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Group Model Building

Aim of the resource

Group model building is a participative method whereby participants gather information and develop conceptual models for simulating a specific problem, under the guidance of a modelling team. The goal is to share understanding and insights about a problem and to develop robust strategies from collective knowledge. The models are used to show the interdependences between ecosystems and socioeconomic systems, as well as the drivers for change in each of them.

Using the resource
Requirements for using the resource:
<p><u><strong>Time requirement:</strong></u><br />
• Usually, a couple of weeks, depending on the complexity of the problem and the number of participants.<br />
• Two to four meetings, each lasting one day.<br />
• Time for adequate preparation and follow-up of meetings.</p>

<p><u><strong>Type and level of expertise/skills needed:</strong></u><br />
• Modelling team (experienced facilitator).<br />
• Participants do not need previous expertise in building models.</p>

<p><u><strong>Materials and equipment needed:</strong></u><br />
• Equipment is needed for conducting the meetings (whiteboard, paper, cards, marker, projection screen, PC, special modelling software), and for running the software (e.g. STELLA or VENSIM).</p>
Potential benefits from using the resource
Helps to structure debate and create a learning environment in which assumptions and strategies can be identified and tested.
Encourages learning among the participants.
Helps building a shared understanding of the problem and possible solutions.
Capable of eliciting diverse views on the same problem.
Iterative process allows fine-tuning until a mature model is developed.
Potential limitations from using the resource
Participative process can, both, fuel or alleviate tension, in case of existing conflicts/competition among stakeholders.
Process creates expectations among participants, which may not be fulfilled during subsequent implementation of measures.
Works best with small groups. It is unclear how stakeholders that have not been actively engaged in the process will respond to results.
Assessment of effectiveness of the tool or instrument
<p>See "Group Model Building - Method Profile" (down below in "links").</p>
Contact details
Resources

Group model building is a participative method for visualizing different views on a complex issue and encourage a shared understanding of system functioning.

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