Simulations and Models are a fairly new and at the same time fairly old approaches in the Foresight Community. One of the most famous models known in other disciplines and highly important for the overall development of the field was the work ‘The Limits of Growth’ 1972 by the Club of Rome.
Even though a lot changed since then and many practitioners focus more on participatory approaches and open methods, there are new needs and new possibilities with modern tools of computer assisted methods.
We are at the very beginning of this field of Foresight Methods but the following general directions can be identified:
Modelling & Simulation is the process of creating and experimenting with a computerised mathematical model imitating the behaviour of a real-world process or system over time. Simulation is used to describe and analyse the behaviour of a system when asking ‘what-if’ questions about the real system and aid in the design of real systems.
System Dynamics is a tool to investigate and model complex dynamic problems in terms of stocks (the accumulation of things), flows (the motion of things) and feedback loops at any level of aggregation.