I first met Barry 20 years ago, when I had to trudge through the snow to get to his small wooden office. I was building a discrete event model using STELLA and I wanted him to make some changes to the software so I didn’t have these “egg timer“ structures everywhere. Barry was horrified with what I had done with his software and said words to the effect that it’s not meant for that, it was created to spread the gospel of System Dynamics. Despite the fact that I was a civil engineer, he encouraged me to take a look at SD. Such was his passion and conviction that 20 years later I’m still attending this conference.”
Through most of his career Barry saw education as the key to spreading Systems Thinking. As a teacher and a mentor, he dedicated much of his time to developing tools and methodologies for learning. It is fitting therefore that this year’s award was presented to Tony Phuah, a Master’s student in System Dynamics at the University of Bergen.
Tony’s work includes an experimental study that explores the question: How can we improve people’s understanding of basic stock and flow behavior? His experiment uses two different methods for teaching stock and flow behavior — the standard method (using graphical integration) and a method he calls “running total”. Tony presented his paper at a parallel session during the conference and it can be downloaded by clicking here. Although the results of his study favor traditional methods for teaching stock and flow behavior, we all should be encouraged by the work being done to try to improve Systems Thinking education and communication. In Tony’s own words:
Speeding up ‘Systems Thinkers beget more Systems Thinkers’ growth will make us one step closer to Barry Richmond’s vision of a systems citizen world.”
Congratulations Tony and thank you Mark for helping us to celebrate Barry’s passion!