System Dynamics
Systems Thinking

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The study and management of complex feedback. Explanation of Systems Thinking of Forrester. System Dynamics.

Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
  6. Print

What is Systems Thinking? Definition

Systems Thinking is an approach for studying and managing complex feedback systems, such as one finds in corporations and other social systems. In fact it has been used to describe practically every sort of feedback system.

System Dynamics is more or less the same as Systems Thinking, but emphasizes the usage of computer-simulation tools.


The term System means an interdependent group of things forming a unified pattern. Feedback refers to the situation of X affecting Y, and Y in turn affecting X. Perhaps through a chain of causes and effects. One cannot study the link between X and Y and, independently, the link between Y and X and predict how the system will behave. Only the study of the whole feedback system will lead to correct results.


What is System Dynamics?

System Dynamics is based on Systems Thinking, but takes the additional steps of constructing and testing a computer simulation model. The System Dynamics field developed initially from the book "Industrial Dynamics" of Jay W. Forrester.


Steps in the System Dynamics methodology

  1. Identify a problem,
  2. Develop a dynamic hypothesis explaining the cause of the problem,
  3. Build a computer simulation model of the system at the root of the problem,
  4. Test the model to be certain that it reproduces the behavior seen in the real world,
  5. Devise and test in the model alternative policies that alleviate the problem,
  6. Implement the solution.

Often these steps have to be reviewed and refined, going back towards an earlier step. For instance, the first problem identified may be only a symptom of a still greater problem.


Typical applications of System Dynamics

  • strategy and corporate planning
  • business process development
  • public management and policy
  • biological and medical modeling
  • energy and the environment
  • theory development in the natural and social sciences
  • dynamic decision making
  • complex nonlinear dynamics

Book: John Sterman -  Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking.. -


System Dynamics & Systems Thinking Forum
  Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
Nonlinear dynamical systems can be linearized, if the relationship between elements of this is information.
To formalize the interaction between elements of the system it is important to know the nature of the phenomenon. Identify the main param...
     
 
  Soft, Hard and Viable Systems
Three systems methods are normally used:
1. Soft systems method - complex messy situations
2. Hard systems method- difficulties where we know the cause and desire endstate
3. Viable systems method - comparing operations, management and...
     
 
  Complexity in Systems Approach
Complexity exists due to a multitude of worldviews held by organisational members and external stakeholders and the cultural influences, individual experiences and organisational makeup i.e. rituals, myths, procedures etc., each affect the overall co...
     
 
  Systems Thinking is Considering Issues Holistically
Systems Methodology can aid our analysis of organisations because its key assumption is to consider issues holistically. Rather than breaking a problem into manageable segments / elements, we accept that complexity exists and adjustments in on...
     
 
  Strategy > SD > Performance?
Could we use System Dynamics to assess if a firm's strategy is responsible for its performance?...
     
 

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Best Practices - System Dynamics & Systems Thinking Premium
  Value of System Approach
What value does the system approach have to understanding and analyzing behaviour in oganisations?...
     
 

Expert Tips - System Dynamics & Systems Thinking Premium
 

Complex Adaptive Systems

Definition and qualifications of complex adaptive systems capable of successfully coping with chaos:
1. A system must be comprised of many agents...
Usage (application): Organizational Theory
 
 
 

Structure your Organization at the Edge of Chaos

Although chaos theory was discovered decades ago, it only has emerged in recent years as a model for explaining the chaotic business environment.
...
Usage (application): Organizational Development
 
 
 

How to Use Counterintuition to Fight 5 Frequent Decision Making Errors

Mauboussin describes five mistakes in decision making that are often made and result in making the wrong decisions. These five mistakes are:
1...
Usage (application): Strategic Decision Making, Dealing with Complexity, Dealing with Uncertainty, Strategy
 
 
 

Complexity Principles

Charasteristics of a conducive environemnt for complex adaptive systems:
1. Complex adaptive systems are at risk when in a state of equilibrium w...
Usage (application): Organizational theory
 
 

Resources - System Dynamics & Systems Thinking Premium

Systems, Systems Thinking and Soft System Methodology (SSM)

Presentation that provides well structured information about what are Systems, System Thinking and Soft Systems Methodology. The presentation includes...
Usage (application): Systems Thinking, Soft System Methodology, SSM, Checkland
 

Are you Facing Complexity? Systems Thinking 101

Video clearly explains System Thinking, using an example in the health industry.
Systems Thi...
Usage (application): Systems Thinking, Dealing with Complexity, Strategic Complexity
 

Systems Thinking for Leaders

Presentation about systems thinking leadership, including the following sections:
1. What is systems thinking?
2. What’s the problem?
3...
Usage (application): Systems Thinking, Leadership, Gestalt Theory, Complexity
 

Introduction Into Systems Thinking

Presentation that introduces the concept of Systems Thinking. The presentation includes the following sections:
1. Key Characteristics of Systems...
Usage (application): Systems Thinking, Communication
 

Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic Decision Making Contexts

Dave Snowden explains the Cynefin Framework, which shows that different circumstances require different ways of decision making.
It is not a cate...
Usage (application): Decision Making, Situations, Context, Types, Complex Circumstances, Chaos, Crisis Management
 

Efficiency of Mass Communication

The $ystem-oriented Management of Efficiency of Mass Communication in Retail.
How to forecast growth of knowledge of the goods, and demand grow...
Usage (application): Retail Communication
 
 

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Compare with System Dynamics:  Gestalt Theory  |  Strategy Dynamics  |  Soft Systems Methodology  |  Scenario Planning  |  Analogical Strategic Reasoning  |  Five Disciplines  |  OODA loop  |  Game Theory  |  Spiral Dynamics  |  Simulation  |  Quality Function Deployment


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