John D. Sterman

Faculty

John D. Sterman

About

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

"Behavioral Dynamics of COVID-19: Estimating Under-Reporting, Multiple Waves, and Adherence Fatigue Across 92 Nations."

Rahmandad, Hazhir, TY Lim, and John D. Sterman. System Dynamics Review. Forthcoming.

"A Simulation Game that Motivates People to Act on Climate."

Rooney-Varga, Juilette, Eduardo Fracassi, Travis Franck, Florian Kapmeier, Carolyn McCarthy, Karen McNeal, Dr. Nicole Norfles, Kenneth Rath, and John D. Sterman. In The Encyclopedia of Climate Change: Finance, Economics and Policy, edited by Jan W. Dash, Singapore: World Scientific, 2021.

"Baker is Wrong to Subsidize Wood Burning."

Moomaw, William, John D. Sterman, Juliette Rooney-Varga, and Richard Birdsey. Commonwealth Magazine, January 4, 2021.

"Getting to impact at scale: A dynamic model to guide scaling of climate change education."

Juliette N. Rooney-Varga, Charles Henderson, Andrew P. Jones, Florian Kapmeier, Kim A. Kastens, Carolyn McCarthy, and John D. Sterman. In Proceedings of the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Washington, DC: December 2020.

"Can Trees Solve the Climate Crisis? Unfortunately, No: A Note on Bastin et al.’s Erratum."

Sterman, John, and Florian Kapmeier. Climate Interactive, August 14, 2020.

"'Saving Lives or Harming the Healthy?' Overuse and Fluctuations in Routine Medical Screening."

Karanfil, Özge, and John D. Sterman. System Dynamics Review Vol. 36, No. 3 (2020): 294-329.

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Recent Insights

MIT Sloan Experts

Why there is no long-term tradeoff between lives and livelihoods in the pandemic

This counter-intuitive result emerges because countries actually have little choice in how much they must reduce contact levels to control the epidemic.

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Press

No tradeoff between lives and livelihoods in the COVID-19 pandemic

Two studies by Prof. Hazhir Rahmandad, Prof. John Sterman, and PhD student Tse Yang Lim find that this apparent tradeoff is a false one.

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Media Highlights