Session Information and Resources


There are no prerequisites for this session.

Session Information

This one-day workshop provides a brief overview of system dynamics and a hands-on simulation experience, the Fishbanks management simulation. This session also serves as a preview of the more in-depth coverage available in courses offered at MIT Sloan such as 15.871 Introduction to System Dynamics, 15.872 System Dynamics II, and 15.873 System Dynamics for Business and Policy.

Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World was taught in January 2020 during MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP). Each year hundreds of different activities and classes are offered during this four-week period in January on a wide range of both academic and nonacademic topics.


System Dynamics Classes Available on OCW

15.871 Introduction to System Dynamics

15.872 System Dynamics II

15.988 System Dynamics Self Study

15.879 Research Seminar in System Dynamics

15.875 Applications of System Dynamics

System Dynamics Classes at MIT

15.871 Introduction to System Dynamics

15.872 System Dynamics II

15.873 System Dynamics for Business and Policy

15.8731 System Dynamics: Tools for Solving Complex Problems


Sterman, J. Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World. McGraw-Hill / Irwin, 2000. ISBN: 9780072389159

Senge, P. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization. New York, NY: Currency Publishers, 1994. ISBN: 0385472560

Meadows, D., J. Randers, and D. Meadows. Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. Dennis Meadows, 2004. ISBN: 193149858X


Sterman, J. “System Dynamics at Sixty: The Path Forward.” System Dynamics Review. 14 September 2018. DOI: 10.1002/sdr.1601

Repenning, N.P. “Selling System Dynamics to (Other) Social Scientists.” System Dynamics Review. 12 January 2004. DOI: 10.1002/sdr.278

Rahmandad, H., R. Henderson, N.P. Repenning. “Making the Numbers? ‘Short Termism’ and the Puzzle of Only Occasional Disaster.” Management Science 64(3), 8 November 2016. DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2016.2670

Repenning, N.P., J. Sterman. “Nobody ever gets credit for fixing problems that never happened: Creating and sustaining process improvement.” IEEE Engineering Management Review 30(4) 2002. DOI: 10.1109/EMR.2002.1167285

Repenning, N.P. “Capability Traps and Self-Confirming Attribution Errors in the Dynamics of Process Improvement.” Administrative Science Quarterly. June 1, 2002. DOI: 10.2307/3094806


Creative Learning Exchange

Tom Fiddaman’s MetaSD

MIT OCW System Dynamics Self Study

MIT System Dynamics Journal Club

The System Dynamics Society



Stella Architect


R Language





Resources on Jay Forrester

Dizikes, P. “The Many Careers of Jay Forrester.” MIT Technology Review, June 23, 2015.

Forrester, J.W. “The Beginnings of System Dynamics” (PDF). MIT D-4165-1 (1996).

Climate Policy Simulator

En-Roads Climate Policy Simulator

Just for Fun

Spurious Correlations (Tyler Vigen’s website)

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2020
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Lecture Notes