Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

Insight Maker: Accelerating innovation and bigger thinking using open source simulation

Kishau Rogers (Websmith Group)
11:50am12:30pm Thursday, May 11, 2017
The Cutting Edge
Location: Meeting Room 18 A/B
Level: Beginner

Who is this presentation for?

  • IT managers, CxOs, business and systems analysts, and enterprise developers

What you'll learn

  • Explore how open source interactive simulation tools like Insight Maker are being used to promote rapid learning, understand the structure and dynamics of complex systems, and solve problems


Simulation models are great tools for performing experiments and for employing systems-thinking principles to visualize and gain a deeper insight of how one area of a system impacts its other parts. Simulation and modeling tools are especially effective for understanding the root causes of a problem and for aligning stakeholders toward a consensus for action.

Insight Maker, an accessible free and open source simulation and modeling tool, offers a web-based multiuser environment for developing, analyzing, and sharing system insights and provides a graphical interface and includes systems dynamics modeling, agent-based modeling, and advanced features such as model optimization and scripting via its JavaScript API. Designed to be accessible to a broad audience of users, Insight Maker has been in development for many years and has been adopted by well over 20,000 registered users.

Kishau Rogers offers an in-depth review of how open source interactive simulation tools are being used to promote rapid learning, understand the structure and dynamics of complex systems, and solve problems. Using Insight Maker, Kishau highlights real-world simulation projects and their use of qualitative and quantitative data combined with systems thinking principles to model complex systems in industries such as health, technology, and business—scaling complex business operations, developing adaptive and intelligent applications, and evaluating the broader impact of service expansion.

Topics include:

  • Functional specifications: Understand the requirements for getting started
  • Types of models: Systems dynamics modeling versus agent-based modeling
  • Model building: The impact of actors, events, inputs, and outputs
  • Models versus truth: Verification and validation
  • Designing, conducting, and analyzing experiments
  • Reviewing, documenting, and sharing results
  • Customizing and manipulating models with JavaScript
  • Simulation case studies in the areas of healthcare, technology, interactive gaming, and business help desk operations
Photo of Kishau Rogers

Kishau Rogers

Websmith Group

Serial tech entrepreneur Kishau Rogers is the founder and CEO of technology ventures such as Websmith Group Inc., TimeStudy, PeerLoc, and most recently, Websmith Studio, Websmith’s community innovation center. Kishau has over 20 years of industry experience, specializing in using computer science and systems-thinking principles to influence how we develop, build, grow, and mature great ideas. Under her leadership, the Websmith brand has operated for over 12 years, partnering with entrepreneurs and organizations in successfully bringing their technology ideas from conceptualization to commercialization. Kishau has spearheaded many social impact technology projects, most recently serving as an advisor to the US White House Hackathon for Foster Care. She is the recent recipient of the Lyn McDermid Community Impact Award and the Metropolitan Business League’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Kishau has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NFIB, JavaWorld, and other publications. Kishau is committed to community service and leadership in technology and actively serves on advisory boards for institutions such as Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Engineering, the Metropolitan Business League, and ECPI. Kishau holds a computer science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Follow her on Twitter at @kishau.