Systems Modeling

Systems analyses and modeling

Problem statement:

To understand biomass-based value webs as systems, these systems need to be analyzed and modeled regarding system properties, boundaries, its contextual environment, structure, hierarchy and functions. Systems Thinking is the process of understanding how things influence each other within a whole system. It traces back to systems theory, has had extensive applications in business and management, and was popularized in Germany. Systems Thinking provides a powerful way of reflecting about complex issues and is able to generate insights and understandings that are not available through more conventional analytic approaches. Systems Thinking describes systems holistically, identifies interconnectedness, interactions and influence, and allows generating what if scenarios and formulating strategies. In this approach, “problems” are viewed as parts of the overall system, and the emphasis is on analyzing interactions and their consequences rather than the system structure itself, and on cyclical rather than linear cause-and-effect thinking.

Objectives: Development of:

  1. Qualitative and later of quantitative system models of biomass-based value webs,
  2. Links between web elements,
  3. Identification of actors.

Research questions:

  1. Participatory description of biomass value webs through identifying structure, causalities and links between the actors/components in a qualitative system model;
  2. Development of quantitative models through the integration of data and results of economic and biophysical modeling in the qualitative system model; analysis of scenarios;
  3. Second round of qualitative modeling to integrate project results, identification of measures for improving the analyzed biomass value webs.


The qualitative and quantitative models will be developed separately for each project country, and the model boundaries can be adjusted according to the scope the project will take in each of them. Global aspects will be considered if stakeholders in the workshops identify important roles for them in a specific web (e.g. export-oriented production).

Scientists and stakeholders will jointly conduct the biomass value web analysis and the ‘iMODELER’, an interactive software developed by CONSIDEO will be applied.

Countries of field research:

  • Ghana
  • Nigeria
  • Ethiopia

Involved partners:

Stakeholders on invitation


  • Manfred Denich (ZEF)
  • Franc Grimm, Kai Neumann (CONSIDEO)