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MIT/ILP Calendar Event

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

June 19-23, 2017

Overview

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 speed learning and adopt a more systemic approach. The challenge is to move past slogans about accelerating learning and ?thinking systemically? to practical tools that help managers understand complexity, design better operating policies, 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 thirty years ago by computer pioneer Jay Forrester, system dynamics led to the creation of management flight simulators that allow managers to experience the long-term side effects of decisions, accelerate learning, 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, 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.


Participants will experience the Beer Game, a table game, developed 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.


Takeaways

Effective decision making and learning require tools to better understand how the structure of complex systems influences the behavior of individuals within them 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

Location

Cambridge, MA

MIT is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The campus, situated in close proximity to Boston’s Logan International Airport, profits from Boston’s excellent public transportation system and the on-campus Tech Shuttle. The closest subway station is Kendall Square, which acts as a commercial center for MIT and the local community.

Registration

ILP members receive a 15% discount on all open enrollment programs, and all 2-day programs, offered through MIT Sloan Executive Education - contact your ILO for details.