Testing Big Ideas in a Safe Place – The Symmetric Lab

In the Symmetric Lab, we use computer simulation to help people, groups and organisations to improve and test alternative strategies in seconds (without having to do it in real life).

Terms such as whole-systems, systems-thinking, non-linear, ‘wicked problems’ and complexity are commonly used, but how do we grapple with them?

System Dynamic simulation and modelling can unravel complexity and help decision-making by giving more understanding of the consequences of different options. Surprising and counter-intuitive truths can be revealed in relation to perennial challenges such as workforce planning or matching capacity to demand.

Participants will be able to explore the behaviour of at least two models, testing out assumptions about how they might behave. No prior knowledge or experience is required.

Our examples will be from health and social care integration and workforce planning, but will be relevant to people from a wide range of settings. Anyone who is concerned with using or working in public services, strategy, policy development, workforce development, service design, data & information, evaluation, research, improvement or facilitation, is welcome.

Don’t be tempted to file under ‘something for our analysts only’…

A note about computers

As part of the workshop, we’d like to give you the opportunity of playing with some models on your own computer. We realise that not everyone has a laptop, and we certainly welcome people who cannot bring one.

You’ll find a link to a ‘model’ (actually, a ‘story built with modelling software’) about Fire Starter below. Before you click on it:

  • If you can bring a computer, please do. If you cannot, please come anyway – we are sure that others will be prepared to share

  • If you can click on the link and follow the story to the end your computer should be fine in the workshop

  • Using a work computer, you may well find that your organisation uses an old version of a web browser, so maybe try again on a home computer; perhaps someone in your house has a more suitable laptop (or tablet) than your work machine

  • For a work computer, perhaps your IT support will update your browser if you ask. They will need to know …

  • Browsers that work best: Chrome will work best. Versions of Internet Explorer prior to version 10 won’t work well. For the major browsers, the minimum version requirements are IE 11+, Edge any, Firefox 31+, Opera 27+, Safari 7+, and Chrome 37+

Now, please click on this link to find out a little more about our Fire Starter event. Just follow the prompts.


After you sign-up at Eventbrite, we will be in touch by email with further updates, and you can ask any further questions.