Douglas McKelvie has worked with and in various parts of Symmetric since 2005. He has had a varied career, starting out as a local authority social worker in Edinburgh in 1980. In the 1990s, he was a principal adviser with the Scotland office of the UK Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work, up to and during its transition into the Scottish Social Services Council. There he developed an interest in workforce planning and computer simulation. In 2002, he moved into consultancy where he had the very good fortune to work alongside Eric Wolstenholme, from whom he learned about the System Dynamics approach.
Symmetric uses simulation to support strategic planning in health and social services. Douglas has built simulations for a wide range of organisations across the UK, including government departments, NHS bodies, local authorities, and third sector organisations. He mostly uses System Dynamics, in a group model building context, an approach that takes a ‘whole system’ view of complex problems, such as are found in health and social care integration, where services span agency and functional boundaries. Models include delayed discharges, winter pressures planning, commissioning and capacity planning, workforce planning, economic impact analysis, public health / population level issues, mental health, and specific conditions, such as dementia. Douglas is a Past President (2016/17) of the UK Policy Council of the System Dynamics Society and is the author of a number of papers on the use of simulation in health, social care, and related human services. He is Edinburgh-based but works across the UK (and beyond).
Eric began his career in engineering in which he holds a first degree and doctorate. Following a master’s degree in operational research he worked in the Operational Research Executive and Purchasing Department of British Coal before becoming an academic in Management Science at the Bradford School of Management. He has held full Professorial posts at, Stirling, Leeds Beckett and London South Bank Universities in Management Science and Business Learning as well as helping to establish two management consultancies specialising in system dynamics modelling. He has written three books (two co-authored) and a wide range of peer reviewed research articles. He has an international reputation for his academic and consulting work in the application of systems thinking and system dynamics and has been President of both the International Systems Dynamics Society and its UK Chapter. He was the founding Editor of the System Dynamics Review and in 2004 received the Jay Wright Forrester award for his contribution to System Dynamics.
In April 2019, Eric received the System Dynamics Society UK Chapter’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his contribution to the field over many years.
Donny graduated in mathematics and worked as a secondary teacher before changing to social work. He qualified as a social worker and has worked in both adult and children’s services – as a senior manager since 1990. He sought to combine operational and strategic perspectives in his work, with an emphasis on finding and developing the frequently hidden commonalities and connections that enable collaboration and shared learning.
Having been committed to participative development, planning and learning approaches, he became interested in the potential of quantitative modeling to increase understanding in the context of complex interacting systems. He left the City of Edinburgh Council in 2016 and has since been working on a freelance basis, mostly with Douglas McKelvie of Symmetric to develop the contribution of system dynamic modelling in public services – particularly in Health and Social Care.