How to Accelerate Innovation with Open Source Simulation

Insight Maker: Accelerating innovation and bigger thinking using open source simulation

Originally Presented: May 11, 2017 (OSCON, Austin, TX)

Simulation models are great tools for performing experiments and for employing systems-thinking principles to visualize and gain a deeper insight of how one area of a system impacts its other parts. Simulation and modeling tools are especially effective for understanding the root causes of a problem and for aligning stakeholders toward a consensus for action.

Insight Maker, an accessible free and open source simulation and modeling tool, offers a web-based multiuser environment for developing, analyzing, and sharing system insights and provides a graphical interface and includes systems dynamics modeling, agent-based modeling, and advanced features such as model optimization and scripting via its JavaScript API. Designed to be accessible to a broad audience of users, Insight Maker has been in development for many years and has been adopted by well over 20,000 registered users.

Kishau Rogers offers an in-depth review of how open source interactive simulation tools are being used to promote rapid learning, understand the structure and dynamics of complex systems, and solve problems. Using Insight Maker, Kishau highlights real-world simulation projects and their use of qualitative and quantitative data combined with systems thinking principles to model complex systems in industries such as health, technology, and business—scaling complex business operations, developing adaptive and intelligent applications, and evaluating the broader impact of service expansion.

Topics include:

  • Functional specifications: Understand the requirements for getting started
  • Types of models: Systems dynamics modeling versus agent-based modeling
  • Model building: The impact of actors, events, inputs, and outputs
  • Models versus truth: Verification and validation
  • Designing, conducting, and analyzing experiments
  • Reviewing, documenting, and sharing results
  • Customizing and manipulating models with JavaScript
  • Simulation case studies in the areas of healthcare, technology, interactive gaming, and business help desk operations
Related Posts
Read More

Systems Thinking Resources

Systems thinking is a discipline used to understand systems to provide a desired effect. It provides methods for "seeing wholes and a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static snapshots." The intent is to increase understanding and determine the point of “highest leverage”, the places in the system where a small changes can make a big impact.
Read More

Simulation & Modeling Resources

Simulation and computer modeling tools allow engineers to model and evaluate real world events in a computer generated environment. Here are a few simulation tools and projects to get started: