October 31, 2003
Modeling the Forest or Modeling the Trees
Comparison of System Dynamics and Agent-Based Simulation
Both agent-based modeling and complexity theory as well as system dynamics have a high capacity of explanatory power and produce rich bodies of research and literature on widely overlapping fields of application.
Scholl's paper calls for the cross study of these bodies of literature. Along these lines, this paper provides an excellent summary of comparison between systems dynamics and agent-based simulation. Drawing from a large pool of literature, the paper investigates the overlapping and complementary insights and the synergies involved between the two schools of simulation. The paper also briefly looks at some selected cases where both the approaches were integrated.
The authors, Nadine Schieritz and Peter M. Milling from Mannheim University, Mannheim, Germany, conclude that the integration of approaches might be useful, but there is a cautionary disclaimer about the practice of carrying out this task. Practitioners may not only find the comparison helpful, but their comments on the article could also spawn interesting ideas and, perhaps even some fine insights. To read this article, click on the link: Modeling the Forest or Modeling the Trees
October 21, 2003
A Brief Guide to Interactive Planning and Idealized Design
"I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm a big fan of Russ Ackoff's thinking. Frustrated because I couldn't find a description of his methodologies for interactive planning and idealized redesign, I got permission to post a paper describing those processes (pdf format).
I began to write a summary, but it is so crisply written that I recommend you read it yourself. What I will say is that idealized redesign made me realize that if you never take the time to imagine what you really should be doing, as an individual or organization, you'll never get there. It also brought home to me just how difficult a process redesign is, because we are so wedded to assumptions we don't notice, historic business models and other, often dysfunctional baggage we take for granted."
October 17, 2003
Understanding the Enterprise as a System
Retired GM executive Vince Barabba shares his thoughts on "Understanding the Enterprise as a System" in Jay Chatzkel's latest book, Knowledge Capital: How Knowledge-Based Enterprises Really Get Built.
Barabba states that leadership's role is to understand the principles of systems thinking. Drawing on examples from GM, Barabba discusses the challenge of pervasive contact with different types of markets/customers, the need to understand how parts interact, and ways to use that interaction to provide the greatest value to customers.
A number of other concepts are discussed, such as the dialogue decision process, measurement of progress within a systems approach, and the customization of product selection to suit customer demands.
Emphasizing the importance of a knowledge network in which all employees have access to what they need to do their jobs effectively, Barabba quotes Churchman: “The value of knowledge is in its use, not its collection. It is how the user reacts to the collection that really matters.”
October 14, 2003
The Future of Operational Research is Past
In 1979, Russ Ackoff wrote a paper that was a milestone in management thinking. Published in the Journal of the Operational Research Society at the height of OR's influence, T
Download The future of Operational Research is past indicted the ways that OR had come to be used by its many practitioners. Ackoff followed that paper with a more hopeful one, titled Resurrecting the Future of Operational Research (also pdf).
October 11, 2003
Ackoff Workshop - Archived Live Webcast
Making a Difference: Systems Thinking / Systems Change
Among the topics Dr. Ackoff discussed during the workshop were:
The history and application of systems thinking,
How do social systems allow us to understand and overcome long term problems in today's environment?
How can you effect change within the system in which YOU play a role?
This workshop was made possible by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Motorola, the Justice Web Collaboratory, Chicago-Kent College of Law and the Cook County Bureau of Public Safety and Judicial Coordination.
View the Archived Live Webcast
October 08, 2003
Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers
In order to better manage the growing complexity, change, and diversity of our times, organizations are increasingly turning toward systems thinking approaches.
Unlike quick-fix management solutions, systems thinking is holistic and creative, considering the wholes before the parts, and approaching problem solving from a variety of viewpoints instead of one-size-fits-all.
In his latest book, Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers, Michael C. Jackson discusses the latest research findings in the field, placing special emphasis on the creative uses of systems approaches for today's manager.
Systems Thinking : Creative Holism for Managers
Michael C. Jackson