Category Archives: Recent

2021 Winter Newsletter

2021 Annual Conference May 26th

This years’s annual conference will be a one-day online meeting. It will include presentations from invited speakers and student work. There will also be opportunities for participants to present posters. A “Getting Started with System Dynamics” workshop will run on the evening of the 25th.

Check out the updates at our website conference page and student colloquium page.


System Dynamics Helps to Tackle COVID

The COVID pandemic has provided an opportunity for those in the System Dynamics community to apply their skills.  Whilst there may be general lessons from the pandemic about the wider use of modelling the suitability of SD in such a situation is clear.  The dynamic nature of the situation and the need to be build and refine models at pace and sometimes in the absence, or in advance or hard facts, lends itself to SD.  One such example has been the work undertaken in the Kent & Medway system by the Whole Systems Partnership.  Read more …


Success Stories

Are you a system dynamics practitioner? Or have you used system dynamics in a project? Do you have a success story to tell? 

System Dynamics has been used successfully in a wide range of situations, in efforts that range from a few days’ work up to very large projects. All kinds of organisation have benefited, including businesses, Government departments and voluntary groups. We are keen to highlight more such cases, so if you have a story you would like to tell, please consider submitting it for inclusions in our success stories. Please visit our success stories webpage



System Dynamics Helps to Tackle COVID

Category : News , Recent , Success Stories

Every system dynamics modeller likes an output that tells a story, and when this matches closely to what’s actually happening there’s an additional sense of satisfaction, and confidence in the forecasts that the model generates.  The simple blue line in the illustration below has been generated by an SD model that has been constantly refreshed for the Kent & Medway system since March last year.  It is based on a standard SIR structure with stocks of Susceptible, Infected and Recovered people that flow through the system based on infection rates and the timing between infection, symptoms emerging and any subsequent needs for service interventions.  

The model factors in underlying demographics, national lockdowns, Tiered restrictions, new variants, school opening and Christmas festivities followed by the new Lockdown in England that started on the 4thJanuary.  And it matches the actuals!  It then goes on to estimate the impact on hospital admissions, bed capacity, deaths management and discharge planning.  And because it is fundamentally a population health model it is contributing to our understanding of the impact of COVID on subsequent health needs including Long-COVID and associated Mental Health challenges.

The system dynamic model’s ability to factor in the new COVID variant has been recognised as critical to understanding the Autumn and early Winter surge in cases and subsequent pressure on the health and care system.  It has also been informative as to when, at what levels and under what circumstances this surge would run out of steam – the inevitable balancing loops that put the brakes on otherwise exponentially increases cause by reinforcing loops.  This is illustrated in the diagram where the opportunity and ability of the virus to spread during the Autumn brings about a strong reinforcing cycle that even the November lockdown fails to do more than dent.  The more strict lockdown from the 5thJanuary does turn things around, but we retain the risk of a resurgence given the remaining susceptible population despite the progress of the vaccination programme.

The success of the model in helping people to understand the impact of the new COVID variant in the Kent & Medway system has led to the underlying epidemiological outputs now being developed to inform plans for COVID-19 demand and capacity requirements in the NHS across the South East Region of England. 

Peter Lacey, Director, Whole Systems Partnership


This project is part of our system dynamics success stories in the uk.


Summer Newsletter 2020

Category : News , Recent

System Dynamics meets COVID-19

On the morning of the 28th May the UK Chapter of the SD Society held an AGM with a difference by turning it into an opportunity to showcase modelling work in support of COVID-19 responses.  After a brief demonstration of how a stock and flow model provides a natural basis for the spread of a virus, over 80 participants in the online session were introduced to three examples of applied SD modelling in the context of COVID-19. Speakers: 

  • Kim Warren, Strategy Dynamics Ltd;
  • Mark Gregson, Consultant with the Whole Systems Partnership;
  • Erik Pruyt, Center for Policy Exploration Analysis and Simulation in the Netherlands.

Watch all the presentations
Read the report and access PowerPoint slides.


UK Chapter Annual Conference 2020

On April 2nd this year, the chapter held a very successful online conference, replacing the two-day one that had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you want to revisit the talks you heard, or, if you missed our meeting, you can watch the conference on YouTube. Individual talks can also be accessed on our YouTube channel.

Details of conference

Although we were disappointed not to hold the Glasgow meeting this year, the good news is that next years’ conference will be at the same venue: Strathclyde University on 25-26th March 2021. We look forward to seeing you next year in Glasgow.


Outstanding Contribution Award

At the 2020 conference, Kim Warren was awarded for his outstanding contribution to system dynamics in the United Kingdom.

Kim Warren is an experienced strategy professional, teacher and writer. He has held senior strategy roles in business and academic positions at the London Business school for over 20 years, teaching on MBA and Executive programmes.

Read more …


System Dynamics meets COVID-19

Category : Events , Recent

An online event show-casing applications of SD modelling in response to the current pandemic.

Hosted by the UK Chapter of the System Dynamics Society, and incorporating its AGM

9:30 for 10am start on 28th May 2020 with the AGM at 12:15pm

Please sign up at Eventbrite

The event is free

The event will briefly describe how system dynamics is suited to the modelling of an epidemic and a generic approach that will be reflected in three key contributions:
 
Kim Warren, Strategy Dynamics Ltd, will describe his work with Maurice Glucksman with the Pan-African Network for Rapid Research, Response & Preparedness for Infectious Diseases Epidemic (PANDORA) entitled Local outbreaks and local issues need local models.

Mark Gregson, Consultant with the Whole Systems Partnership, will outline his work in the Kent & Medway system entitled Reflections on developing a whole system demand and capacity model for an Integrated Health and Care System in the UK.

Erik Pruyt, Center for Policy Exploration Analysis and Simulation in the Netherlands, will speak on Aggregated Systems Models towards Integrated Assessment Models linking COVID19 Epidemics, Economics, Livelihood across National, Regional and Local Scales: the Cases of Namibia, the Netherlands, and Peru.


Outstanding Contribution Award 2020

Category : Awards , News , Recent

Kim Warren

At the 2020 conference, Kim Warren was awarded for his outstanding contribution to system dynamics in the United Kingdom.

Kim Warren is an experienced strategy professional, teacher and writer. He has held senior strategy roles in business and academic positions at the London Business school for over 20 years, teaching on MBA and Executive programmes. He has held visiting positions at several international academic institutions and has written over twenty publications and books.

Initially graduating with a BSc in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London, he subsequently obtained an MBA and a PhD in Strategic Management at the London Business School. In 2005, he won the prestigious Jay Wright Forrester Award for his book Competitive Strategy Dynamics.

Kim has been actively involved in Systems Dynamics for many years. He served on the policy council of the UK chapter of the System Dynamics Society from 2007 to 2011, becoming president in his last year. He has presented over twelve times at the chapter conference. He was president of the International System Dynamics Society in 2013, serving on its policy council for five years. Kim has been director of Strategy Dynamics Ltd since 1994 and has taught numerous practitioners using his Sysdea software, an innovative tool for agile SD model development. His introduction to system dynamics continues to be a popular feature of the UK Chapter conference.

Kim has asked us to reproduce his thanks for receiving this award:

Dear UK-Chapter members. 

I was so surprised by the Award that I totally forgot to say something very important. Not only has it been a great pleasure knowing and working with the great people in the UK Chapter over past years, you all have taught me so much too. 

To start with, it’s all John Morecroft’s fault that I got into system dynamics at all 🤗 – thanks John. And rather than risk leaving anyone out of the long, long list of people I have learned from over the years, including newcomers to the field, please just consider yourself duly thanked.

Best wishes to all in these difficult times. 

Kim


UK Chapter, 2020 Online Conference Thursday, April 2nd

Category : Conference , Recent

The UK chapter’s online conference takes place on 2 April 2020. The full programme is available at http://systemdynamics.org.uk/annual-gathering/.

The webinar will start from 09:30 for participants to login and test their connection, with the getting started with SD session with Kim Warren taking place in the morning, and the afternoon programme of speakers commencing at 13:30.

Donations are welcome from participants to cover the running costs of this event via Eventbrite: 
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/uk-chapter-system-dynamics-society-2020-online-conference-april-2nd-tickets-99833416436

Join the webinar using this link:
 https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2873516870384126476

Participants will be asked to provide their name and email address when joining (the same email address used to register on Eventbrite)


Postponed UK Chapter Conference: Online Event 2nd April 2020 and Rescheduled Conference for 2021

Category : Conference , Events , Recent

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was taken to postpone our annual conference, which was planned for 2nd and 3rd of April in Glasgow. We are delighted to be able to announce that we have rescheduled the event to take place at the University of Strathclyde on Thursday, 25th and Friday, 26th  March 2021. Further information follows:

  • If you have booked a ticket to the event, you are entitled to a full refund – please contact treasurer@systemdynamics.org.uk to arrange.
  • If you do not seek a refund, you can use the purchased ticket for the 2021 conference.
  • We plan to run an online event on Thursday, 2nd April, which will feature a selection of presentations that were planned for the Strathclyde conference. If you have booked a ticket for the conference, you will be sent a link to the event, whether or not you seek a refund. We would appreciate a small donation if you do attend the online event to cover the costs of providing it. Donations can be provided through Eventbrite HERE, either before or after the online event has taken place.
  • If you would like to attend the online event and you have not already booked a ticket, then making a donation through the Eventbrite site  HERE will result in you being sent a link.


POSTPONED: UK Chapter Conference 2-3 April 2020, Glasgow

Category : Conference , News , Recent

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Policy Council of the System Dynamics Society has had to postpone our annual conference planned for Glasgow this year. You will be entitled to a refund of your conference fees (please contact treasurer@systemdynamics.org.uk). We are exploring the possibilities of a shortened online conference to be held on Thursday 2 April 2020 at a reduced cost which could be taken from your refund should you wish to participate. More details will be announced by Thursday March 19th.


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Winter Newsletter 2020

Category : Conference , News , Recent

SD UK Chapter Conference 2-3 April 2020

This conference has been postponed. Please read the statement: http://systemdynamics.org.uk/postponed-uk-chapter-conference-2-3-april-2020-glasgow/

Technology and Innovation Centre

Book Launch, Edinburgh 12 Feb 2020

Eric Wolstenholme and Douglas McKelvie invite you to the launch of their new book, “The Dynamics of Care” (published by Springer, 2019). Please join them from just after 5.00pm on Wednesday 12 February at The Melting Pot, 4th Floor for 5.30 start. Read more here…  Also, read about their workshop: The Courage to Hold Unconventional Opinions at the same venue at 2pm.


Policy Council Vacancies

The policy council is responsible for the day-to-day running of the UK Chapter of the System Dynamics Society, our conference, networking events and the promotion of the system dynamics methodology in the United Kingdom. We currently have two vacancies for policy council members. Could this be for you? Do you feel you could help us fulfil the aims of the System Dynamics Society in the UK? 

Policy council members are volunteers, with a wide range of backgrounds in industry, consultancy, public service and academia. You do not need to be an expert practitioner. We have council members with different levels of experience and different approaches to the methodology.

If interested, please contact us on info@systemdynamics.org.uk for more information.


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Book Launch: The Dynamics of Care – Understanding People Flows in Health and Social Care

Category : Events , News , Recent

Edinburgh, 12/2/2020, 5.00 for 5.30pm

Authors: Eric Wolstenholme & Douglas McKelvie

Venue: The Melting Pot, 4th Floor, Thorn House, 5 Rose Street, EDINBURGH EH2 2PR .

Date & Time: Wednesday 12 February 2020, 5.00 for 5.30pm

Book Launch Invitation

Eric Wolstenholme and Douglas McKelvie invite you to the launch of their new book, “The Dynamics of Care” (published by Springer, 2019). Please join us from just after 5.00 on Wednesday 12 February at The Melting Pot, 4th Floor. We will start with some refreshments then, shortly after 5.30, Eric and Douglas will be joined by Donald Scott to introduce some themes from the book, with time for discussion. The formalities should be over by 6.30, and you are welcome to stay until 7.00. Copies of the book will be on sale and we will be happy to sign these, or bring any copies you have already purchased and we will sign these too!

To register for the book launch, please use our contact form.


Workshop Invitation

From 2.00 at the same venue, Eric, Douglas and Donny Scott are organising a free workshop as part of the Scottish Government’s Firestarter Festival. The workshop is entitled The Courage to Hold Unconventional Opinions and will include the opportunity for participants to have a hands-on experience of working with some computer models. The target audience for this event is people with little background in building models and places are limited  – this is not an event for expert modellers!

Further details of workshop (including how to register)


More about Eric’s and Douglas’ Book

The book is a compendium of insights, distilled from numerous projects, to shed light on some of the most persistent issues of the day in health and social care. The work demonstrates the importance of embedding the concept of flow into everyday health and social care thinking and creates insights into people’s journeys through different conditions and treatments. It suggests that improving throughput across agencies is the way to improving the performance of health treatment, whereas increasing capacity is the key to improving the performance of social care by retaining independent living. Of course, by increasing social care capacity, we unblock and unlock bottlenecks in the health care system. We need to explore that interconnection, and system dynamics simulation is our contribution.

We argue that balancing health and social care provision can eliminate the many stressful strategies hospitals have to undertake when faced with high demands, and this is a win-win scenario in terms of patients, staff and costs.

Moreover, we show there is a need for better understanding of the dynamics of population ageing, the dynamics of health conditions, workforce planning, and the provision of better, integrated information systems. The book is intended to be a valuable resource for practitioners, clinicians, managers and academics in health, social work, public health and public policy in many countries.

Douglas adds: Eric, one of the founders of System Dynamics in the UK with an international reputation, is my mentor and friend. I learned how to think systemically and build models by working as his apprentice. I am delighted that my Scotland-based friends and collaborators will have the opportunity to meet him and benefit from his insights.

For more information, follow the link to Springer.


What people have said about the book

“A recent report in the British Medical Journal (Global Health) addressed the issue of health system modelling research, emphasising that models should capture the dynamic interactions between the main health system components and acknowledge constraints. This new book by Eric Wolstenholme and Douglas McKelvie describes a methodology (system dynamics) which eminently satisfies that call. Through a number of examples distilled from their extensive consultancy roles in health and social care, they urge a move away from considering specific departments, to a consideration of coupled health systems which transcend organisational boundaries, where inter-connections, inter-dependencies, flows and stocks become the new perspective instead. Those involved in planning for improved service delivery in health and social care can now learn how to rehearse their ideas in silico by deploying simulations which capture the nuances of health systems and can leverage counter-intuitive policy responses.” (Brian Dangerfield, School of Management, University of Bristol, UK)

“Wolstenholme and McKelvie bring two lifetimes of award-winning experience in applying system dynamics to the creation of this new book. In spite of amazing advances in all areas of medical science our medical system as a whole is facing multiple crises. These problems arise from how components of care are organized into a coherent overall system of care. Focused on flows and throughput as key analytic concepts, this new book condenses and focuses insights from over 80 empirical studies within a coherent analytical frame.  All of us interested in and concerned about the cost and quality of maintaining a health population need to read and come to grips with the points that they are making in this important new book.” (David F. Andersen, O’Leary Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus, Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York)

“This very welcome book offers the hope of sound and sustainable solutions to persistent and serious problems that not only cause untold misery to millions but also impose considerable costs in many societies. The exceptional work illustrates that it is now feasible to simulate most management and policy challenges we face. These working, quantified simulations are powerful because they mimic the observable behaviour of the systems we want to better-manage. They allow us to experiment, boldly and at trivial cost, with software facsimiles of the real world, rather than on the real world itself. This potential is now recognised in the UK Government report “Computational modelling: Blackett review”, which makes clear that every executive, advisor and policy-maker, in every field of endeavour, should understand what such simulations can do and know how to implement and exploit them.” (Kim Warren, Managing Director Strategy Dynamics, London, UK)

“Since its inception, the NHS has become one of the great unchanging features of the British landscape. The flip side of such permanence is its inability to move with the times and the great frustration of successive governments has been its imperviousness to change in the way that revolutionised air travel or manufacturing. In this timely book, Eric and Douglas peel back the mystique around care delivery. They introduce two key concepts, feedback and flow, and show why any attempt to modernise delivery will fail without carefully responding to these underlying principles. The strength of this book is in the weight of examples culled over many years and explained in the light of two lifetimes of practical experience.” (Terry Young, Professor Emeritus of Health Care Systems, Brunel University, London and Director, Datchet Consulting)


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