22nd MIT-UAlbany System Dynamics Ph.D. Colloquium
Friday, April 29, 2011

Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Room E62, Level 4
Address: 100 Main St, Cambridge MA, 02142

Organizers: David Keith (MIT) and Junesoo Lee (UAlbany)

Time Presentation Speaker
10:25 AM Introductory remarks
Professor John Sterman, MIT
10:30 AM A Multiscale Paradigm Combining Individual‐Based Modeling and System Dynamics to Design Policy Options for Obesity Ozge Karanfil, MIT
11:15 AM Dynamic Modeling of Service Delivery in Health Care: VA Compensation and Pension Exams Tom Rust, WPI
12:15 PM Lunch .
12:45 PM Designing Business Models Stefan Groesser, MIT / St. Gallen
1:30 PM Incorporating Social Capital Concepts in System Dynamics Models: A Look at Urban Development Models
Katrina Hull, University at Albany (SUNY)
2:15 PM Understanding the Challenges to Implementing Interoperable IT systems in Large Organizations
Xitong Li, MIT
3:00 PM Closing Remarks Professor John Sterman, MIT


A Multiscale Paradigm Combining Individual‐Based Modeling and System Dynamics to Design Policy Options for Obesity
Ozge Karanfil

Complex adaptive systems‐of‐systems are inherently multiscale across several dimensions, including temporal, geographical, and organizational. We present a multimodel paradigm integrating a localized community‐scale individual‐based model (IBM) with a population scale system dynamics (SD) model to analyze long term results of policy interventions for obesity prevention. The IBM uses virtual agents embedded in a social network to simulate the spread of opinions relating to nutrition and physical activity (N &PA) behaviors such as dieting and exercise, and the effects of these opinions on individual decisions and their resulting body weights. The network structure uses a mixture of scale‐free and uniformly random connections to represent a social network of relationships and interactions within a local community. The N&PA related health behaviors of individuals, and thus their body weights, change dynamically relative to endogenous influences within their social network and exogenous influences from industry‐based advertising and public health‐related educational policies. The outputs of the IBM, seen as changes in obesity rates, are used as inputs to a SD model that calculates the resulting changes in mortality and morbidity over the ensuing decades. We analyze and compare effects of possible policy interventions, and illustrate a policy cocktail that addresses multiple aspects of the obesity problem, resulting in amplification of desirable results and a strong uncertainty reduction.

Dynamic Modeling of Service Delivery in Health Care: VA Compensation and Pension Exams
Tom Rust

The Veterans Administration faces growing dissatisfaction with the delivery of one of its key services, Compensation and Pension (C&P). This paper focuses on the processes surrounding the administration of medical C&P exams, which determine the extent of a veteran’s service‐related disability, a key factor in determining a veteran’s level of medical coverage in the VA and disability benefits. Providing timely and accurate C&P medical exams is a critical service provided by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Many VHA facilities nation‐wide are experiencing increasing service delays, along with reductions in exam quality and patient satisfaction. A system dynamics model was developed to determine the relationships between operational policies, management decisions, and process outcomes, and calibrated with data from one Boston‐area VA hospital. Tests of system performance under various demand scenarios reveal the extent of the implicit the trade‐off between resource flexibility, clinic utilization rates and patient wait‐times. These scenarios are used to develop strategic policies to improve resource allocation and increase timeliness under highly variable demand conditions.

Designing Business Models
Stefan Groesser

Some state that business models exist since the beginning of economic activity. Management research, however, has emphasized the study of business models only recently (Morris et al., 2006). An accepted definition conceptualizes a business model as "the method by which a firm builds and uses its resources to offer its customers better value than its competitors and to make money doing so ... [It] can be conceptualized as a system that is made up of compoenents, linkages between components, and dynamics." The purpose of this presentation is to appraoch the topic of business models from a system dynamics perspective. It especially emphasize the revenue models and the value proposition models of business models. Case studies are used to explain different structural aspects and how they influence their respective dynamics. The presentation develops a set of canonical sub‐models for business models and thereby provides means to formalize and enhance the discussions about business models in the organizations and strategy literature.

Incorporating Social Capital Concepts in System Dynamics Models: A Look at Urban Development Models
Katrina Hull

Recent studies have focused on the detrimental effects many urban renewal project have had on the social capital of affected neighborhoods. This study first examined the range of definitions being used for social capital in the context of urban communities and the roles this capital has been observed to play in the health and development of an urban area. These definitions were then studied for applicability and operationalizability in system dynamics models of urban development with the goal of determining whether their inclusion would change any of the conclusions of such models.

Understanding the challenges to implementing interoperable IT systems in large organizations
Xitong Li

For decades, organizations across the spectrum of private sectors and governmental agencies have noted the limitations to information sharing and the interoperability of IT systems. With this recognition, many organizations had championed various technological and organizational efforts with the purpose to address those limitations and to facilitate the interoperability of IT systems across the organizations. Despite the various efforts and tremendous investments, it has been observed that the projects for improving the existing IT systems often failed and these problems with IT system interoperability largely continue to persist. IT systems improvement programs usually last for multiple years and require organization‐wide commitment and significant resource investment. There are many dynamic phenomena that may happen during the multi‐year improvement process. The present research aims to shed light on this direction and fills in the gap of the literature. The present research draws upon the literature and to develop a SD model to demonstrate the challenges to implementing interoperable IT systems. Unanticipated results have been demonstrated through the model simulations.

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Last edited by NG 12/05/2011