Scriptapedia/Creating a Shared Vision of Modeling Project

Creating a Shared Vision of a Modeling Project

This script is used to help the modeling team and community with whom they are working create a shared vision, goals, and an understanding of the project process, either at the beginning of the project or during revision for a long-term project.


Best practices

Primary nature of group task



Preparation time: 45 minutes

Time required during session: 45 minutes

Follow-up time: 0 minutes


  1. Projector and laptop, or a flipchart and markers for creating and editing the modeling project description




Revised modeling project description


  • Facilitator with moderate skills in facilitation and who is familiar with the stakeholders in the room
  • Gatekeeper who is advocating for the organization/community’s interest in the model and who understands the value of the model to the organization/community


  1. The facilitator presents the elements of a modeling project description and, if available, a draft modeling project description. A modeling project description has the following elements:
    • Name of modeling project
    • Background information
      • What’s the reference mode (in words or graph format)?
      • Why is this problem important?
    • Problem type
      • What is the main barrier to solving the problem (e.g., learning, coordination, analysis, restructuring) and why?
    • System insights
      • What kind of system insights would be an improvement or contribution over “business as usual?" What would be the contribution of system dynamics over alternatives?
    • Definition of the primary audience(s) of the model
      • Who is the primary audience of the model? Us, organization, community, board of directors, researchers?
    • Resources
      • How much time is available? What types of skills and human resources are needed?
    • Values
      • What are the expectations and aspirations (e.g., provide opportunities to build capacity of program staff, involve stakeholders to inform design of project, advance science)?
  2. The facilitator leads a discussion of the description and assists in editing the modeling project description to better reflect the focus of the modeling project based on participant input.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each section of the modeling project description, moving on to the next section only after consensus has been reached.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Participants are engaging in the discussion, contributing, and indicate understanding of the terms of the modeling exercise, motivation, and purpose
  • Clarity of the modeling project description
  • Consensus on the modeling project description


Foundation for Ecological Security, Gautam Yadama, and Peter Hovmand, 2010


Originally developed and documented in Rajasthan, India by Foundation for Ecological Security, Peter Hovmand, and Gautam Yadama in 2010


Last revised on February 21, 2013 to reflect variations since its original development.




A variation of this script asks participants to develop a modeling project description on flip charts in small groups.