John Sterman

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


John Sterman

John D. Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Professor in the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. He is also the Director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative.

Sterman’s research centers on improving decision-making in complex systems, including corporate strategy and operations, energy policy, public health, environmental sustainability, and climate change. His work ranges from the dynamics of organizational change and the implementation of sustainable improvement programs to climate change and the implementation of policies to promote a sustainable world. Sterman pioneered the development of “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems which are now used by corporations, universities, and governments around the world.

He is the author of many scholarly and popular articles on the challenges and opportunities facing organizations today, including the book, Modeling for Organizational Learning, and the award-winning textbook, Business Dynamics.

Sterman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received an honorary doctorate from the Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland. He has twice been awarded the Jay W. Forrester Prize for the best published work in system dynamics; has won an IBM Faculty Award as well as the Accenture Award for the best paper of the year published in the California Management Review. He received the Best Application Award from the System Dynamics Society for his work on climate change policy. At MIT, he has been recognized with the Samuel E. Seegal Faculty Prize, given to a professor who “inspires students in pursuing and achieving excellence,” the Jamieson Award for Excellence in Teaching, numerous other awards for teaching excellence; and was named one of MIT Sloan’s “Outstanding Faculty” by the BusinessWeek Guide to the Best Business Schools. His research has been featured in media around the world including the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe ,Public Television’sNews Hour, National Public Radio’s Marketplace, WGBH, and other media for his innovative use of interactive simulations in management education and policymaking, particularly in climate change and energy policy.

Sterman holds an AB in engineering and environmental systems from Dartmouth College and a PhD in system dynamics from MIT.

Faculty Media

  • Can Global GoalsCast Save the Planet?

    In this podcast, John Sterman shares his energy and climate policy simulator, ClimateInteractive

  • How You Can Curb Climate Change

    A reporter tests out John Sterman's climate change simulator to understand the various steps one can take to have an impact.

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] What Does the Trump Administration Mean for Climate Change Efforts?

    "For every conservative who dreams about ripping up the Paris Agreement, there's a company executive who wants to stay in."

  • [Innovation@Work Webinar] The Dynamics of Climate Change—from the Political to the Personal

    In this free webinar hosted by MIT Sloan's John Sterman, explore the dynamics of the climate interactively and suggest what we can do both professionally and personally to build a safer,...

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] Taking #OurAccord Personally for Earth Day

    People often think of climate change as a policy issue, one that is best dealt with through legislation and mandates, and not as an individual.

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] A Unique Framework to Address Complex Challenges: System Dynamics

    Many executives in today's complicated business world are finding they no longer have the tools and techniques needed to address complex problems. MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman says there is a...

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] Mapping Risk with the Beer Game

    As MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman told MIT Technology Review, “there’s no actual beer in the Beer Game.” Instead, it’s an exercise for MIT Sloan students that simulates the supply chain of the...

  • How VR Enhances the Business School Experience

    John Sterman discusses the benefits VR simulations bring to the classroom.

  • You Fix It: Can You Stay Within the World's Carbon Budget?

    This climate simulator lets you explore more than 8,100 climate scenarios.

  • Planet has Just 5% Chance of Reaching Paris Climate Goal, Study Says

    Researchers find that economic, emissions and population trends point to very small chance Earth will avoid warming more than 2C by century’s end.


Contact Information

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Support Staff
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Phone: 617-258-5583

Teaches In

The Dynamics of Climate Change—from the Political to the Personal

Explore the dynamics of the climate interactively and learn what we can do both professionally and personally to build a safer, sustainable world. Sterman presents C-ROADS, this award-winning modeling software has been used by more than 60,000 people, including policy makers and negotiators, in 53 nations around the world, and is freely available to participants in the webinar.

John Sterman: System Dynamics

In this video, Professor John Sterman talks about systems dynamics—a technique invented by MIT Sloan's Jay Forrester—to better understand dynamic problems arising in complex systems.

John Sterman and Jason Jay: #OurAccord

John Sterman and Jason Jay discuss how you can contribute your ideas on how to fight climate change. Share your ideas on social media using #OurAccord.