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Insight Maker's bimonthly newsletter.

Insight Maker News: March - April

We have loved seeing the awesome work our users have been doing with Insight Maker over the past two months. If you don't frequently visit /new, we recommend you check it out to see what other modelers are building.

As you work, we hope you are taking advantage of these two Insight Maker features that help you build great models:

Linked Simulation Results

After running a simulation, click the at the top of the results window to link the results to your model. Linking allows you to explore and interact with your model in these ways:

Get Instant Results Charts for every Primitive: Hover your mouse over any primitive in your model to see a chart of its values in the linked simulation. Explore your full model quickly and easily trace your results back to their key drivers.

Interactively Explore Simulations: Adjust the Sliders you have defined for the model and watch the linked results instantly update live. Results will change as you drag the sliders, giving you a fully interactive and responsive way to explore your model's behavior.

Groups for Collaboration

Insight Maker Groups are a great foundation for collaborative work. Perfect to coordinate interactions between a class or a team; Groups allow you to discuss and collaborate on models.

You can share models with a group and specify group-level access controls that let all members of the group view or edit the models. Additionally, you can have threaded discussions within a group about the models or other topics related to the group.

Groups can either be public or private, and we hope they will become a hub for collaborative model building.

  • Sunday; April 12, 2015

Insight Maker News: January - February

It's that time of year again and the annual Insight Maker Survey is released! Please take two minutes to let us know what is working and what isn't in Insight Maker by filling out the survey.

Publish your Work in the Insight Maker Journal

A reminder for those who wish to contribute to an inaugural issue of the Insight Maker journal on the theme of health and healthcare, please contact Geoff McDonnell before the end of February.

The issue, due for publication in April, will use the publish article feature in Insight Maker.

Insight Maker includes powerful features to help you build persuasive narratives around your Insights. To submit to the Insight Maker Journal, you should use these features to add a story to your model and then publish your story as an article.

Telling Persuasive Stories with Insight Maker

Insight Maker's storytelling feature guides the viewer of your insight through the model step-by-step. Storytelling allows you to highlight and hide certain parts of the model structure in order to help the viewer focus on specific elements.

After you have created a model, you can add a story to it by opening the Story Designer under the Share menu. Once the story has been added, users who visit your model will be led through your model according to the story you have laid out.

Publishing your Stories as Articles

Storytelling augments an Insight Maker model with a guided tour. Articles build upon this and go a step further, transforming your model and story into an elegant, static web page.

When you convert a model into an article, the steps of the story are effortlessly serialized into a crisp web page with nothing to distract the user from the message you are conveying. The model diagram and results graphs are turned into clean pictures, so the reader does not even have to wait for the model to load or run.

The published articles are optimized for desktop and mobile devices and are absolutely gorgeous. When you have a single message you want to communicate, Insight Maker articles are simply the perfect thing to share with others.

Want to learn more? Just take a look at these examples of published articles:

  • Saturday; February 7, 2015

Insight Maker News: November - December

In this newsletter we are pleased to announce a set of fantastic new courses and the exciting new Insight Maker Journal.

Announcing Insight Maker Courses

Over the past months, Gene Bellinger has put together a fantastic set of online courses to help people learn effective modeling. If you wanted to start experimenting with Insight Maker but didn't quite know where to start, these courses are for you. By using the course links in this email you will receive a large discount for each of the courses.

Simulation with Insight Maker If you are new to Insight Maker, we recommend you start with this course. In it, you will develop models as simplifications of reality intended to promote understanding. This course provides a foundation for developing dynamic simulation models with Insight Maker.

Once you understand the basics of Insight Maker, try one of the following two courses that give you effective advice on how to apply your modeling knowledge.

Systems Thinking Demystified It is often said that the majority of today's problems are the direct result of yesterday's solutions. It is evident that we're not nearly as good at predicting and resolving issues as we could or should be. As you will learn in this course, it is possible to be far more effective at dealing with problems.

Effective Problem Solving We are surprised by problems that catch us off guard. As we seldom have the time we'd like to address the problems, our immediate response is usually to try to figure out how to make the problem go away and just get things back to the way they were before. In doing so, we miss a great opportunity for progress and often we simply make things worse. In this course, you will learn how to use Insight Maker models to take advantage of the unique opportunity problems present.

Gene is also in the process of developing a new course on modeling with Insight Maker. By signing up for it now, you not only get a big discount on the final price, but also help to shape the course's development.

Creating Insights with Insight Maker A collaborative effort to create a guide for the development of models that promote understanding and surface insights. It is still under construction and you can only access it with the password "systemswiki".

Announcing the Insight Maker Journal

Insight Maker is planning to launch a journal highlighting the innovative application of Insight Maker to key domains and problems. The journal will be published every four months. The first issue on healthcare will be edited by Geoff McDonnell. If you have experience in the healthcare domain and are interested in contributing, please contact Geoff at

  • Sunday; December 14, 2014

Insight Maker News: September - October

Over the past two months, exciting features have been added to Insight Maker. Here are some highlights

New Equation Editor

Insight Maker has a powerful new equation editor. This editor includes many new features including:

  • Syntax Highlighting: The editor now colors your equations so you can easily identify the different parts of the equations.
  • Automatic Indentation: For multi-line equations, Insight Maker will now intelligently indent your blocks of code.
  • Parentheses Matching: Insight Maker now highlights matching parentheses, helping you write complex nested expressions.
  • Find and Replace: The new editor has powerful Find and Replace features that include support for Regular Expressions.

The JavaScript action editor has also been extended with these same capabilities making it much easier to edit Button actions.

New Improved Error Reporting

Insight Maker leverages the capabilities of the new equation editor to provide improved error reporting. This improvement comes in three forms. First, we provide more specific error messages in many cases. Second, for multi-line equations, we now identify the exact line an error occurred on. Lastly, we now catch and flag many errors interactively as you edit your equations. Combined, these improvements make it much easier to catch and fix issues with your equations.

And One More Thing...

One of the most popular feature requests for Insight Maker has been curved links. Today, that is now a reality and you can create beautifully curved links in your models. Take a look at the embedded model diagram for an example of curved links.

To add a curve to link, Shift-Click on that link. This will create a waypoint that you can drag to control the path of the link. You can Shift-Click again to add more waypoints to have complete control over the link's path. You can remove an existing waypoint by Shift-Clicking on it. Don't forget that you can use the Style Menu to control other aspects of the link such as its thickness, dashing, and color.

  • Saturday; October 4, 2014

Insight Maker News: July - August

Two months ago, we were proud to announce version 5 of Insight Maker. This release added many new features including interactive simulations and a new user interface. Since then, there have been many updates polishing the release. There are several announcements we want to make in this Summer edition of the Insight Maker newsletter.

New: Comprehensive Encryption

Insight Maker now uses SSL/TSL encryption for all connections. This provides an increased level of security and privacy when using Insight Maker. By utilizing this protocol for all connections to Insight Maker, it becomes impossible for third parties to eavesdrop on your connection to Insight Maker. You can tell this encryption is activated by the usage of the https protocol when accessing Insight Maker rather than the traditional http protocol.

Model Report

At the heart of Insight Maker is a desire to increase model sharing and encourage collaborative work. As part of this, we are launching an experimental news and discussion site: Model Report. Model Report allows you to submit, rate and discuss systems thinking, modeling and simulation news and content. Anyone can read Model Report, but to submit or comment on content you will need an invite-only account thus preventing spam. Model Report is for any news related to systems thinking, simulation and modeling whether or not it relates to Insight Maker. Display of content on the site is determined by user voting and no preference is given to Insight Maker related content.

Enabling a Better Tomorrow: A Systemic Perspective

It is often said that the majority of the problems we face today are the direct result of yesterdays solutions and if that is the case then might we be considered the poster children for Pogo's "We have met the enemy and he is us?" Enabling a Better Tomorrow: A Systemic Perspective is an approach to using modeling and simulation to better understand situations and develop effective approaches for dealing with them. The intent is to figure out how to solve problems so they stay solved and not create new ones in the process. This program is accessible here and the associated Free Webinar Series begins next week. Register for sessions here.

  • Saturday; August 23, 2014