Systems Design and Business Dynamics
Course Overview
Starting Point: What is a system?
Focus: Why dynamics?
Thinking and Analysis: What is the
nature of a structural hypothesis?
End Point: Why design?
Systems Design and Business Dynamics:
Why should you be here?



You will gain a basic understanding and working knowledge
of systems thinking fundamentals: performance patterns
thinking, causal loop diagramming, archetype stories and
stock-flow mapping.
You will gain an appreciation and insight into putting
systems thinking into personal and organizational action to
pinpointing leverage points and design improved system
performance.
Bottom line: You will be better prepared to contribute to
your future organization’s ability to see into complexity and
offer



meaningful facilitation and conversational skills to help others
understand systems structure
effective systems redesign policies
Few MBAs have this elective content available
Systems Design and Business Dynamics:
Studying Complex Problems
Closed-loop thinking: feedback loops (Classes 1-3)

Two Basic Feedback Loops

Causal Loop Diagram

Systems Archetypes
Operational Thinking; stocks & flows mapping (Classes 4-7)

How does the system really work?

System as Cause & Examining decision policies

”ithink” software: mapping and simulation
Systems Design Applications Analyses and Simulations (Cls 3-15)

Practice analysis and design skills involving dynamic behavior, why it
occurs, and how we can find high leverage changes and new systems
designs to understand and improve







Business growth dynamics management
Improvement management
Consulting practice dynamics
Managing out of addiction
Turnaround Strategy Design and Implementation
Performance metrics design
Natural resources sustainability
Systems Design and Business Dynamics:
Announcements
ithink software:
See Course Description Web Site & isee systems memo
Use DISCOUNT CODE UVA2011



Need ithink 9.1.4 for preparations of Class #3 October 21
A good deal; required for the course and very useful elsewhere
Please have on your laptop ithink download ready by Thursday, Class
#2 (10/20/11); we will briefly examine the software.
GBUS8430 web site and course folder

Will be used to deliver some course materials (In-class assignments
and software models)
Systems Design and Business Dynamics:
Running Rules for the Sessions





Be here for all sessions and workshops
Sit in same seats or near same seats; sign in each day
Minimize disruptions
 cell phones off,
 leaving the room, arriving after class starts
 using laptop for non-SD & BD learning activities
Absences—prior notification, if possible; know the
grade consequences of absences
Mutual professional respect (students, faculty, guests)
Systems Design and Business Dynamics:
Course Grading
Class Contribution: 50% of grade

Attendance: no more than 2 un-excused in our 15 sessions;
otherwise Low Performance (max grade) in class participation.

Daily: we will record attendance and observe contributions

An announced individual assignment (s) relative to class
preparations
Course Comprehensive Assignment: 50% of grade

Four (tbd-confirmed) person group; systems thinking assignment;
calling upon the major frameworks, thinking skills and tools of the
course

Group Formation Process---look for an email on Friday 10/21/11
Systems Design and Business Dynamics
Planning Ahead Requests
Individual and Group Deliverables for Several Class
Workshops and the Course Project

Required, Individual Turn–in Assignment: Nov 3

100% Attendance Required on Nov 3; see me if a
problem

Group preparations prior to Nov 9

Required, Individual Turn–in Assignment:
December 6

100% Attendance Required on Dec 6 and 7; see
me if a problem
Systems Thinking
Perspective - A Shift of Mind
 Dynamic thinking: Seeing time-based patterns of
change rather than snap-shots/events.
 Closed loop thinking: looking for circles of
causality rather than linear cause-effect chains to
develop and communicate a mental model of
causality structure (a feedback structure)
 System as Cause thinking: What is generating the
performance pattern? (boundary of causes)
 Operational thinking: How does the system really
work? Uses stock-flow maps to operationalize
(make explicit) one’s mental model and highlight
information flows, delays and decision policies.