We are pleased to announce the release of Insight Maker version 5! This release includes many new features which we are incredibly excited about.
Here are some of the great new things we've added since version 4:
We hope you enjoy these new features and we look forward to adding more exciting capabilities to Insight Maker in the future. We also wanted to remind you that the Systems Thinking Certification Program is ongoing and has rolling signups. You can learn more here.
The past two months have been good for Insight Maker and we wanted to devote this newsletter to two items: introducing a certification program for systems thinking, and discussing planned features for Insight Maker.
Systems Thinking In Action Certification
First, we want to announce a new certification program taught by Gene Bellinger. For about seven decades, systems thinkers have continued to ask about how to promote the greater adoption and use of Systems Thinking. And for seven decades systems thinkers have unknowingly been the greatest impediment of the broader adoption of Systems Thinking. Systems thinkers might be considered the poster children for Pogo's "We have met the enemy and he is us!"
Ken Blanchard commented in "The One Minute Manager" to the effect: "While almost everyone likes to buy, almost no one likes to be sold."
Based on this awareness, the STIA+ Systems Thinking Certification Program, beginning the week of May 4th, is intending to take a very different approach. The intent is for participants to learn how to solve problems so they stay solved and not create new ones in the process. There are aspects of Systems Thinking that support bringing this intent closer to a reality.
New Insight Maker Features
We have a long list of features we would like to add to Insight Maker. To help us prioritize these features, we've put together a brief survey for you to tell us what features are most important to you. You can select from a list of planned features or add your own.
So far it has been a busy 2014 for Insight Maker. We have a number of new developments that we would like to share with you.
New Insight Maker Users Guide
We have developed a new Insight Maker Users Guide in a network format. Each node of the network provides videos and models describing the various functions of Insight Maker or types of models one might choose to develop. The new users guide is available here and we have a short video overview describing it.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this new approach to learning about Insight Maker.
Beyond Connecting the Dots
Our recently released book Beyond Connecting the Dots continues to do well. This book provides a guide to modeling with Insight Maker from a beginners level to an advanced level. Here are what some people had to say about the book:
A cutting-edge product creating a fun and exciting interactive learning environment for system dynamics and systems thinking.
This brilliant new interactive platform ... is equally relevant to the politician, the academic, the social scientist, engineer, architect, physicist, and anyone looking for a useful and user-friendly tool for engaging constructively and productively with complex adaptive systems.
Enabling a Better Tomorrow
Please take some time to explore Enabling a Better Tomorrow. It is a learning thread of models and videos that presents a process for developing a strategy to address a situation in a manner that improves the likelihood of achieving the desired result while minimizing the likelihood of creating unintended consequences in the process. Enabling a Better Tomorrow is available here and we have a short video overview describing it.
Over the past two months a number of minor feature enhancements and bug fixes have been added to Insight Maker improving its capabilities and stability. What we are most happy to announce, however, is the release of our book: Beyond Connecting the Dots.Beyond Connecting the Dots
Beyond Connecting the Dots is a new kind of book on Systems Thinking and Modeling. Rather than being stamped onto dead trees, it runs digitally on your computer or on your tablet. Because of this it can provide you an exciting experience that goes beyond the printed word. The models in the book are truly interactive and you can directly experiment with them as you read about them. Beyond Connecting the Dots is more than a book; it is a truly interactive learning environment that lets you play with ideas rather than just read them.
We were able to write the book after 400 people backed it on KickStarter. Beyond Connecting the Dots covers all aspects of Systems Thinking and Modeling. It starts on a very basic conceptual level and assumes you do not have a modeling or mathematical background. As the book progresses it becomes increasingly advanced providing you expert knowledge that will be both challenging and rewarding.
You can learn more about the book at http://BeyondConnectingTheDots.com.Featured Insight
The featured Insight for this newsletter is a combined System Dynamics and Agent Based disease spread model. The model tracks the spread of a disease from a central reservoir of contaminated water. System dynamics is used to model the concentration of pathogens in the reservoir and agent based modeling is used to model individuals in the population.
There have been many updates and enhancements to Insight Maker over the past two months. Here are some of the key changes:• Flight Simulators and Interactive Models
Insight Maker now supports interactivity during simulations. You can specify a time interval at which the simulation will be paused or trigger a pause on-the-fly by calling the new Pause() function. Once paused, users can adjust model parameters before resuming the simulation. This enables the creation of interactive "flight simulators" along with games for experimentation and learning. [Video overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsGzsq51r0E]• Improved Diagraming
Insight Maker's diagramming tools have been enhanced with a number of new capabilities. Links and flows have been extended with the ability to specify linewidth along with whether the line should be dashed or not. You can also now set the start and end arrow types for all lines. Additionally, you can now rotate any primitive in your model. These changes enable you to create even better diagrams for your models.• More Powerful Agents
Insight Maker's Agent Based Modeling tools have been greatly enhanced. In addition to the existing visual language for describing agent behavior, you can now programmatically extend an agent giving it new functionality and behavior. Agents now operate in continuous time. This means that events will occur precisely when you schedule them, instead of at a pace determined by the differential equation solver. This enables better performance and more accurate simulations.Featured Insight
The featured Insight for this newsletter is an interactive climate model developed by Mark Heffernan and Geoff McDonnell from John Sterman’s paper in Science. The model allows you to experiment with different parameters in order to obtain the desired outcome.