Simple principles to tackle complex problems 

In every field of life, problems and opportunities feature complex challenges:

It takes time for things to build up - both good things, like money, friends, natural resources, education, and bad things, like debt, unemployment, waste and greenhouse gases.

Elements in "the system" depend on each other - getting a better job needs higher skills; cutting carbon emissions needs cheaper alternative power; declining habitats cuts wildlife ... 

Feedback drives change, both for better or worse - more traffic needs more roads, which drives more traffic; cheaper alternative energy drives more capacity, which makes it cheaper ...

Thresholds drive tipping-points - work-pressure is OK until it drives staff to resign; rising temperatures trigger ice-melting; electric vehicles suddenly become affordable for millions ...

And intangible factors impact on all these mechanisms - mistrust makes us ignore good advice; understanding drives responsible behaviour; data improves the services we need ...

Models are useful for two main purposes: 

... to solve a one-off challenge, like fixing poor service or fighting off a competitor 

... to set up a continuing plan for a business or department

To get an idea of the full opportunity, we show how to build a model to plan a whole business. This needs to be simple and familiar - a new restaurant.

Our restaurant wants to sell meals and make profits, so: 

... it must win and retain customers (!) 

... offering a menu to attract them  

... and hiring enough staff to serve them (but not too many!) 

Follow our demonstrations to create a working model of how these items depend on each other to build a growing "machine" that drives sales and profits. (This is what spreadsheet models cannot do!)

Lessons in these classes ...

  • 1

    Introducing "AgileSD"

    • Welcome to "AgileSD"

    • Tell us about yourself

    • Get the slides ... !

    • Get the software ... or use others

    • System Dynamics for time-based challenges

    • The example for this course - cutting offences on public transport

    • Summary of the AgileSD approach

  • 2

    1. Better performance - over time

    • Get the slides for class 1

    • Start a new model

    • Set up the model time-scale

    • Create the performance objectives in the model

    • OPTIONAL: Chart a 'feared future' for the objective

    • ADVANCED: Time-steps, Resolution and 'dT'.

  • 3

    2. How "Stocks" drive performance

    • Get the slides for class 2

    • How Stocks behave

    • Add the Stock of Offenders, who drive the offences

    • Make the Stock act like a Variable - for now

    • Calculate how the Offenders Stock drives the offences outcome

    • Simple arithmetic - and the spreadsheet parallel

    • Doing more with the model at this stage ...

    • When correlation is meaningless

  • 4

    3. How "Flows" change Stocks

    • Get the slides for class 3

    • How to add an in-flow of new offenders

    • Demo : adding Flows to change the number of Offenders

    • An emerging theory of how the system works

    • Physical Stocks cannot go negative !!

    • Testing Scenarios

    • Sharing models with other people

  • 5

    4. Interdependence in the system

    • Get the slides for class 4

    • Stocks (Officers) drive flow-rates (offenders stop)

    • Separate in- and out-flows

    • "Look up" how one item depends on another

    • Add a Look-up function for how more Officers cover more crime hotspots

    • Working out Reported offences

    • Offenders stopping, due to offences being caught

  • 6

    The Feedback that completes the core model

    • Get the slides for this class

    • What causes feedback - and what does it do?

    • Balancing feedback slows the fall in Offenders and offences

    • Reinforcing feedback that could drive growth of Offenders

    • Add intangible "public confidence" to increase offence-reporting

    • STILL following the AgileSD process

    • Assess strategies to cut offences with Scenario tests

  • 7

    More on "AgileSD" ...

    • Get the slides for this class

    • Why AgileSD works - and gives better results, faster.

    • More important Frameworks (1) - "Pipelines"

    • More important Frameworks (2) - Stock-attributes and the co-flow structure

    • More resources ...

  • 8

    Feedback please !!

    • Please share and rate our course

    • End-of-course survey