iThink from isee Systems is a business modelling and simulation tool based on a systems approach to analysis. It allows managers to model and predict the impact of an activity on all parts of the organisation, and is used by many large corporations (Dow Chemicals for example). Ultimately iThink is a risk management tool supporting statistical and logical variables.
System thinking provides the foundation for how iThink works. This was very popular in the 70s and 80s, but lost ground to less capable paradigms (simple spreadsheet statistics for example).
It is now seeing a resurgence of interest as risk management becomes once again a pressing issue. It’s real strength lies in the ability to highlight resource problems and undesirable outcomes when a new activity is proposed. Variables can be treated in a statistical manner, and sales for example could be simulated by a statistical distribution (normal for example), and along with other statistical variables will show the best and worst scenarios with probabilities of each. It is also very good at identifying key points of leverage where maximum return can be gained for minimum cost, clearly something that will be of interest to many organisations.
The interface is icon driven and feature causal loop diagrams, support for queues, and automatic creation of model equations. The hierarchical model structures permit very complex models to be built with simulation and analysis tools to see processes unfold.
Systems thinking is a whole discipline in itself and isee Systems offers a number of tutorials and educational resources. iThink provides a gentle introduction to this approach, but there is a learning curve for those unfamiliar with the territory.
Additional products allow models to be published and shared over the web (NetSim) and various runtime options allow models to be shared. iThink runs on Windows and Mac platforms.