Business Dynamics: MIT's Approach to Diagnosing and Solving Complex Business Problems

Business Dynamics: MIT's Approach to Diagnosing and Solving Complex Business Problems

Item No. a056g00000URaMkAAL
Course Dates Format Duration Time Commitment Price
Jun 7–15, 2021 Live Online 7 days 5.5 hours/day $9,500

Tracks

Management and Leadership

Certificate Credits

5.0 EEUs

Topics

- Operations

- Organizations & Leadership

- Systems Thinking

This course provides an intensive, hands-on introduction to system dynamics, a unique framework for understanding and managing complex businesses and organizations. Participants are introduced to a variety of tools, including mapping techniques, simulation models, and MIT’s “management flight simulators” to help them understand the sources of persistent problems and how business decisions may result in complicated cause-and-effect loops.


In a world of growing complexity, many of the most vexing problems facing managers arise from the unanticipated side-effects of their own past actions. In response, organizations struggle to increase the speed of learning and adopt a more systemic approach. The challenge is to move beyond outdated slogans about accelerated learning and “thinking systemically” to implementing practical tools that help managers design better operating policies, understand complexity, and guide effective change.


This program introduces participants to system dynamics, a powerful framework for identifying, designing, and implementing high-leverage interventions for sustained success in complex systems. It has been used successfully in diverse industries and organizations, such as Airbus, Compaq, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Merck. Developed at MIT more than fifty years ago by computer pioneer Jay Forrester, system dynamics led to the creation of management flight simulators that allow managers to accelerate learning, experience the long-term side effects of decisions, and design structures and strategies for greater success.


Through intensive, hands-on workshops and interactive experiments, participants will be exposed to the principles of systems thinking and practical methods for putting them into action. They will be introduced to a variety of tools, including mapping techniques, simulation models, and MIT’s management flight simulators—such as the Beer Game — which they can apply to their own business environment as soon as they complete the program. Throughout the week, participants work in small groups and interact closely with the course leaders, Professors Sterman and Repenning.


THE BEER GAME
“There is no actual beer in the Beer Game,” says John Sterman.


Rather, the Beer Game is a table game, developed in the late 1950s by digital computing pioneer and Sloan professor Jay Forrester, SM ’45. 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.


“In my view, the real purpose and real value of a Sloan education is to develop [students’] capabilities as systems thinkers and the leadership abilities to use those capabilities to build the world we truly want. Not for the short run. Not to boost the bottom line, or to pump up the stock price. But to create the world we truly want, for the long run.”
 

Effective decision making and learning require tools to better understand how the structure of complex systems influences the behavior of individuals within the system and the overall outcomes. The concepts and frameworks covered in this Business Dynamics course will enable participants to:

  • Discover why dysfunctional dynamics persist in organizations
  • Understand why success in one area often means trouble for other areas, and how to avoid this problem
  • Identify and understand complex situations and the dynamics they produce
  • Assess in advance the likely impact of different policies and decisions on the growth, stability, and behavior of organizations
  • Design integrated growth strategies
  • Deduce critical delays in new product development and introduction
  • Make strategic decisions that result in outcomes consistent with overall objectives
  • Develop the ability to think systemically and dynamically
  • Implement successful change initiatives

"Though I took this course two years ago, its constructs resonate with me, as what I learned continues to have a significant impact on how I structure my approach in any analysis and problem solving situation. After class, I originally described it as a 'paradigm shift' in my ability to think through complex problems and demonstrate solutions in an elegant and simple fashion." - James T.

Sample Schedule—Subject to Change

Business Dynamics is designed for executives, managers, planners, strategists, and consultants who work with management teams. It also benefits administrators of public and not-for-profit organizations, management scientists, and educators.


Titles of past participants have included:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Vice President, Learning and Innovation
  • Chief Investment Officer
  • Decision Consultant
  • Manager, Continuous Improvement
  • Director, Forecasting and Market Intelligence
  • Quality and Process Director
  • Vice President, Performance Measurement and Management
  • Director of Process Management
  • Senior Quality and Business Excellence Consultant
  • Director of Programs and Strategic Planning
  • Manager, IT Strategy and Competencies Development
  • Director, Corporate Planning
  • Change Manager
  • Director, Customer Investment Program
  • Operations Improvement Manager
  • Director, Enterprise Risk Management
  • Professor 
  • Director, Process Improvements Initiatives
  • Vice President, Global Network Services
  • Director, Sustaining and Process Engineering
  • Manager of Corporate Planning
  • Operations Research Analyst

The benefits of the program are reinforced when three or more participants from the same organization attend. Companies are encouraged to sponsor cross-functional team participation. Learn about our Team Discount.

Course Dates Format Duration Time Commitment Price
Jun 7–15, 2021 Live Online 7 days 5.5 hours/day $9,500

Tracks

Management and Leadership

Certificate Credits

5.0 EEUs

Topics

- Operations

- Organizations & Leadership

- Systems Thinking

Enroll Now!

$9,500