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Teaching Systems Thinking in Spreadsheets. Mohammad Mojtahedzadeh Attune Group, Inc Deborah Upton Stonehill College. Modeling Spectrum:. Exposé. System Dynamics. Spreadsheet. Simple Manipulation. Complex Formulation. Build on Simple manipulation to arrive at Complex formulation.

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Teaching systems thinking in spreadsheets l.jpg

Teaching Systems Thinking in Spreadsheets

Mohammad Mojtahedzadeh

Attune Group, Inc

Deborah Upton

Stonehill College


Modeling spectrum l.jpg

Modeling Spectrum:

Exposé

System Dynamics

Spreadsheet

Simple Manipulation

Complex Formulation

Build on Simple manipulation to arrive at Complex formulation


Modeling spectrum3 l.jpg

Exposé

Modeling Spectrum:

System Dynamics

Simple Manipulation

Complex Formulation

  • Hidden relationships

  • Visualization of structure

Spreadsheet

  • Local in time and space

  • Global in time and space

  • One way linkages

  • Circular Causality

  • Stock-and-Flow

  • Mathematical Nonlinearity

  • Data-Point Nonlinearity


The spreadsheet approach l.jpg

Hidden relationships:

The Spreadsheet Approach:


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Hidden relationships

The Spreadsheet Approach:

Makes it difficult to

understand,

analyze and, communicate…


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Exposé in MS Excel:

Tree Diagrams of Precedence

make the connections among the CELLS visible


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Local in Time and Space

The Spreadsheet Approach:

Working with numbers (not equations)

One relationship, one time period

No clear model boundaries

…. makes it easy to master!

…. but inadequate for modeling complexity!


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Local in Time and Space

The Spreadsheet Approach:

Purchases (Jan)

Savings (Jan)

1000 – 95.26 = ?


Savings t savings t 1 purchases l.jpg

From cell reference formulas to equations

  • Translate cell reference formulas to equations:

February

$1,000

January

$95.26

Savings (t) = Savings (t - 1) - Purchases

  • Reconstruct the structure


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Exposé in MS Excel:

Tree Diagrams of Causal Drivers

make the connections among the VARIABLES visible


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Exposé in MS Excel

Two distinguished tree diagrams

Tree Diagrams of Precedence

Tree Diagrams of Causal Drivers


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Can we build on what people know?

The Value Proposition:

Global

(interconnected)

System Dynamics

Complex Issues

Spreadsheet

Local

(isolated)

Simple Issues

Short term

Long term


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From Numbers to Equations and back again

The Value Proposition:

Exposé allows the user to interact with Numbers and Equations any time in the process of modeling

Sometimes it might be easier to start with Numbers and then move to Equations


Example from numbers to equations and back again l.jpg

Sometimes, wouldn’t be easier to start with…

Example: From Numbers to Equations and back again

Purchases (Jan)

Savings (Jan)

1000 – 95.26 = ?


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….. in order to arrive at…..?

Example:From Numbers to Equations and back again

Savings = Integ( purchases, 1000)


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One way linkages:

The Spreadsheet Approach:

Lack of focus on

integration point and

feedback processes

makes spreadsheets inadequate to model dynamic systems


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Exposé in MS Excel

Make integration points visible

Launch Exposé with Examples from the book


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Exposé in MS Excel

Circular Causality

Identify and work with feedback processes

Launch Exposé with Examples from the book


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Exposé in MS Excel

Allows data-point non-linearity

Launch Exposé with the MARKET GROWTH MODEL


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Exposé in MS Excel

Do “what if” analysis more often

Launch Exposé perhaps with Market growth model


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Not The End….Just The Beginning…


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