When the issues are complex, when things are changing over time and when we really want to increase our confidence about what we know and what we don’t know simulation models can be very powerful tools. Building simulation models, teases out and makes explicit the mental models that people hold about the nature of the system we are working with. The formality of the model building process helps us to test and improve these mental models and to design and test new polices based oil them. A simulation model is a practice field, a structured way of bringing together our best understanding, our best data, (qualitative as well as quantitative) and in doing so provides a relatively risk-free way of trying out ideas. ‘What if’ things were different, how would our system operate.
Models can be relatively simple, capturing the core dynamics and testing out our thinking. They can also be very detailed bringing together the best information we have from a wide range of databases. Whether big or small, detailed or more focused on broad general principles they help us move our thinking forward, test the limits of what we know and what we don’t. They ensure that we bring our best knowledge to bear of the issues we are trying to address. Building simulation models is like a ‘workout for the brain’. Yes, the process will push you, but it will result in better understanding.
For more about Simulation Modelling contact:
Dr David Rees (firstname.lastname@example.org)