Timothy Clancy

Timothy Clancy
Senior Researcher, Assistant Research Scientist, START
University of Maryland

Timothy Clancy is an Assistant Research Scientist at START specializing in studying wicked mess problems, including violence and instability, as complex systems. For over 30 years Timothy has helped stakeholders in all manner of organizations understand their wicked mess problems and work towards resolving them. This included prior work at IBM where he was the Chief Methodologist of Lean, Six Sigma, and Agile supporting Fortune 50, government, and military clients to navigate their own wicked messes in strategy, business models, and enterprise transformation. It was during this role, while working at the Office of the Secretary of Defense that Timothy began applying these tools to national security problems. This work led to a deployment as a civilian to Afghanistan supporting counter-roadside bomb efforts. It was in Afghanistan that Timothy first encountered systems thinking and computer simulation methods such as system dynamics capable of mathematically modeling the wicked mess problems he'd encountered throughout his career. This led to a career change after returning from abroad, and Timothy completed his MSc in Simulation Science & Insurgency Dynamics and then a PhD in the System Dynamics of the Lifecycle of Violence and Instability of Non-State actors, both at WPI. Current research topics include understanding violent radicalization as a system, the terror contagion hypothesis for public mass killings, the emerging-state actor hypothesis for asymmetric and irregular warfare conflicts, and advancing methods for modeling social complexity through computer simulations integrated with AI.


  • Worcester Polytech Institute, Ph.D. System Dynamics of Violence & Instability, 2023
  • Worcester Polytech Institute, MSc. Simulation Science & Insurgency Dynamics, 2016
  • Reinhardt University, B.S. Business Administration summa cum laude 2004
  • Reinhardt University, B.A. History summa cum laude 2004
Professional Experience:
  • Founder & Chief Simulation Scientist, Dialectic Simulations Consulting, LLC 2017 – current
  • Chief Methodologist of Lean, Six Sigma, & Agile, IBM, 2005-2015
  • Operations Manager, Radiant Systems, 2000-2003
  • Operations Manager, Vanstar 1994-2000

Journal Articles

  • Clancy, T., Pavlov, O., Addison, B., Palmer, E., & Saeed, K., “Systemic innovation for countering violent radicalization: Systems engineering in a policy context,” Systems Engineering, 2024. https://doi.org/10.1002/sys.21743
  • Bier, A.; Clancy, T.; Langarudi, S. “What is (quantitative) system dynamics modeling? Defining characteristics and the opportunities they create,” System Dynamics Review, 2024. https://doi.org/10.1002/sdr.1762
  • Clancy, T., Pavlov, O., Addison, B., & Saeed, K., “Root causes of radicalization: the terror‐contagion hypothesis,” System Dynamics Review, pp. 1–47, Oct. 2023, doi: 10.1002/sdr.1749.
  • Clancy, T., Langarudi, S. P., & Zaini, R. (2023). Never the strongest: Reconciling the four schools of thought in system dynamics in the debate on quality. System Dynamics Review, 39(3), 277–294. https://doi.org/10.1002/sdr.1740
  • Clancy, T., Addison, B., Pavlov, O., & Saeed, K. (2021). Contingencies of Violent Radicalization: The Terror Contagion Simulation. Systems, 9(4), 90. https://doi.org/10.3390/systems9040090
  • Clancy, T. (2018a). Application of Emerging-State Actor Theory: Analysis of Intervention and Containment Policies †. Systems, 6(2), 17. https://doi.org/10.3390/systems6020017
  • Clancy, T. (2018b). Systems Thinking: Three System Archetypes Every Manager Should Know. IEEE Engineering Management Review, 46(2), 32–41. https://doi.org/10.1109/EMR.2018.2844377
  • Clancy, T. (2018c). Theory of an Emerging-State Actor: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Case †. Systems, 6(2), 16. https://doi.org/10.3390/systems6020016

Book Chapters

  • Clancy, T. “Paper 9: Emerging-State Actor Model,” in Modeling Labor, Human Resources & Social Dynamics: Selected papers on System Dynamics. A book written by experts for beginners, J. Martin Garcia, Ed, Independently Published, 2019.
  • Clancy, T. “Chapter 11: How IBM Reduced Help Desk Escalations and Overhead Activities,” in Six Sigma software quality improvement: success stories from leaders in the high tech industry, V. Nanda and J. A. Robinson, Eds. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.
  • Clancy, T. “Chapter 13: Boiling the Ocean with Value Streams, Kaizens, and Kanbans,” in Six Sigma software quality improvement: success stories from leaders in the high tech industry, V. Nanda and J. A. Robinson, Eds. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.