Archive for the ‘System Design and Management’ Category

The Dynamics of Circular Migration in Southern Europe: An Example of Social Innovation

Friday, December 31st, 2010

This case of study about the management of seasonal labor migration in Southern Europe was prepared by Rafael Marañón-Abreu, Estrella Gualda Caballero and Ricardo Valerdi. The paper was submitted for the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change in the special issue: Economic hard times: Impact on innovation and innovation potential. A draft of the paper can be downloaded from the MIT ESD Working Paper Series Download ESD-WP-2011-01 (.pdf)Discuss ESD-WP-2011-01

During economic crises, governments establish policies that facilitate the creation of jobs, goods and services that make theireconomies more resilient. Often, this requires innovative social programs that match global migratory trends to local labor demand. The implementation of such programs requires a significant degree of innovation that requires models that can capture the complexity involved.

Basic model structure and feedback processes of the management of seasonal labor migration in Southern Europe

To explore this phenomenon, we provide a multi-disciplinary view of innovative social programs that shed light on the dynamic characteristics of the political, social, technological and economic aspects of circular migration. Our focus is a case study of the European Union-funded circular migration program to support the strawberry harvest in the province of Huelva in Spain. Covering the time period of 1999-2011, this paper provides a system dynamics model to represent the key elements that led to the success of circular migration from the standpoint of economic and social change. The model helps explain the key factors that make the program robust under recent economic crisis conditions.

Based on a qualitative analytical approach, the model demonstrates how adaptive policies can enable macroeconomic equilibrium in environments where circular migration can be implemented. We also show that circular migration is not an impediment to economic recovery, in fact, it helps stabilize the labor supply in times of high uncertainty.

Keywords: circular migration, social innovation, system dynamics, Southern Europe.

Download ESD-WP-2011-01 (.pdf)

ZARA, FAMOSA and ALDI

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

ESD.763 Operations & Supply Chain Management taught by Víctor Martínez de Albéniz, associate professor in IESE‘s Department of Production, Technology and Operations Management, was an interesting class this summer semester.

Zara has become one of the most popular places to buy with over a 1,000 outlets all over the world and the owner of Zara, Amancio Ortega, is certainly on the list of the richest people in Spain.

After spring semester where we had to prepare business cases mainly about US organizations, it was great that Víctor included on his course several spanish company cases. Famosa and Zara were the two big major example that Martinez de Albeniz used to illustrate us the importance of Lean manufacturing and distribution strategies worlwide.

I enjoyed also preparing a case about Aldi´s German food retail (a following up case that I recommend is How Mercadona Fixes Retail’s ‘Last 10 Yards’ Problem)

MIT SDM research thesis topics

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Currently I am thinking over the themes and precise topics for my Master thesis, there are couple in my mind and I have to make a decision which one to choose. I am going to talk briefly about it. One is about population flow between Africa and Europe, how people come to work to European Union and then they come back to their country, this is a circular migration concept and now there is a challenge during the current financial crisis so this model has to be reviewed. One of the approaches in my thesis would be applying System Dynamics to understand and make a profound analysis of this migration and multidimensional issue.

Circular Migration: key migration routes from Africa to Europe

Circular Migration: key migration routes from Africa to Europe

The second topic for my thesis is something that I have been thinking about for the last 13 years and it comes to my mind again. I was imagining the possibility to travel, to be more precise time travel, e.g. you are in your home country and you want to travel to China, there’s one way to do it: you buy a ticket and you visit it, but what if you do not have time and you wish to walk around the Forbidden City you can go to CAVE in your house where you put the glasses on and then you select a desired destination with a small fare to pay and then the CAVE gives you an opportunity and present a very real image, 3D dimensional environment of the Forbidden city. It is going to be amazing experience as most of the information is already online like Google maps has already images of numerous locations around the world, so you can walk among the buildings as if it were real. But the more important things when you go traveling you don’t want to see only the buildings, trip it is not only about sightseeing, in my opinion, the most exciting is meeting people and learning their language, so in the program/game you can come across people like you. Imagine you are walking in Forbidden city area and you meet, for example, me currently living in the US, we can see each other clearly as well as the lifelike surroundings, I can not touch and smell things ‘yet‘, but at least we can enjoy a conversation, it can be useful especially when your partner is away, apart from us there are other people in the street (system) so anyone can approach us and ask where are we from and what are we doing here, we can practice languages as well as have a virtual tour guide, that could be wonderful experience!

Dr. Shreekanth Mandayam lead the CAVE project in Rowan University

Apart from entertainment CAVE could be used for work purposes: I am at home in my house in the US and then suddenly there is problem in one of the companies I am collaborating with in Andalusia. There is a mechanical problem and people can not fix it, so I need to see for myself what is happening on site, what are cables, type of network is involved, so I put the glasses on again and I have the entire building in front of me to walk around, talk to people in the company.

CAVE in Rowan University's South Jersey Technology Park

CAVE in Rowan University's South Jersey Technology Park

Once you are there, you can analyze better and come up with a best option and decision as you see what’s exactly going on having 3D image that provides you with a reality-like surroundings. Another example of distance collaboration is a military ship in middle of the Pacific Ocean and if something goes wrong and you do not have access, however, by phone it can be quite complicated as someone else gives you a vision of the situation.

The president goes 1-2 days later after the emergency situation has happened, but what if the head of the government has a possibility to be there half an hour later so these are applications for the CAVE.

Most probably I am going to start working on migration project as it is something unique. Not so many people are working on that so I am very concerned about analyzing and circulating the case of Cartaya as a success story in circular migration. Actually, a couple of weeks ago, taking the opportunity that  I was visiting family and friends in my hometown in Cartaya , I collected a considerable amount of available data from the last 20 years that this migration management experiment has been running. The local government of Cartaya is also very excited about a collaboration between Cartaya and MIT.

CARTAYA: A case of study of Ethical Management of Temporary Immigration between Morocco and Spain. Project funded by the European Union


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