John D. Sterman

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John D. Sterman

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John D. Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Professor in the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. He is also the Director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative.

Sterman’s research centers on improving decision-making in complex systems, including corporate strategy and operations, energy policy, public health, environmental sustainability, and climate change. His work ranges from the dynamics of organizational change and the implementation of sustainable improvement programs to climate change and the implementation of policies to promote a sustainable world. Sterman pioneered the development of “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems which are now used by corporations, universities, and governments around the world.

He is the author of many scholarly and popular articles on the challenges and opportunities facing organizations today, including the book, Modeling for Organizational Learning, and the award-winning textbook, Business Dynamics.

Sterman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received an honorary doctorate from the Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland. He has twice been awarded the Jay W. Forrester Prize for the best published work in system dynamics; has won an IBM Faculty Award as well as the Accenture Award for the best paper of the year published in the California Management Review. He received the Best Application Award from the System Dynamics Society for his work on climate change policy. At MIT, he has been recognized with the Samuel E. Seegal Faculty Prize, given to a professor who “inspires students in pursuing and achieving excellence,” the Jamieson Award for Excellence in Teaching, numerous other awards for teaching excellence; and was named one of MIT Sloan’s “Outstanding Faculty” by the BusinessWeek Guide to the Best Business Schools. His research has been featured in media around the world including the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe ,Public Television’sNews Hour, National Public Radio’s Marketplace, WGBH, and other media for his innovative use of interactive simulations in management education and policymaking, particularly in climate change and energy policy.

Sterman holds an AB in engineering and environmental systems from Dartmouth College and a PhD in system dynamics from MIT.

Honors

Outstanding Service Award Goes to Sterman

Sterman elected as AAAS Fellow

John Sterman’s paper wins ARCS People’s Choice Award

Sterman wins Seegal Prize

Publications

"A Management Flight Simulator to Catalyze Learning About Complex Projects."

Gozluklu, Burak, and John D. Sterman. In Research Handbook on Complex Project Organizing, edited by D. Cao, Graham Winch, and Maude Brunet, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Forthcoming.

"System Dynamics to Understand and Improve the Performance of Complex Projects."

Gozluklu, Burak, and John D. Sterman. In Research Handbook on Complex Project Organizing, edited by D. Cao, Graham Winch, and Maude Brunet, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Forthcoming. Download Paper.

"Quantifying the COVID-19 Endgame: Is a New Normal within Reach?"

Rahmandad, Hazhir and John D. Sterman. System Dynamics Review Vol. 38, No. 4 (2022): 329-353. Download Paper.

"Create Strategic Reserves to Protect ​Forest Carbon and Reduce Biodiversity Losses in the United States."

Law, Beverly E., William R. Moomaw, Tara W. Hudiburg, William H. Schlesinger, John D. Sterman, and George M. Woodwell. Land Vol. 11, No. 5 (2022): 721. Download Paper.

"Does Wood Bioenergy Help or Harm the Climate?"

Sterman, John D., William Moomaw, Juliette N. Rooney-Varga, and Lori Siegel. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Vol. 78, No. 3 (2022): 128-138. Download Paper.

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How to choose carbon offsets that actually cut emissions

Most corporate net zero pledges depend on carbon offsets, but many offsets don’t reduce emissions. Use this framework to identify which offsets are effective.

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Which countries can accept a “new normal” of living with COVID-19

In their new research paper Professors Hazhir Rahmandad and John Sterman studied the COVID-19 pandemic across 93 countries and how their responsiveness to COVID risks affects future COVID disease.

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Executive Education

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Business Sustainability Strategy

For many companies, the topic of sustainability is at the forefront of business agendas. Consumers and stakeholders are demanding greater accountability from organizations, and the regulatory environment is becoming increasingly stringent. However, pursuing the environmental, social, and governance impacts of business is often met with tension. Leaders now need to manage the misconception within business that meeting sustainability goals means compromising profits.

  • Mar 8-Apr 25, 2023
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This systems thinking course provides an intensive, hands-on introduction to system dynamics, a unique framework for understanding and managing complex businesses and organizations. Participants are introduced to a variety of problem solving tools, including mapping techniques, simulation models, and MIT’s “management flight simulators” to help them understand the sources of persistent problems and how business decisions may result in complicated cause-and-effect loops.

  • Jun 12-16, 2023
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