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Whole system simulation modelling

We are fascinated by the synergy between two approaches that arise from the field of Complex Adaptive Systems – Agent-Based Modelling and Whole System Working.  We have carried out exploratory work on this synergy in several contexts and, in partnership with HEDRA, completed a project that delivered a hybrid model.  This included a visualisation by our current modelling partners, the Redfish Group from Santa Fe.

Modelling case flows to explore policy scenarios.

We worked with a group of government departments and their provider organisations to surface their understanding of what influences the flow of cases around the system – including levels of demand, capacity constraints, national policy and operational choices.  This information was incorporated into a computer model, which has now been made available to all the contributing organisations.  One of our major contributions has been to make explicit, believable and transparent to all in the system the information that is available about how the system is functioning at present – including cost information.

We also worked with the departments and organisations to explore some of the possible ‘what-if’ questions about possible knock-on consequences of various policy scenarios.  This took place both in facilitated workshop conversations and through the use of the ‘Systemic Impact Statement’, a document we developed to bring together understanding of possible systemic consequences of policy.  These explorations were a valuable exercise in their own right, and contributed to an understanding of the interconnections that needed to be included in the model.

The simulation model has the potential to serve as a policy laboratory, and the user-friendly visualisation of the outputs means that it can be used by lots of people.  It is intended to act not as an expert solution but as a device to support dialogue with which people from policy, strategy and operational levels can all engage.

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