Abstract for: Sandbox SD Models: Catalyzing the Widespread Understanding of Dynamics

If the dynamically complex systems we live in today are to be managed successfully, widespread understanding of their dynamics seems essential. In this paper, we deduce a framework of desired characteristics for any medium targeting the creation of such understanding. Existing media are reviewed through the lens of this framework with a specific focus on system dynamics (SD) microworlds. We then use this framework to design the concept of “Sandbox SD Models” as a medium for catalyzing the creation of widespread understanding of dynamics. Sandbox SD models are stand-alone system dynamics models wrapped in intuitive interfaces without compromising on the critical elements of SD (such as, model endogeneity, stock and flow representations and the indication of causal linkages). They are designed with the aim of reducing the effort required to understand system dynamics and increasing the intuitive interest of users towards doing so. Sandbox Models are positioned as a stepping stone towards the more extensive use of conventional stock and flow models. In this paper we describe a prototype sandbox based on the Urban Dynamics model along with plans for its evaluation through pilot usability testing.