Abstract for:Designing Systemic Policies: Zombies in the Classroom

This paper presents a methodological framework that uses the leverage points proposed by Meadows as drivers for designing policies. The methodology that we present here articulates the principles of “bathtub dynamics” along with feedback loop dominance analysis and heuristics of critical thinking . We call the process of devising such policies as “designing systemic, leverage-points based policies”. We have developed this framework for the past years in a mandatory, undergraduate course for industrial engineering students. In this paper we illustrate how to design such policies by using an exam of our own course: a case that concerns a hypothetical zombie outbreak. The case demands for the students to design strategies to stop a zombie invasion by developing a “bathtub dynamics” analysis for a stock variable of “Zombies” and by experimenting with a computer simulator for finding dominant loops that should be tackled for producing big changes and stop the outbreak. The strategies must be explicitly articulated with various leverage points. The goal of the paper is to share this experience with the System Dynamics community and to think of new opportunities for expanding this type of approaches in higher education.