Based on a speech to the International System Dynamics Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., August 2007.
System dynamics—the next fifty years†
Article first published online: 30 OCT 2007
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
System Dynamics Review
Special Issue: Exploring the Next Great Frontier: System Dynamics at 50 Guest Editor: John D. Sterman
Volume 23, Issue 2-3, pages 359–370, Summer - Autumn (Fall) 2007
How to Cite
Forrester, J. W. (2007), System dynamics—the next fifty years. Syst. Dyn. Rev., 23: 359–370. doi: 10.1002/sdr.381
- Issue published online: 30 OCT 2007
- Article first published online: 30 OCT 2007
- Manuscript Received: AUG 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: AUG 2007
- Cited By
Fifty years after its creation, I review the current status of the field of system dynamics and assess prospects for the next fifty. I focus on the challenges the field must face if it is to realize its potential.
The first 50 years of system dynamics have established an introduction to the field. We have shown the importance of achieving a better understanding of complex systems in nature and human affairs. Now, the field is on a plateau ready to launch the next great thrust forward.
We can better understand the present status of system dynamics by comparison to professions that have developed earlier. We are now at about the same state of advancement that engineering was when MIT first opened its doors in 1865, or that medicine was in the late 1800s when the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine was established.
We have as much to learn yet about high-order nonlinear feedback structures around us as those earlier professions have already learned about their fields in the last 150 years. Now is the time to plan how the next 50 years can start to close this huge knowledge gap.
Like those early days in more mature professions, we do not yet have universities devoted to 4-year and 6-year programs in system dynamics. Like the older professions at their beginning, we do not yet have the equivalent of programs in science and biology in kindergarten through 12th grade education to prepare students for more advanced study at the university level. Nevertheless, there has been major progress in system dynamics during the last 50 years just as there had been in those older professions before they became formalized in advanced educational programs and before they were publicly recognized. Copyright © 2007 Jay W. Forrester.