The secret to successful system dynamics modeling

Whenever a student wandered in late to a lecture at MIT, Jim Hines would announce, “… and that’s the secret to system dynamics.” If you were one of those perpetually late students, who’s struggled without the secret ever since, I will now reveal it.

”The key to successful modeling is to keep one’s understanding of the model and what it says about the problem ahead of its size.” – Geoff Coyle, via JJ Lauble at the Vensim forum.

Maintaining understanding is really a matter of balancing model testing and critique against creation of new structure, which requires a little discipline in your modeling process. A few suggestions:

2 thoughts on “The secret to successful system dynamics modeling”

  1. I’ve extended Jim’s trick another step. When I know an SD student is late (eg, after a break), I prep the students with the appropriate response. Student walks in, I say “And THAT’S the secret to system dynamics” and then all the other students say “Ohhh….!”, pick up their pens, and write something in their notebooks. Panic on late student’s face is priceless.

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