Founder and CEO of Knowledge Srl
Andrea Bassi has a master's degree and a phd in System Dynamics, and is currently working as a CEO in his own consultancy company.
He was recently named Extraordinary Associate Professor of System Dynamics Modelling in the Sustainable Development programme of the School of Public Leadership, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at Stellenbosch University.
Why did you choose to study System Dynamics?
I was interested in the possibility to create simulation models to improve decision making. At the time of applying for the M.Phil. in System Dynamics I was working in a sunglass manufacturing company, in the production department. I was supporting planning activities related to the production process, and could clearly see the challenges highlighted by the beer game, which I had played during a course of the M.Sc. in Economics I took before applying to Bergen.
I then decided to go on with a Ph.D. in System Dynamics, but ever since I arrived in Bergen I have focused my studies on energy and environmental issues, with emphasis on national development.
What are your fondest memories from the time you spent studying System Dynamics at UiB?
Academically I found a course that could challenge me on different levels -which was incredibly motivating-. We dealt with math in the initial courses, which I was glad to get back into, then got interested in complexity, and started working with highly complex models. I remember that it took me 3 months to recreate and test the “Petroleum life-cycle model”, my first modeling assignment of the M.Phil., and I spent several nights working on it to fully understand it and make a sense of it. I now realize that this step has been crucial in shaping my interest in System Dynamics, and in turn my career.
As for social memories, I would have plenty to share. What I think made this experience unique was the diversity of classmates, and the fact that course (multidisciplinary by nature) brought us very close. As an example, I will always remember the “laundry nights”, in which very interesting discussions on SD started in the early evening in the laundry room at Fantoft, and went on until late night and even morning. We did have a great class in my opinion, and I have certainly learned a great deal from exchanges with classmates.
What was the topic for you Master Thesis and phd?
In both cases I worked on energy policy, at the national level for my M.Phil. (USA) and at different geographical levels for the Ph.D. (regional, national, sectoral). I have worked with the Threshold 21 model, and created several customizations of it. Also, both theses were centered around projects I was doing for work, making them very rigorous but also rewarding, and practically bridging science (my research) with policy (my clients and stakeholders were decision makers).
Where are you working today?
Today I am the Founder and CEO of Knowledge Srl, a consulting company I have created in 2010. The programs in Bergen, and 10 years of professional work gave the knowledge and confidence to start my own business using System Thinking and System Dynamics, working worldwide to support decision making in the context of sustainability.
I was also recently named Extraordinary Associate Professor of System Dynamics Modelling in the Sustainable Development programme of the School of Public Leadership, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, at Stellenbosch University.
I primarily focus on (1) energy and climate policy, (2) natural resource utilization, (3) disaster resilience planning and response strategies and (4) sustainable development national -and regional- plans. Over the year I have developed specific expertise in green economy strategies and scenarios, climate mitigation and adaptation, industrial competitiveness and sustainable development and have contributed to, among others, UNEP’s Green Economy Report and have worked with over 30 governments worldwide in the last 10 years.
How has your education been relevant for you in your working life?
I can confidently say that my education is my working life. This means that I am still using what I have learned, both on economics, and more so on System Dynamics, in my daily life – and work life.
Also, studying in Bergen has given me method and motivation (mostly through stress- which is key to learning!) to approach every challenge proactively and with a positive attitude.
Would you recommend others to take a degree in System Dynamics? And if yes, why?
Absolutely, no doubt about it – both for the potential gains in work and life. A word of caution, the course will be demanding, and only dedicated students, as usual, will be able to fully profit from it. In my case, for a variety of reasons, these courses changed my life in ways that I could not even imagine 10 years ago!