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Dynamic Business Modeling Course

Learn How to Build Living Business Models

This course explains and demonstrates how to create working, quantified models of an enterprise, function or issue, consistent with the principles explained in the Strategy Dynamics Course (The Strategy Dynamics course is not a pre-requisite for this modeling course)

Until recently, the process to build such models was difficult, and tools were complex and technical. These challenges have now been solved:

  • powerful methods have been developed for getting from the performance issues of concern back to the underlying system of factors driving the outcomes, whether that issue concerns a department or the whole enterprise; an on-going plan or a one-time challenge
  • easy-to-use software has been created, allowing anyone to build working, quantified models that match and simulate that same system with uncanny realism, then play out its performance into the future

Is this course for you?

Do you need to build working, quantified models of your organisation or function, either for continuing plans or for tackling one-off challenges?

… and do so faster and more easily than is possible with current methods?
Do you want to use those models to understand how performance of the organisation and function is changing … and to develop and guide integrated strategies and action plans to achieve sustained, strong performance into the future?

If the answer to any of these questions is 'Yes' then this course is for you

Course options

Our Business Modeling Course takes you step-by-step through the method, using numerous common examples. Classes show each stage of the modeling process and provide the resulting models you should end up with - then explain important elements of the task and give access to other examples.

  • Part 1 - Core Frameworks -(4 classes), shows how to build models, working towards working simulations of the core system for an enterprise or department, and for some common business challenges. You will be able to adapt and apply these models yourself to plan for, and then manage, both continuing operations and responses to one-off issues.
  • Part 2 - Extension Frameworks - (5 classes) shows how to model additional frameworks for tackling common functional issues and topics, such as competitive rivalry, staff development and customer-pipelines. You will be able to adapt these further models to tackle plans and issues with detailed, integrated time-phased action plans. The Part-2 frameworks can also be added to the core models from Part 1, to extend their power and value.

Self-taught option

Start any time
  • screen-show videos explaining key principles and demonstrating the model-building steps
  • 3-month licence to the easy-to-use and affordable Sysdea modeling software
  • numerous working models of common organisation-types and issues that you can keep and modify
  • software worksheet templates provide the most common model structures needed, to save time in your modeling work

Instructor led option - combines this and the Strategy Dynamics course

Core Frameworks
Start Jan 9, 2017
Provides all of the content of the two self-taught courses, plus:
  • a scheduled class time-table for you to follow the classes along with other participants [typically weekly]
  • a Forum for raising questions and discussions related to each class
  • a webinar, suited to East and West time-zones, for providing additional explanations

The instructor-led course also includes the option - through submission of assessed work - to gain Certification in the method.

Course organisation

Part 1 - Core Frameworks - of the course consists of 4 classes, matching the topics in part 1 of the Strategy Dynamics course. Together, these classes explain an 'agile' approach to building the core models needed to capture and simulate performance of an enterprise or function, or of any issue they may face. A weekly email reminder is sent for each class, but the materials are available at all times, so you can work through at a faster or slower pace if you wish..

Part 2 - Extension Frameworks - consists of a further 5 classes, explaining how to build and use additional powerful models. Each of these further models is useful on its own, for tackling specific functional and other topics, such as staff and customer pipelines, competitive rivalry, policy design, and intangible factors. However, they can also be added to the part-1 models, to extend their capability.

Course: Core plus added frameworks

Class Summaries and Proposed Segments
(Subject to change)

Classes consist of ...
audio-visual lecture segments explaining and demonstrating each step of the modeling process
working models for you to adapt and use
software-based worksheets to use as the basis for modeling your own case
The list below is gives the topics covered in each class. (Class segments are typically shorter and more detailed than in the Strategy Dynamics course).

Part 1

Class 1: Performance Through Time
The start-point for any good dynamic model is a clear specification of the changing performance item(s) to be addressed, and of their scale and timing.

1.1 Specify the performance-over-time to model
1.2 Plans and issues for a whole-organisation or a part, and types of objective
1.3 Appropriate time-scales and units
1.4 Simple calculation of performance outcomes
1.5 Explore performance outcomes

Class 2: How Stocks, Decisions and External factors drive performance
Working back from any performance outcome, asking ‘what causes this’ eventually reaches one or more ‘Stock’ items (customers drive sales; staff drive service capacity). This class shows how to trace and formulate these relationships, and how to model the direct performance impact of Decisions and External Factors.

2.1 How Stocks, Decisions and External factors drive performance
2.2 Standard customers-to-sales relationships
2.3 Standard relationships from physical assets and staff to output and service capacity, and to costs
2.4 When the objective IS a Stock
2.5 Non-financial performance … using functions and look-up relationships
2.6 Splitting out segments and groups

Class 3: Resources accumulate
This class shows how to model the relationship between 'Stock' items and the 'Flows' that fill and drain those Stocks (just as cash-flows fill or drain a stock of cash). This mechanism has further implications that we also model in this class.

3.1 How Stocks accumulate, driven by Flows
3.2 Where Flows come from and go to
3.3 Customer-flows and sales
3.4 Stocks' period-end and period-average values
3.5 Adding delays to when Flows happen
3.6 Durables : the owner-base and installed-base

Class 4: Interdependency
How to follow the same procedure used in class 2 to model the drivers of the Flows that fill and drain Stocks. This inevitably captures interdependencies between Stocks and hence gives a rigorous, joined-up understanding of how any organisation functions.

4.1 Current Stocks drive Flow-rates
4.2 Decisions drive Flow-rates
4.3 External factors drive Flow-rates
4.4 Interdependence causes direct feedback
4.5 Modeling the core Strategic Architecture
4.6 Multi-Stock Feedback: 2-sided businesses and intermediaries
4.7 Automating decisions
4.8 Segmentation and sub-models

Part 2 - Extension Frameworks

Class 5: Stock attributes and 'co-flows'
How to model important attributes or ‘qualities’ that Stocks often carry with them - customers’ purchase rates or staff skills, for example.

5.1 Adding attribute Stocks and Flows alongside existing Stock-items, and links to performance
5.2 Adjusting attributes of current Stock items
5.3 How an attribute Stock ‘cheats’ to produce performance outcomes
5.4 Using segmentation to preserve important group-differences
5.5 Modeling how one Stock brings access to others

Class 6: Stock-development, pipelines and aging-chains
How to model Stock pipelines - for capturing the development stages of staff, customers, and products, and the deterioration of capital assets and other items.

6.1 Replicating Stock-Flow structures in a pipeline and linking to performance
6.2 The customer "choice pipeline" and linkage to diffusion models
6.3 Staff pipelines, hiring, promotion and attrition
6.4 Product development pipelines
6.5 Asset-aging pipelines and deteriorating performance
6.6 Tracking attributes alongside Stock pipelines

Class 7: Modeling Competition
Competition is mostly about winning, sustaining and holding on to important resources, especially customers, but sometimes staff and other assets. We show 3 universal mechanisms that – alone or in combination – drive competition over time, and how to pick priorities amongst the many factors that could be important.

7.1 Modeling type-1 competition - competing to capture new customers and staff
7.2 Modeling the impact of rising potential on type-1 competition
7.3 Modeling type-2 competition - stealing customers or staff from others
7.4 Modeling type-3 competition for sales to non-exclusive customers
7.5 How type-1 and type-2 competition operate together
7.6 Dealing with multiple competitors
7.7 Modeling industry dynamics

Class 8: Policies and Automating Decisions
Modeling can help improve decision-making by making explicit the mechanisms by which policies (decision-rules) drive decisions and outcomes.

8.1 Using performance data and targets to choose decision-values
8.2 Modeling conflicting objectives
8.3 Multiple objectives

Class 9: Modeling intangible factors and their impact
Many intangible factors are Stocks, and obey the same rules. This class shows how to model such intangibles - both the factors that cause them to fill and drain, and their impact on the rest of the system and its performance.

9.1 Modeling state-of-mind intangibles and their impact
9.2 Intangible thresholds
9.3 Information-based intangibles
9.4 Quality-related intangibles
9.5 Sustainability: environment and social impact

Class 10: Capabilities and Processes
How to model capabilities, as the integration of staff skills, information, and processes

10.1 Where capabilities and processes fit in business models
10.2 Modeling how processes enhance system performance
10.3 Integrating skills, information and processes
10.4 Modeling organisational learning
I really enjoyed the in-class discussions with Professor Warren in the Strategy Dynamics course. In addition to that, I actually really enjoyed working with the Sysdea software. I am thrilled about the idea of deepening my knowledge and continuing to work in this field..
Perrine Odorowski
Student, University of Bocconi when applying for a post that will utilise Strategy Dynamics
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