System Dynamics
Systems Thinking

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


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.. -


Special Interest Group - System Dynamics & Systems Thinking


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Forum - System Dynamics & Systems Thinking  

Discussions about System Dynamics & Systems Thinking.


  Soft, Hard and Viable Systems
Three systems methods are normally used: 1. Soft systems method - complex messy situations 2. Hard (...)
 
 
 
 
  Systems Thinking is Considering Issues Holistically
Systems Methodology can aid our analysis of organisations because its key assumption is to consider (...)
 
 
 
 
Hot Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
Nonlinear dynamical systems can be linearized, if the relationship between elements of this is infor (...)
 
 
 
 
  Strategy > SD > Performance?
Could we use System Dynamics to assess if a firm's strategy is responsible for its performance? (...)
 
 
 
 

Best Practices - System Dynamics & Systems Thinking

Here you find the most valuable discussions from the past.


  Complexity in Systems Approach
Complexity exists due to a multitude of worldviews held by organisational members and external stake (...)
 
 
 
 
  Value of System Approach
What value does the system approach have to understanding and analyzing behaviour in oganisations? (...)
 
 
 
 
  Systems Thinking Schools and Approaches
- PLANNING SCHOOL - systems thinking is a holistic approach to planning complex systems. Pioneers of (...)
 
 
 
 

Expert Tips - System Dynamics & Systems Thinking

Here you will find advices by experts.


 

Complex Adaptive Systems

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Complexity Principles

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Resources - System Dynamics & Systems Thinking

Here you find powerpoint presentations, micro-learning videos and further information sources.


Systems, Systems Thinking and Soft System Methodology (SSM)

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Are you Facing Complexity? Systems Thinking 101

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Systems Thinking for Leaders

Systems Thinking, Leadership, Gestalt Theory, Complexity (...)
 

Introduction Into Systems Thinking

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Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic Decision Making Contexts

Decision Making, Situations, Context, Types, Complex Circumstances, Chaos, Crisis Management (...)
 

Efficiency of Mass 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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