Scriptapedia/Reflector Feedback (Hovmand)

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Reflector Feedback

This script is used to summarize insights by the group, clarifies ideas that may have been confusing or ambiguous, and negotiates next steps.


Under development

Primary nature of group task:



Preparation time: 20 minutes

Time required during session: 15 minutes

Follow-up time: 0 minutes


  1. Flip chart/whiteboard
  2. Markers
  3. Notepad paper for reflector


  • Boundary objects from session


  • List of next steps


  • One or more reflectors with expertise in system dynamics, topic under discussion, or community members


  1. Before the session starts, reflectors are assigned specific areas to focus based on their expertise. Generally, someone with expertise in modeling should be focusing on system dynamics insights while an expert on the topic being discussed would typically focus on what is new or similar with respect to what is already known, and someone with expertise in the community (e.g., a person with lived experience) might focus on what is new or happened within the community.
  2. Reflectors take notes and prepare summary comments for model reflection at the end of the session.
  3. If possible, it can be helpful to have the reflectors briefly coordinate their comments (e.g., during a brief break).
  4. Each reflector takes a few minutes to summary 2-3 key insights, raise any questions for clarification and brief discussion, and summarizes any next steps, e.g., "So there are three things I heard as possible next steps. First,... Second, ..., And third, ... Did I get that right?" "Which of these seems the most important?"
    • Start by having one reflector (typically the reflector with modeling expertise) reviewing the session and what happened, and refer back to (point to or stand by) the boundary objects around the room in temporal order.
    • As one reviews what happened, highlight key insights tied to the modeling and be sure to point to any structures or diagrams as this is an important time to reinforce the conventions and types of diagrams.
    • After reviewing the process insights, reflectors focused content can share how the insights relate to what is known by experts. This is an important point to help people recognize how what they came up with may or may not align with what expert researchers have found, as well as highlight what is new or innovative.
    • Then, close by reviewing how this contributed to building community and connections, as well as acknowledging any remaining sources of tension or disagreement (e.g., "It seems we still have some work to do and some disagreement, but perhaps it was too much to expect that we can resolve all the issues in one day. Nonetheless, we made some good progress.")
  5. After the summary of model, content, and community insights, it is useful to talk about and negotiate next steps. This is important for both understanding and setting realistic expectations. A number of areas might be considered and those who have the most insight into what is feasible and needed should be invited to weigh in at this point.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Unclear ideas have been clarified
  • The group has a shared sense of what they did, how this related to insights
  • Clear sense of next steps for the modeling


Peter Hovmand c2012


The idea of the reflector role was originally introduced by George Richardson and David Andersen in the Albany Tradition of group model building as described in (Luna-Reyes et al, 2006). This version of the reflector script was based on the Richardson and Andersen script, and documented by Annalise Calhoun in 2010 based on Luna-Reyes et al. (2006). Within the practice of community based system dynamics, the script evolved to bring in different types of reflectors and provide persons with no prior experience in group model building with a structured approach to help close out a session.




Luna-Reyes, L. F., Martinez-Moyano, I. J., Pardo, T. A., Cresswell, A. M., Andersen, D. F., & Richardson, G. P. (2006). Anatomy of a group model-building intervention: Building dynamic theory from case study research. System Dynamics Review, 22(4), 291-320.


The script is mostly a presentation, but interactive in nature and an important function of this script is to provide a means of consolidating insights from a group model building session and reaching consensus about the next steps for the modeling.