The Venn diagram intersection of Edinburgh, System Dynamics and Social Work remarkably has at least two members. And the field of System Dynamics in Scotland has experienced double-digit growth in the past two years; admittedly, causal analysis suggests that this results from John Hayward’s recent move from Wales to Aberfeldy. You can imagine our excitement when the excellent Dartington Service Design Lab invited Professor Peter Hovmand, of the Social Systems Design Lab in St. Louis, to present a lecture in Edinburgh (my home town) in September. This event attracted unprecedented interest for any System Dynamics gathering in Scotland, with around 150 people registered. Then Storm Ali struck, not realising that we don’t do extremes in Edinburgh. Umbrellas were respectfully furled, all trains stopped, flights were cancelled, and Edinburgh-bound colleagues such as Brian Dangerfield were diverted to Glasgow(!) where they joined the longest bus queue in the world, as shown on the BBC News. See if you can spot Brian here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-scotland-45578967/storm-ali-hundreds-queue-at-glasgow-buchanan-street-for-buses-to-get-home
Nevertheless, Peter’s lecture went ahead, and his explanation about how to use System Dynamics in the context of participative group model building to make sense of a wide range of stakeholder perspectives on children’s social services was well received. Haste Ye Back, Peter. And huge thanks to Tim Hobbs and Dartington for their pioneering work. This is just the beginning.