George P. Richardson - Presentations available from the author

My University web site no longer has space for these. Please email [email protected] and I will send you the file you request.

Most of these are PowerPoint presentations. Almost all contain animations and repeated slides to build images. Consequently, they are best viewed in the presentation mode of PowerPoint and will not print well without editing out slides that build. Some are PDF files. You will need the Acrobat Reader or the Mac's Preview to display or print those. Any of these files can be downloaded, viewed, cited, and referred to with appropriate attribution.

Creating Critical Thinking in our Students through System Dynamics. Opening keynote presentation at the Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Conference for K-12 Education, Babson Executive Conference Center, Wellesley, MA, June 30 - July 2, 2012.

Abstract: Setting the stage for the presentations and discussions of the conference, this presentation focuses on three prominent skill areas emphasized in the system dynamics approach. It asks, Why graph? Why map? and Why Model? These three organizing questions are addressed first somewhat narrowly within the fields of systems thinking and system dynamics, and then more expansively, addressing the larger issues of K-12 education excellence.

Concept Models. Invited presentation in the system dynamics track of the ISSH Workshop at Washington University, St. Louis, MO, June, 2012.

Abstract: Working with groups unfamiliar with system dynamics, modelers need a quick way to introduce the iconography of the approach and some of its framing assumptions. In the early exploratory days of group model building interventions at the University at Albany, we settled on the use of sequences of tiny models for this purpose, which we call "concept" models. The intent is to begin with a sequence of simulatable pictures so simple and self-explanatory, in the domain and language of the group's problem, that the group is quickly and naturally drawn into the system dynamics approach.

Previous papers have sketched in passing the notion of concept models as we have used them. Here we provide a number of illustrative examples and describe in detail the ways we use these little models, the assumptions behind them, some design principles that have matured over time as our experience has grown, and a discussion of possible problems with the approach.

Applications with Impact. Closing plenary presentation at the meeting of the Benelux chapter of the System Dynamics Society, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 10 Feb 2012. Repeated at the workshop in System Dynamics in Action, at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore, February, 2012.

Abstract: Reflections on five applications of systems modeling that have had significant impacts, including Automobile leasing, Commodity cyles, Project dynamics, Urban dynamics, and Epidemics. The purpose is to illustrate impactful applications and to stimulate reflection on what makes them powerful.

Feedback Thought in Social Science. Opening keynote at the workshop in System Dynamics in Action, at the Duke - NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore, 14 Feb 2012.

Abstract: An overview of the history of feedback thought, tracing modern understandings and usages of the feedback concept back to their foundations. Drawn from GP Richardson's Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory (Philadelphia: UPenn Press, 1991; reprinted by Pegasus Communications, Waltham, MA)

Scripted Approaches to Planning Strategic Modeling Sessions. Presentation at the Public Management Research Conference at Syracuse University, June 2011.

Abstract: Presenting "Scriptapedia" and "ScriptsMap." Building on advances in group decision support and strategic management, this presentation sketches ongoing work in several modeling communities to create and organize repeatable "scripts" for participatory model-building sessions. The work involves teams from the Radboud University Nijmegen, Washington University - St. Louis, Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, and the University at Albany.

Advances in Group Model Building. Presentation of developments as of mid-2010 in system dynamics group model building from work done in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany and the Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow. Given at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the University of Pittsburg, ,and Radboud University Nijmegen.

Abstract: Recent work at the University at Albany and the Strathclyde Business School has resulted in building a shared set of scripts for system dynamics group model building and strategic management sessions supported by Group Explorer. This presentation overviews both approaches separately and describes a joint workshop focused on dementia policy in a region of Scotland. Also illustrated are elements of the tool called ScriptsMap developed by these authors to facilitate the design of multi-method group faciliated strategy workshops.

Dynamic Complexity. Plenary presentation at the 50th annual meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), Sonoma, California. (Powerpoint slides.)

Abstract: Dynamic complexity arises because systems are changing over time, tightly coupled, governed by feedback, nonlinear, history-dependent, self-organizing, adaptive, counterintuitive, policy resistant, and characterized by tradeoffs (Sterman 2000). The field of System Dynamics contributes to our abilities to understand dynamic complexity and manage complex systems by emphasizing Thinking dynamically, Thinking in circular causal / feedback patterns, Thinking in stocks and flows, and Modeling and simulation. This presentation provides examples.

Systems Mapping and Modeling for Tobacco Control. (Reporting on work done with ISIS – the Initiative for the Study and Implimentation of Systems in public health. Presented most recently at the March 2006 conference of the American Academy of Health Behavior in Carmel, California.)

ISIS is a consortium of researchers, public health experts, and policy and advocacy practitioners exploring a multidisciplinary approach to public health problems. The initial work focused on tobacco prevalence and control. In addition to substantive tobacco control experts, the group included experts in knowledge management, network analysis, systems modeling, and organizational change. The PowerPoint slides shown here present the systems mapping and initial modeling results. (Viewing the slides in the Notes view will shown some explanatory text to accompany the slides.)

Validation as a Social Process.  Workshop on System Dynamics Modeling of Physical and Non-Physical Systems for National Security, sponsored by Booz, Allen, Hamilton, Inc., held in Washington, DC, 21-22 April 2005. (Powerpoint slides in PDF format.)

An overview of thoughts about the evaluation of system dynamics models emphasizing social, rather than technical, dimensions. The presentation begins with the distinction between structure validating processes and behavior validating processes. It argues that validation considerations are present at every step of the modeling process: Conceptualizing, Mapping,
Formulating, Simulating, Deciding, and Implementing. The validation considerations put forward in each of these areas are developed.

Can System Dynamics Models Learn? (International System Dynamics Conference, Bergen, Norway, Aug. 6 - 9, 2000). (Powerpoint slides in PDF format.)

It is common to assert that while people might learn, system dynamics models do not. Our image of models that learn are neural net models, or LISP or Prolog programs, which can modify their structure and behavior as they run. 'Models that learn' are seen to be models that can change structure, usually interpreted as 'equations' or 'lines of code.' Since system dynamics models do not rewrite themselves as they run, we commonly conclude that they can not exhibit 'learning.'
This little study probes the question of whether these preconceptions of 'models that learn' are as evidently true as we have thought. The centerpiece of the study is a well-known model of instabilities in a workforce providing services in a noisy environment. To this structure is added a formulation representing the model 'learning' that it requires some internal adjustment to dampen the oscillations.
The presentation reflects on elements of this exercise, suggesting how far we can push this example of a model that 'learns' (and 'forgets'), what it might tell us about models of learning in dynamic situations (such as global sustainability), and what it might reveal about the deep harmonies and dischords between the various kinds of models that appear to display learning-like structure and behavior.
Learning model used in the presentation (Vensim). (This will appear in your web browser as text. Instruct your web browser to "Save as" -- it should give the file the correct name, e.g., Learning3.mdl -- and then save it where you put your Vensim models.)
Keynote Presentation: "Insightful Little Models" (Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling: a Conference for K-12 Education, Scamania Lodge, Washington, June 25-27, 2000.) (Powerpoint slides in PDF format; slide 5 is only partially there and slide 6 is not shown, for reasons I haven't figured out yet.)
The purpose of most system dynamics studies is insight. As an introduction to the field, this presentation explores what systems thinking is, how formal models help, and what sorts of insights one might expect. The overarching goal is insight into the connections between system structure, captured in stocks and flows and feedback loops, and system behavior, captured in graphs of dynamic patterns over time.
Examples of insightful structures captured in maps include prejudice, patterns in self-reported drug use, Newton's second law, and a first-grader's insight about marketing. Examples of insightful little formal models include deficit and debt, population growth, slinky oscillations, Volterra's principle in predator/prey systems, a social welfare system insight, and urban dynamics.
Vensim PLE versions of the formal models in this presentation: (These will appear in your web browser as text. Instruct your web browser to "Save as" -- it should give the file the correct name, e.g., Debt.mdl -- and then save it where you put your Vensim models.)
Deficit and debt
Constrained population
Driven spring
Welfare insight
Urban growth, stagnation, and decay
Welfare Reform Project (Powerpoint slides in PDF format)
Since February of 1997, a team of researchers at the Rockefeller College has been working with the New York State's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and with three New York State counties to develop a series of simulation models and flight simulators to aid counties in planning for the impending loss of clients' elligibilities for Federal welfare support.
These slides give a history of the project, describe the group modeling process that produced the results, overview the final model developed, review simulation-based policy analyses and insights, and outline the implementation steps being taken in one of the counties.
Keynote Presentation: " enable Freshmen to do what once strained Newton's powers..." (Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling: a Conference for K-12 Education, New England Conference Center, Durham, New Hampshire, June 28-30, 1998.) (Powerpoint slides in PDF format)
This presentation addresses what "systems thinking" and "system dynamics" are, and why children as well as policy analysts ought to have the habits and skills they involve. It defines systems thinking as the mental effort to uncover endogenous sources of system behavior and then unpacks the meanings of "behavior," "system," and "endogenous."
The notion of endogenous sources of system behavior leads to the concept of feedback, which in turn leads to system dynamics, defined here as computer simulation modeling in support of systems thinking. The presentation contains lots of examples, from a first grader's personally discovered self-reinforcing feedback loop to descriptions of the applied work of practicing consultants.

[Home | Publications | Resume | Courses | Papers]