Abstract for: Starting a System Dynamics Consulting Firm: Learnings from 1000 days of consulting
This paper is a commentary sharing the experience gained through the process of conceptualizing, initializing and operationalizing a system dynamics research and consulting firm. In this commentary I describe the learnings accumulated as an independent modeler and then as a firm. It is not meant to serve as a guideline but to provide a perspective to those who are knocking on the doors of systems entrepreneurship or are learning it with an aim of becoming entrepreneurs. The key messages conveyed here focus on the importance of social strength of relationships of a firm and why ethics and respect for others are important in system dynamics consulting. Few realize that listening, a skill fast becoming extinct, is actually the only way of sensing and learning in a dynamic and complex world, an essential skill for making system dynamics models. The commentary highlights the role of sharing models and how making models more useful and accessible is an important feature for sustaining business. It presents a qualitative system dynamics model, developed in hindsight through conversations, showing the theory of change of our firm. The paper ends by listing down situations that are deemed unfit for becoming a system dynamics entrepreneur.