You Don’t Want to Build All Models from Scratch, Do You?

By Wang Zhao
Located in Lisbon, Portugal
European Master in System Dynamics candidate 2017-2019


Modellers face a problem: Too few of their models ever get reused. Meanwhile, many projects start by building a new model from scratch requiring plenty of research to conceptualize the model structure. If we see these two aspects from the perspective of ‘supply’ and ‘demand’, is there any ‘mismatch’ in between that hinders models from reuse? If so, what could be the reason?

Most system dynamics models Read more ›

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The size of your model doesn’t matter, but the size of your valor does!

By Khaled Gafaar
Located in Lisbon, Portugal
European Master in System Dynamics candidate 2017-2019


My first semester in EMSD was nothing short of a revelation. I’ve been reading in Systems Thinking since 2012, attempted to apply principles of The Fifth Discipline in an organizational setting (2013-2014,) and had to forsake my career in one of the largest FMCG companies in the world to pursue this Master’s!

In the modelling world, you can model the world, but would you really want to?

It is a general guideline in System Dynamics to build our models as concise and compact as possible, to avoid adding further complexity to the problem solving process.  Beyond the issue of size, a series of interesting questions present themselves Read more ›

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System Dynamics as a reflective practice

By Igor Oliveira
Located in Lisbon, Portugal
European Master in System Dynamics candidate


The first semester of the European Master in System Dynamics (EMSD) has been my first intensive experience with dynamic modelling. During our first three courses in Bergen, we learn the fundamentals of system dynamics, replicate classic models and have the opportunity to conduct a mini-project by building our own model to interrogate a real world problem that interests us. My project was focused on the emergence of climate conflicts in Africa, in the context of changing land use patterns and ethnic tensions.

As someone who had long been inspired by systems thinking in my consulting practice but had not yet focused on learning modelling techniques, the first striking lesson for me was Read more ›

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Meet the Modelers: What you always wanted to know about simulation and systems science

By Angelika Schanda
Located in Vienna, Austria
Founder at Art of Cooperation – Institute for Impact Partnerships
European Master in System Dynamics graduate (Class 2013-2015)


The systems science and computer modeling communities are diverse and widely dispersed all across the globe. Therefore, it has always been the mission of this blog to connect people beyond classrooms, organizations, regions and disciplines. We are constantly looking for new ways to create meaningful connections, which is why we are excited to announce the start of a new series of participatory live stream interviews with our authors: “Meet the Modeler”!

In these interviews, your interests and input counts! We’ll be asking Read more ›

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Don’t fall in love with your models, no matter how beautiful they are

By Jonathan Nichols
Located in Lisbon, Portugal
European Master in System Dynamics candidate


In studies using a system dynamics approach, we often build computer models to seek explanations for complex dynamic problems and search for leverage points where we might target our interventions. If our models can reproduce the problematic behaviour we’re interested in, and our model structure is a justifiable approximation for how things work in the real world, we’re off to a good start. However, building a computer model is an iterative process of trial and error, requiring creativity, dedicated research, analytical prowess and the courage to expose the assumptions we might be staking everything on. It is a highly rewarding process, but along the way Read more ›

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New series: “The size of your model doesn’t matter and other deep insights”

By Jonathan Nichols, Igor Oliveira, Khaled Gafaar, and Henrique Beck Valdivia
Located in Lisbon, Portugal / Palermo, Italy
European Master in System Dynamics candidates


“The size of your model doesn’t matter and other deep insights” is a new series beginning this March on the Young Modeler blog. In monthly releases, candidates from the European Master in System Dynamics program will be sharing some of their challenging ideas on modeling and system dynamics. These articles will invite discussion in the run up to the 2018 System Dynamics Conference taking place in Reykjavík, Iceland this summer. Start participating now by subscribing to the blog, sharing this post on your social media platforms, and keep a look-out for the first release! Read more ›

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Making Business Models Dynamic

By Guido Noto
Located in Pisa, Italy

Post-Doc at Institute of Management, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies


Business Models, intended as formal conceptual representations of how an organization functions, are designed to offer a static perspective of value creation processes. This prevents start-up entrepreneurs from framing the complexity, uncertainty and unpredictability of the business sectors in which they operate, Read more ›

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The 34th International System Dynamics Conference

By Bramka Arga Jafino
Master Candidate in Engineering and Policy Analysis
Delft University of Technology


Being introduced to and having fallen in love with System Dynamics back in 2013, I’m excited that I finally will manage to attend the International System Dynamics Conference, #ISDC16, for the first time this year. The conference will be held from July 17 to July 21, 2016 in Delft, The Netherlands. The main theme of the conference is “Black Swans and Black Lies: System Dynamics in the Context of Randomness and Political Power-play”. Academics, consultants, practitioners, students, managers and policy makers from across the globe will discuss their work, especially with regard to how System Dynamics is applied in systems that are full of uncertainties and how the approach is orchestrated in a multi-actor, political context. You can see the numerous works that will be presented in here and the tentative schedule here. Read more ›

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System Dynamics and Strategic Management: love at first sight

By Guido Noto
Located in Palermo, Italy
PhD candidate, Department of Political Sciences and International Relations, University of Palermo


System Dynamics (SD) has been proved to be a useful methodology to support both understanding and learning processes of complex systems and phenomena. Since its origin, SD has been successfully applied to many different fields of studies (e.g., climate change, physics, engineering, environmental sciences, economics, management, and so on). Among these, Strategic Management (SM) has a particular relevance as testified by several streams of research that originate from the combination between SD modelling and SM. Read more ›

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A saber-toothed cat is sitting in your front yard. What will you do next?

By Angelika Schanda
Located in Lebanon, New Hampshire (USA)
European Master in System Dynamics, Class 2013-2015 / isee systems


How humans react when facing an immediate canstockphoto4946198threat is programmed deeply into our brains. The response of humans today is the same as that of humans who – let’s say – faced a saber-toothed cat thousands of years ago. This example is often referred to as a symbol for our deepest instincts. Fear can drive our body and mind to maximum performance and swift action, securing our survival.

But how about more abstract problems such as climate change? They are nothing like meeting a saber-toothed cat. And yet, it seems that last year the abstract challenge has morphed into a more direct threat, as several crises throughout the globe shook us in 2015. Does this closeness evoke a simple fight-or-flight response, or can it become a wake-up call for dealing with global challenges more sustainably? Read more ›

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