members. The group had three meetings by the end of August.

Japanese Economy Study Group: Chief: Hidenori Kobayashi; Vice Chief: Norihiro Matsumoto. The group has had 15 meetings in the past two years. The group ended at the end of the fiscal year of 2004.

Journal: We published our annual journal, The Japanese Journal of System Dynamics, Vol. 4, in March 2005.

Special Sessions:

    • Prof. Thomas Spengler, Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany, visited Gakushuin University with Mr. Grischa Meyer on 13th October, 2004. Several JSD members welcomed them and had a study meeting on the application of system dynamics in Japan and Germany.
    • Mr. Grischa Meyer, Technical Representative, Governmental and Environmental Relations, Volkswagen Group, made a presentation titled "Model Draft of Tax Incentives in Japan" on 20th November, 2004 at the JSD Research Meeting at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo.

Officers of the Japan Chapter:

    • Representative of JSD: Michiya Morita, Professor, Gakushuin University
    • Vice Representatives: Akira Yamauchi, Toru Suetake
    • International Liaison: Akira Uchino
    • Other Officers: June Izumi, Hironori Kurono, Kinya Machida, Norihiro Matsumoto, Toshio Mitsufuji, Yoshihito Mori

The term of office is usually two years. According with the change of fiscal year from April to March instead of January to December, the term temporarily has changed from 1st January, 2004 to 31st March, 2006. At the Annual Conference in 2006, we are to elect our new staff including a new Representative. The new staff will work from April in 2006 to March in 2008.

Michiya Morita

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Russian Chapter

Russian Chapter Logo

The Russian Chapter is one of the most recent additions to the System Dynamics Society. As a newly formed organization, we have a lot of work in front of us to establish our presence in Russia and within the Society. At the Boston conference we held our first meeting as an official chapter and set the agenda of activities for the upcoming year. Dmitry Katalevsky (the Chapter's secretary) wrote an article in Russian about the Boston Conference in order to provide other chapter members with the latest information about the activities of the Society.
Currently, our main focus is on the development of the Chapter's website in the Russian language to increase awareness of system dynamics and attract new members from Russia and other countries where the Russian language is used. We plan to organize a Chapter meeting in Moscow in the near future.

Our achievements to date:

The Russian Chapter formation led to the introduction of seven new members into the System Dynamics Society.

On April 22, 2005, a group of Moscow specialists conducted a seminar for the IBS company (Information Business Systems, in Russia, presenting eight talks on system dynamics and discussing projects which can be undertaken in the future. The follow-up work with the above-mentioned company continues.

We continue to translate articles about system dynamics into Russian and our members are working on preparing more system dynamics-related materials to distribute to members and post on the website. The Russian Chapter is preparing its first newsletter. Our members are contributing by describing their projects and proposing ideas for collaboration. Finally, we continue to encourage our members to join the Society and recruit interested individuals to collaborate with and join the Russian Chapter. We actively seek financial support from different organizations to support our members' work (conference travel, publications, organization of seminars, courses, development of course materials).

The Russian Chapter hopes to have more of its members at the 2006 Society conference in Europe to increase the integration between the Chapter and the Society and to promote awareness among the Society's members about system dynamics activities (projects) in Russia. We hope to generate interest for collaborative work between Russian-speaking specialists and system dynamics professionals and researchers from other countries.

Leeza Osipenko

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Student Chapter

The Student Chapter has the primary objective of bringing together PhD students who are involved in system dynamics research and giving them the opportunity to raise key questions and/or concerns related to their research and discuss these in depth in a constructive and enjoyable atmosphere. Since 2000, the main activity of the Chapter has been to organize a PhD Colloquium in conjunction with the yearly System Dynamics Conference. The PhD Colloquium that took place in Boston is described elsewhere in the newsletter.

Approximately 40 people participated in the latest student chapter meeting, taking place late afternoon after the PhD Colloquium in Boston, Sunday the 17th of July 2005. Birgitte Snabe, Mannheim University, chaired the meeting, but did not want to continue as president of the student chapter. A new Student Chapter committee was decided:

University College Dublin / Ecole Centrale Paris

The main focus areas for the new Student Chapter committee will be to organize the 2006 PhD Colloquium in Nijmegen, and also to set up a system dynamics student web page.

Birgitte Snabe

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Swiss Chapter

Since its founding the Swiss Chapter has become a learning group with more than 15 active members.

In 2005, the University of St. Gallen and the University of Lugano agreed to offer institutional support for the maintenance of the webpage and administrative tasks such as address list, annual fees and accounting. Also in 2005, a business plan was developed that describes the vision, strategies and main activities of the Swiss Chapter. These activities include:

Birgit Kopainsky and Silvia Ulli-Beer

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UK Chapter

Annual Winter Gathering at Harrogate

This is the main meeting each year. This year the theme was "System Dynamics in Government" and three speakers (Nick Mabey, Eric Wolstenholme, and Brian Dangerfield) described uses of system dynamics at government level. Following the talks, speakers were questioned individually in three separate break-out sessions.

The following morning members were offered a choice between a workshop exploring the interface between system dynamics and cybernetics (hosted by Alfredo Moscardini) and a brains trust on modelling problems (led by Dave Exelby and Brian Dangerfield).

Mark Ratnarajah (London Business School) was awarded the UK Chapter Student Prize for 2005 for his analysis of the effects of the new EU Directive affecting junior doctors' working hours, carried out as part of his Executive MBA Studies.

The attendance was 51. The number of active UK Chapter members is thought to be in the 60 - 80 range, although there are over 400 names on our email database of people who have had any contact with the Chapter since its formation.

Online Questionnaire to Members

In the spring the Chapter issued an online survey designed to capture views on needs and expectations of the Chapter. Responses = 74.

Further Meeting in 2005: Our planned second meeting on "System Dynamics in Education" in London in November has been postponed to 2006 and will be replaced by another event as yet to be decided.

Brian Dangerfield

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Environmental Dynamics SIG

The Environmental Dynamics Special Interest Group (ED SIG) is entering its fourth year of activity, with some encouraging statistics: membership (Illustration 1) and message traffic (Illustration 2). Two SIG meetings were held at the 2005 ISDC, in Boston: a discussion roundtable and the annual administrative meeting.



The Environmental Dynamics Roundtable was chaired by Wayne Wakeland [email protected], and attended by circa 35 people. The theme was "What is Environmental Dynamics?", and the resolutions taken are noted below:

1. The SIG shall define its scope more precisely. Suggestions for particular interests are: environmental policy and planning, ecology, environmental resources, sustainability, interaction of humans with the natural environment, environmental impact of urban sprawl, energetics, hierarchical organization of the environment, resource consumption patterns, population and community dynamics, ecological risk assessment (more specific to the dynamics of the biota), environmental risk assessment (more specific to the abiotic environment), and other similar areas.

2. As with system dynamics in general, the ED SIG seeks to find: (a) feedback explanations/ understanding of dynamic behavior; (b) beneficial interventions in our human created and managed ecosystems, recognizing, of course, that such interventions create new feedback loops; (c) sustainable implementation processes for these interventions; (d) generally, though not always, the scale of our analysis is at a relatively high level of human activity - society - rather than at the level of a specific organization or individual.

3. The ED SIG is eager to find ways to connect with other groups outside our SIG, such as environmental economists; we want our work to be integrative. We are willing to accept the risk that by calling our group "environmental" we could be labeled as "liberals" and "greenies."

Administrative Meeting

The Environmental Dynamics Administrative meeting was chaired by Richard Dudley, and attended by circa 30 people. The resolutions taken are noted below:

1. The SIG shall change its name to "Environmental" - i.e. eliminate the word "Dynamics," which is implied through its association with the System Dynamics Society; this change will be reflected in the SIG's communications once approved by the Society.

2. The use of the word "environment" in relation to the SIG refers to the "natural environment."

3. The ED SIG website will be modified, featuring more information and more HTML documents. Tom Forest and Ines Winz volunteered to assist in this operation.

4. The ED SIG officers system was modified: there are now three officers who will each have a three-year period each moving up to the next slot each year. Thus, we need to elect one new person each year, and we will always have two who are "experienced". At present, the list is:

Anastássios Perdicoúlis with Richard Dudley and Wayne Wakeland

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Health Policy SIG

The major highlight of 2005 was a two-hour workshop on US Health Reform on the Sunday of the Boston Conference, which was attended by 39 people, including some Health Policy experts who were discovering system dynamics for the first time.

Steffie Woolhandler of the Harvard Community Alliance described the extreme access cost and quality problems with US healthcare, while Jack Homer and Gary Hirsch, assisted by Bobby Milstein, outlined the causal loop diagram representation of the problem that they had written up for the conference. John Rodat and John McDonough also commented on the approach, and stressed the importance of the political dimension. The HPSIG discussed how to take this work forward and will again focus on a significant health stream presence at the Nijmegen Conference, including system dynamics approaches to European and international health policy that build on the US work. An online forum is available at John Rodat's to continue the US Health Reform Boston Workshop discussion online.

The HPSIG now has over 110 members after 2 years. Jack Homer stood down as President and Geoff McDonnell was elected, with Gary Hirsch vice-president, for the next year.

Archives of the email distribution list are available at Hopefully our online collaboration will continue to improve this year. Please contact [email protected] to join up.

Geoff McDonnell

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Security SIG

The Security SIG has been growing steadily and it has now 25 members. The SIG met during the ISDC in Boston. Jose J. Gonzalez chaired the meeting.

The main topic of the meeting was how to increase the activities of the group. The SIG agreed to target one or more special security sessions at the ISDC '06.

The following issues were proposed as potential topics for those sessions: Recovery from Security Breaches, Security and Quality Improvement Processes, Enforcement, Compliance, Unintended Effects of Counterterrorism Measures, Validation of Large-Scale System Dynamics Models, Information Security, Risk Control, Safety and Security Archetypes.

The SIG leaders will follow up with a call for papers.

Jose J. Gonzalez

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Announcements and Call for Papers

For Spanish speaking system dynamicists, theLatin American Chapter has a newsletter. Currently the Number 3 issue is on-line at Feel free to pass it on to friends and colleagues. If you have any news or other contribution for the next number (planned for January 2006), it would be gratefully received; contact Martin Schaffernicht, [email protected].

isee systems (formerly High Performance Systems) has assembled a "dream team" to teach "Introduction to Dynamic Modeling with STELLA and iThink"; a new workshop that premieres October 24-26, 2005 in Cambridge, MA. Mark Paich, Steve Peterson, and Corey Peck will lead this two and a half day workshop that is designed for beginners and those with some modeling experience. Detailing the language, framework, and process necessary to build effective dynamic models using STELLA and iThink, the workshop will expose participants to a wide range of topics including

  * problem conceptualization and implementation
  * mechanics of creating stock/flow models with the software
  * basic modeling "infrastructure" to represent common business processes
  * interface creation and other dissemination approaches
  * various testing and calibration exercises

Through this guided, hands on approach, attendees will build actionable skills that can be applied to real business problems using STELLA and iThink. Examples from engagements with clients in automotive, telecommunications, technology, financial services, pharmaceuticals, government, aerospace, education, not for profit, and fine arts markets help guide discussions. For more information please visit

The 3rd System Dynamics Conference Workshop at Fordham University Schools of Business will take place on Monday, June 19, 2006, 9 AM - 5 PM. For more information, please contact Nicholas Georgantzas, [email protected].

2006 International System Dynamics Conference, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Local Host

Methodology Department, Nijmegen School of Management,
Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Conference Partner

Minase BV, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Conference Venue


The 2006 conference of the System Dynamics Society will be held at the campus of Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. A range of accommodations, from a luxury spa hotel to bed & breakfasts and economical hostels, is available within walking distance or up to a 15-minute bus (or bike!) ride depending on the location. Nijmegen is a small, friendly city and very easy to navigate. Nijmegen can be easily reached from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport by a 1.5 hour scenic train ride. Nijmegen is the Netherlands' oldest city and celebrates its 2000th anniversary in 2005. The city offers historic sites and museums and borders beautiful forest countryside and polder landscapes, our unique low-lying terrains that have been reclaimed from water and are protected by dikes.

Radboud University is a leading research center in diverse fields such as human cognition, materials and magnetism, wetland ecology, and business law. The University enrolls 14,500 students in eight faculties and is renowned for its green campus, modern buildings, and state-of-the-art equipment. For more information, please visit the website of the Institute for Management Research at


Conference meetings will be held in auditoria and parallel rooms. For coffee breaks and lunches the university restaurant and open-air bar are available. The conference program will consist of plenary, parallel, and poster sessions demonstrating the state of the art in theory and application of system dynamics. In coaching sessions and workshops, experienced system dynamicists will assist in working on modeling questions. The program will also include the student colloquium, panel discussions, special interest group sessions, vendor displays, exhibits, demonstrations, and Society business meetings.

The conference schedule provides ample opportunities for meeting with colleagues and friends, including an opening reception in the city centre and a conference banquet. Discussions in a relaxed atmosphere will contribute to the exchange of innovative ideas. We look forward to welcoming you in Nijmegen and combining academic and practical interests in a pleasant setting!

Deadlines and Key Dates

January 2, 2006

Opening date for paper submissions and workshop and session proposals

March 1, 2006

Paper submission deadline; workshop tutorial and session proposals due

April 15, 2006

Notification of acceptance and program placement, and draft program overview on the web

May 15, 2005

Final abstracts due for Printed Abstract Proceedings

June 1, 2006

Designated presenter registration deadline; papers of unregistered designated presenters reassigned to poster

June 15, 2006

Deadline for early conference registration and tentative program schedule on the web

July 23, 2006

PhD Colloquium

July 24, 2006

Nijmegen Conference Opening!

August 15, 2006

Deadline for final papers for CD-ROM Proceedings

September 2006

CD-ROM Proceedings mailed to conference registrants



Organizing Chair:

Etiënne Rouwette

Methodology Department
Nijmegen School of Management
Radboud University Nijmegen

The Netherlands

E-mail: [email protected]

Conference Chair:

Jac Vennix

Methodology Department
Nijmegen School of Management
Radboud University Nijmegen

The Netherlands

E-mail: [email protected]

Program Chair:

Andreas Größler

Mannheim Business School
Mannheim University


E-mail: [email protected]

Conference Manager:

Roberta L. Spencer, Executive Director

System Dynamics Society

Milne 300 - Rockefeller College

University at Albany

State University of New York

Albany, NY 12222 USA

Phone: +1 518 442-3865, Fax: +1 518 442-3398

E-mail: [email protected]

Workshop Chair:

Jack B. Homer, Homer Consulting

Voorhees, New Jersey USA

E-mail: [email protected]

For updated details, please visit the Society website at:

Call for Papers:
Dynamics of Health Reform and Change in Health Care Systems for 2006 ISDC

From the Health Policy Special Interest Group (HPSIG) of the System Dynamics Society:

This is a formal call for papers that will be presented in a special HPSIG session organized in conjunction with the 2006 conference. The papers will examine major initiatives to reform health care systems and the factors that caused those efforts to succeed, be partially successful, or fail to achieve their objectives. The focus will be on the factors that enabled or prevented change and what this suggests about designing and implementing successful health reform.We plan to schedule a session with sufficient time for people to present papers and then discuss the common factors that determine whether health system reforms achieve their objectives. A good response with a number of papers and in-depth discussion at the 2006 conference could produce the material for a book that makes a significant contribution to health policy.

The following are important dates to assure that we get a critical mass of papers for a session in Nijmegen.

November 1, 2005    Initial Response

Please send a brief description of the reform you intend to analyze, the approach you will take, and who will be involved in the work.

March 1, 2006    Draft Papers Due

We look forward to hearing from you and look forward to an exciting session at the 2006 conference. Please contact one of us if you have any questions or want to share ideas about the session with us.

Gary Hirsch    [email protected]
Geoff McDonnell    [email protected]
Jack Homer    [email protected]
Bobby Milstein    [email protected]

Policy Council Holds Summer Meeting in Boston

Minutes of the 17 July, 2005, Meeting of the Policy Council and the 20 July, 2005, General Business Meeting can be found in their entirety by clicking the “Governance” button on the System Dynamics Society website. Please visit the website to learn about the business discussed and to view the complete reports and information presented.

Motions approved at the Policy Council Meeting:

Motions approved electronically since the Winter 2005 Policy Council:

Sponsors of the
System Dynamics Society and/or the Boston Conference

AIMS (Advanced Integrated Mmanagement Strategies, LLP  Irving, Texas, USA

Amber Blocks Ltd.  New York, New York, USA

Asthma 2000 Group and Innovative Clinical Systems  Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

Atrivé Zeist and Best, The Netherlands

Attune Group Inc.  Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Bolide Pty. Ltd.  Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia

Booz Allen Hamilton  McLean, Virginia, USA

BP  Global locations

Brand Management Group  Oslo, Norway

CALIBRE  Alexandria, Virginia, USA

CRA International, Inc.  Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Decision Dynamics, Inc.  Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Delft University of Technology  Delft, The Netherlands

Deutsche Lufthansa AG   Frankfurt, Germany

Forio Business Simulations  San Francisco, California, USA

Jay W. Forrester  Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

GE Insurance Solutions  Avon, Connecticut, USA

General Motors  Detroit, Michigan, USA

Global Strategy Dynamics Ltd.  Monks Risborough, Bucks, UK

Hall, Vasil & Dowd, CPA’s  Belmont, Massachusetts, USA

HVR Consulting Services Ltd.  Alton, Hampshire, UK

isee systems  Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA

ITP Consultores  Caracas, Venezuela

John Wiley & Sons,Ltd.  Chichester, West Sussex, UK

Lane Press of Albany  Albany, New York, USA

Ledet Enterprises, Inc.  Humble, Texas, USA

Master Systems Inc.  Carlsbad, California, USA

Minase BV  Tilburg, The Netherlands

Mohaseboon Financial and Business Consultants  Cairo, Egypt

Nonni's Food Company, Inc.  Tulsa, Oklahoma USA

Northwater Capital Management, Inc.  Toronto, Canada

PA Consulting   Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

PAR-Group, Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University Nijmegen  Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Pegasus Communications, Inc.  Waltham, Massachusetts, USA

Plug Power, Inc.  Latham, New York, USA

Powersim Solutions, Inc.  Herndon, Virginia, USA

Project Performance Corporation  McLean, Virginia, USA

Proverbs Corporation   Prague, Czech Republic

Proyectos Comerciales de México, S.A. de C.V.  una empresa de Grupo Proyectos, Querétaro, México

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany  Albany, New York, USA

SAIC Science Applications International Corporation  San Diego, California, USA

Toshiro Shimada  Japanese System Dynamics Chapter, Tokyo, Japan

SoL, The Society for Organizational Learning  Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

System Dynamics Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology  Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

System Dynamics Group, University of Bergen  Bergen, Norway

Tecnológico de Monterrey  Monterrey, México

University of Salford, Centre for Operational Research and Applied Statistics  Salford, UK

Ventana Systems, Inc.  Harvard, Massachusetts, USA

Ventana Systems UK Ltd.  Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK

WB Incorporated  Boston, Massachusetts, USA

WPI Advanced Distance Learning Network  Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

XJ Technologies  St. Petersburg, Russia

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Publication and Contact Information

The System Dynamics Society publishes the System Dynamics Newsletter four times a year.
Editors: Graham W. Winch, Roberta L. Spencer, Robin S. Langer, and Jennifer Rowe

Please send letters, news, photographs, and ideas for the newsletter to:

System Dynamics Society

Milne 300, Rockefeller College
University at Albany
Albany, New York 12222 USA
Phone:  +1 518 442 3865
Fax:  +1 518 442 3398
Email:  [email protected]

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