Management and Leadership

Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems

Dates: Nov 06-07, 2014| Mar 17-18, 2015| Jun 23-24, 2015| Oct 29-30, 2015

Certificate Track: Management and Leadership

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tuition: $3,300 (excluding accommodations)

Program Days (for certificate credit): 2

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This program will introduce participants to “systems thinking” as a response to the rapid changes in technology, population, and economic activity that are transforming the world, and as a way to deal with the ever increasing complexity of today's business. Systems thinking was devised to improve people's ability to manage organizations comprehensively in a volatile global environment. It offers managers a framework for understanding complex situations and the dynamics those situations produce. Senior managers can use the system dynamics method to design policies that lead their organizations to high performance. The program is intended to give participants the tools and confidence to manage organizations with full understanding and solid strategy.

Participants will experience the Beer Game, a table game, developed in the late 1950s by Jay Forrester. Played with pen, paper, printed plastic tablecloths, and poker chips, it simulates the supply chain of the beer industry. In so doing, it illuminates aspects of system dynamics, a signature mode of MIT thought: it illustrates the nonlinear complexities of supply chains and the way individuals are circumscribed by the systems in which they act.

Join the MySloanExecEd Community Group for this program to network with past, present, and future participants.

The program will offer a new way of thinking about and resolving complex, persistent problems that emerge from change. Applying organization theory along with intuitive principles of feedback control, participants will learn to:

  • Assess the likely impact of different policies and decisions that relate to their organization's growth, stability, and performance
  • Recognize business system archetypes that can trigger persistent, long-term problems
  • Use state-of-the-art management tools to identify relationships
  • Intervene effectively to make fundamental changes

This program is designed for executives with decision-making responsibility who are looking for fresh ideas to resolve organizational problems. Past participants have included:

  • CEOs
  • Presidents
  • COOs
  • CTOs
  • VPs and EVPs
  • Corporate planners and strategists
  • Senior Project Managers
  • Product Development Managers

Please note that faculty are subject to change and not all faculty teach in each session of the program.

  • J. Bradley Morrison

    Senior Lecturer
    MIT Engineering Systems Division

    Brad Morrison studies dynamically complex problems in organizations, organizational change, and management using the tools of system dynamics. His research centers on why organizations find it difficult to do what they want to do. Morrison focuses on implementation problems, which he has studied in several contexts, such as process improvement settings and firms adopting the practices of lean manufacturing... ... (more)
  • John Sterman

    Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management / Professor of System Dynamics and Engineering Systems / Director, MIT System Dynamics Group

    John D. Sterman’s research centers on improving managerial decision making in complex systems. He has pioneered the development of “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems. These flight simulators are now used by corporations and universities around the world. His recent research ranges from the dynamics of organizational change and the implementation of sustainable improvement programs to experimental studies assessing the public’s understanding of global climate change... ... (more)
07:45 AM - 08:30 AMRegistration and Continental Breakfast
08:30 AM - 12:30 PMWelcome and Introduction, Introduction to System Dynamics, Lessons from the Beer Game
12:30 PM - 01:30 PMLuncheon
01:30 PM - 05:00 PMTools of the System Dynamics
05:00 PM - 06:00 PMReception
07:30 AM - 08:30 AMContinental Breakfast
08:30 AM - 12:00 PMPolicy Design in Complex Organizations
12:00 PM - 01:00 PMLuncheon
01:00 PM - 04:00 PMThe Implementation Challenge

Featured Video

Participant Discussion: Stefan Bircher on Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems

Participant Discussion: Stefan Bircher on Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems.

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View the MIT Sloan Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems Interactive Brochure

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