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Home > ST Class
ST & Problem Solving - Fall 2003
by Bob Powell, 10/08/03
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MGM 315 Syllabus (34K) Link

Class 1 - 10/08/03

Class 1 Plan, 10/08/03 (15K) Link

Class 1, 10/08/03 Slides (347K) Link
- Problems, Messes, Wicked Messes
- Learning
- A brief exercise: balancing tubes (the importance of the "long view")
- The Five Disciplines
- Reinforcing Feedback
- Traffic Congestion and the Death Spiral of Mass Transit
- The Attractiveness Principle

Class Ranking of Organizational Problems, 10/08/03 (6K) Link

Class 2 - 10/15/03

Class 2 Plan, 10/15/03 (24K) Link

Class 2, 10/15/03 Slides (28K) Link
- Initial class ranking of organizational problems
- Human behavior is hardwired
- Errors in estimating & predicting

Class 2, 10/15/03 Rookie-Pro Mental Simulation Results (4K) Link

Distribute: System Dynamics/Systems Thinking: Let's Just Get On With It by Barry Richmond (565K) Link

Distribute: Systems thinking: critical thinking skills for the 1990s and beyond  (696K) (Barry Richmond) (D-4565) An argument for teaching systems thinking through learner-centered learning as well as the application of systems thinking to the acquisition of various critical thinking skills.

Class 3 - 10/22/03

Class 3 Plan, 10/22/03 (21K) Link

Class 3, 10/22/03 Slides (31K) Link
- Slides related to Barry Richmond's "System Dynamics/Systems Thinking: Let's Just Get On With It" and "Systems thinking:  critical thinking skills for the 1990s and beyond"

Distribute: Look for the Loops by Bob Powell (640K) Link

Distribute: Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems (464K)  (Jay W. Forrester) (D-4468-2) An introduction to the concepts of system dynamics, discussing social policies and their derivation from incomplete understanding of complex systems.

Class 4 - 10/29/03

Class 4 Plan, 10/31/03 (31K) Link

Class 4, 10/31/03 Slides (327K) Link
- 5D, Ch. 5: A shift of mind - seeing in circles and loops as building blocks
- Basic reinforcing and balancing feedback
- "Look for the Loops" slides
- Characteristics of Collins' "catalytic mechanisms" explained from a systems thinking point of view

Assignment for Class 5, Fifth Discipline Loops (28K)  Link
- Exercise on adding link polarities to the structures in chapters 5 - 7 of The Fifth Discipline (some structures are modified to clarify variables and add "gaps").

Class 4 Changes, 10/31/03 (15K) Link
(describes corrections to Class 4 Plan and Slides and compares the "Escalation" and "Success to the Successful" archetypes)

Class 5 - 11/05/03

Class 5 Plan, 11/05/03 (60K) Link

Class 5, 11/05/03 Systems Thinking Archetypes & Examples (375K) Link

Assignment: Stocks or Flows, 11/05/03 (4K) Link

Distribute: Places to Intervene in a System by Donella Meadows (112K) Link

Project Team Assignment & Evaluation Forms (Word format, 17K) Link

Class 6 - 11/12/03

Class 6 Plan, 11/12/03 (22K) Link

Class 6, 11/12/03 Slides (617K) Link
- ST: Fad or Enduring Practice?
- The "half-life method" for exponential improvement
- Balancing feedback with delays
- Limits to Growth, LTG with delays
- Overshoot & Collapse: eroding carrying capacity
- Basic Growth Dynamics: the "S-Curve," the Product Life Cycle
- Shifting Loop Dominance

Distribute: “The $2000 Hour, How Managers Influence Project Performance Through the Rework Cycle,” Kenneth Cooper, Project Management Journal, Mar. 1994 (hard copy only)

Class 7 - 11/19/03

Class 7 Plan, 11/19/03 (24K) Link

Class 7, 11/19/03 Slides (272K) Link
- Personal Mastery
- Values, Purpose & Vision
- Behavior based on the past: forming beliefs
- "Winning Strategies" & "Creating Reality"
- Mental Models

Distribute: D-4101-1 "A Skeptic's Guide to Computer Models," John D. Sterman (87K) Link

Report on Class Ranking of Influences on Project Failures  Link

Distribute: “System Dynamics Meets the Press”, by Donella Meadows, System Dynamics Review, 5(1), 1989 (hard copy only)

Class 9 - 12/03/03

Class 9 Plan, 12/03/03 (47K) Link

Class 9, 12/03/03 Slides (220K) Link
- More on Mental Models
- The Ladder of Inference & Creating Reality
- Shared Vision
- Team Learning
- Learning as an Integrating Element of Strategy
- Argyris' Model I & Model II Theories of Action
- Defensive Routines
- Dialogue & Skillful Discussion
- Ground Rules for Effective Groups (from Roger Schwarz, The Skilled Facilitator)
- Undiscussables
- Facilitating Group Action & The Wheel of Learning

Distribute: Assignment Due 12/10/03 - add link polarities to the CLDs on The Fifth Discipline pages 228 - 230 and 330. (26K) Link
Note: The diagrams on pp. 227 - 230 are consolidated and the structure on the bottom of p. 229 is partially modified to correct errors.

Distribute: “Organizational Learning -- The Key to Management Innovation”, by Ray Stata, Sloan Management Review, Spring 1989, Vol. 30, No. 3 (hard copy only)

We'll review the papers below ... not necessary to read.
(they are among others at John Sterman's Publications and Research Project Information page). Link

Distribute: "Bathtub Dynamics: Initial Results of a Systems Thinking Inventory" by Linda Booth Sweeney and John D. Sterman, System Dynamics Review, 16(4) 2000 ( 343K) Link

Distribute: “Cloudy Skies: Assessing Public Understanding of Global Warming” by John D. Sterman & Linda Booth Sweeney, System Dynamics Review, 18(2) 2002 (138K) Link

Class 10 - 12/10/03

Class 10 Plan, 12/10/03 (19K) Link

Class 11 - 12/17/03

Class 11 Plan, 12/17/03 (5K) Link

Class 11, 12/17/03 Slides (486K) Link
- "Getting Quality the Old-Fashioned Way" (Sterman)
   & Behavioral Biases Against Fundamental Improvement
- TQM vs Systems Thinking
- Thinking & Learning in Organizations (language, brain, thining skills, memory, motivation & aspiration)
- From Issues to Action with ST & SD
- People Express Management Flight Simulator

Class Ranking of Organizational Problems, Initial & Final, 10/08/03 & 12/17/03 (23K) Link 
Selected Observations:
- In the final class "Systems Thinking" was ranked #1;
  it did not appear in the initial ranking.
- "Communication," "Shared Vision" & "Team Learning" remain highly ranked.
- "Process Problems, Crisis & Firefighting" rose to a much higher rank: from 8 to 4.
- "Time for Learning & Practicing" is ranked 6
   and did not appear in the initial ranking.
- "Mental Models," "Personal Mastery" & "Financial Accounting,
  Too Great Dependence on" did not appear in the initial ranking.

Team Projects

Team Report by Ron Bloodworth, Nadine Davila, R. Jason Elcik, Kelly Robinder on "Why we are Overweight?" Link

Team Report by Karen Bonnett, Howard Copeland, Dave Hemlock, Todd Lane on "Wildfires."  Link  (153K)
Problem Statement: "How can the U.S. approach land management regarding wildfires in urban interface areas?"
Enhanced Wildfire model (after the course): Link (148K)
Problem Statement (Model Focus): How do policies of fire suppression, controlled burns, clear cutting, and forest thinning impact the number and severity of wildfires and the number of homes lost to fire in urban interface areas? How does the system structure influence legislation for clear cutting vs. forest thinning?

Team Report by Susan Berry, Cassie Nacio, Bettye Thomas and April Trappio on "Emergency Situation in the ER" Link (155K)
Problem Statement: "Assessment time and treatment time is increasing in the ER.  What can be done about it?"

Systems Stories
Potential stories from which to choose a team project

The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know, Fast Company, 12/03 (Word, 79K) Link

Shoppers buy into a lifestyle, Denver Post 10/12/03 Link

As Jobs Come Back, It's a New Game, Denver Post WSJ 10/12/03 Link

Rummy: 'Long, Hard Slog' In Iraq, CBS News, 10/22/03 Link

Urban Dynamics: In "Counterintuitive Behavior of Social Systems" see description of our urban problems in the paragraphs on p. 8 beginning with this sentence:  "The investigation showed how depressed areas in cities arise from excess low-income housing rather than from a commonly presumed housing shortage. …" Show how policies on p. 10 influence the structure.

Systems Links

System Dynamics in Education Project:
A Guide to Learning System Dynamics - Link to Road Maps 
From the SDEP Site: Road Maps is a self-study guide to learning system dynamics. It is organized as a series of chapters, and is being developed by the System Dynamics in Education Project at MIT under the direction of Professor Jay Forrester. Presently, nine chapters of Road Maps are available. Road Maps teaches the reader how to identify different kinds of systems all around us and how to model these systems using a computer. Road Maps can be a resource for both beginners and advanced system dynamics modelers, and requires no previous system dynamics knowledge and only basic math skills.

Global Citizen Columns by Donella MeadowsLink

Vensim System Dynamics Simulation Software from Ventana Systems: Link
Free Downloads of Vensim Demonstration, Vensim PLE (Evaluation or Educational), Vensim Model Reader, Molecules

IThink System Dynamics Simulation Software from High Performance Systems: Link
Save-disabled demo versions and online examples

URL: http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/stprobsolvF3.shtml

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© 2003 Continuous Improvement Associates
ST & Problem Solving - Spring 2004
ST & Problem Solving - Fall 2003