Penn. Organizational DynamicsProf. Steven F. Freeman
Creativity and Innovation in
Organization and Work

Joe Hsueh: System Dynamics

A Systems Dynamics Approach to Creativity

Due to limited mental capability, we tend to look at a problem from a local and partial perspective, often missing root causes and proposing solutions with side effects that make things worse in the long run. Systems thinking enables us to look at a problem from a system perspective, and thereby identify root causes and high leverage solutions. It is called by MIT Sloan School lecturer Peter Senge as “the core discipline of a learning organization” [1]  

Through a group juggling game, you will learn the powerful five-level perspective – event, pattern, structure, mental model and shared vision – that can help your team members to think creatively from a systems perspective. A company with systems thinking capability has higher competitive advantage because it has the capacity to generate the high leverage solutions and not just react to symptomatic quick fixes. We will learn to think holistically, communicate and understand each other's mental model, and collaborate as a team to achieve a shared vision, because we realize collectively that we are all part of the larger system. The workshop concludes with some tips for further learning.

Suggested reading: Peter Senge: The leader's new work - building learning organizations 

Session leader: Joe Hsueh is a trainer, consultant and researcher with a passion to help organizations develop systems thinking, organizational learning and leadership capabilities. He has conducted systems thinking, learning organization and leadership workshops for corporations such as Hitachi, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Trend Micro in China, Japan, Taiwan and US. He has been part of the teaching team for MIT Sloan's MBA course on System Dynamics and guest-lectured at National Taiwan University's Executive MBA program. He was also a founding member and lecturer for the Science and Technology Leadership Forum.

Joe’s consulting clients include a bio-tech company where system dynamics was used to analyze problems and identify high leverage solutions in four projects: employee retention, project goal-setting, senior leadership team dynamics and holistic strategic planning. He has also consulted for a major car company on its strategic human resource allocation, and a food company on its employee engagement in corporate social responsibility initiative.

Joe is currently completing his Ph.D. in management in the System Dynamics Group at MIT's Sloan School of Management. He studies with Professor John Sterman, the director of MIT's System Dynamics Group and Professor Peter Senge, the founder of Society for Organizational Learning. Joe's research interests include organizational design for well-being, strategic human resource management, corporate strategy, industry evolution, organizational learning, happiness dynamics and leadership development. In particular, he is passionate about transforming corporations into meaningful, happy and high performing workplaces.

At MIT, Joe has worked with Professor Sterman to develop the Industry Evolution Management Flight Simulator, a system dynamics based simulation game that aims to teach: under what industry conditions do various corporate strategies improve firm performance? It is now being used in the core MBA Strategic Management class at MIT. He is currently working on the Clean Technology Startups Management Flight Simulator with a particular focus on the dynamic effects of human resource allocation, compensation structure, business and fund-raising strategies of a startup company. The simulator has been used in the Sustainable Business Lab (S-Lab) class.

Prior to MIT Sloan School, Joe obtained a Master of Public Administration in International Development at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He also has a Master in Economics from Queen's University and previously worked at the Ministry of Finance in Canada doing macroeconomic policy modeling and analysis. In between his work, he had served as a full-time volunteer for a year at the Buddhist Tzu Chi Compassionate Relief Foundation and participated in development projects in El Salvador, Taiwan, Thailand and South Africa.

Joe was also an Organizational Dynamics guest in the spring of 2011, when he gave an Introduction to System Dynamics dinner talk and led a class System Dynamics Simulation for Crisis Preparation and Organizational Resilience. Here's the bio we used for that class: http://cpor.org/joe_hsueh.cgi

Agenda for Joe's full 1 and 2 day Systems Thinking Workshops

Notes: [1] See Dr. Senge's seminal book: “The Fifth Discipline: the art and practice of the learning organizations.”


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Date Page Created: Jan 22, 2012 Last Page Update: Jan 30, 2012