Meet the Team

Greg Fisher
is the Managing Director of Synthesis and a mature PhD student at the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, University of Southampton. In 1992 he joined St John’s College, Cambridge where he studied Economics & Politics as an undergraduate. Following this Greg joined the Bank of England as a graduate entrant in 1995, working in a spectrum of roles that mixed economics and finance. Between 2004 and 2008, Greg worked for a hedge fund as a global macroeconomic strategist. Before joining the think-tank, ResPublica, in August 2010, he spent two years researching the new science of complex systems, and how it relates to economics and finance. Greg is a Senior Research Associate of the London School of Economics’ Complexity Group and he is researching collective action in complex social systems at the University of Southampton.

Paul Ormerod is a Director at Synthesis. He is the author of 3 best-selling books on economics, Death of Economics (1994), Butterfly Economics (1998), Why Most Things Fail (2005), a Business Week US Business Book of the Year. He read economics at Cambridge and took the MPhil in economics at Oxford. He worked initially as a macroeconomic forecaster and modeller at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London. In the early 1980s he moved to the private sector as Director of Economics at the Henley Centre for Forecasting. The management team bought this from the Henley Management College and subsequently sold it to Martin Sorrel’s WPP Group. He founded Volterra Consulting in 1998 in order to carry out innovative work on practical policy questions in both the public and private sectors. In 2009 he was awarded an honorary DSc by Durham for the ‘distinction of his contributions to economics’. He publishes on complexity-related areas in a wide range of academic journals such as Proceedings of the Royal Society B(iology), Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Cultural Economics, Cultural Science, Physica A, Journal of British Academy of Social Science, Journal of Economic Interaction and Co-ordination , Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Mind and Society, and Springer-Verlag Lecture Notes in Computer Science.

Orit Gal is a political economist specializing in the practical applications of complexity theories. Over the past decade she has concentrated much of her work on issues of complexity in conflict environments and the intersection between economic development and security.
She served as a senior researcher at the Operational Theory Research Institute of the Israeli Defense Forces (OTRI) where she worked to develop the civil economic dimension of military operational design. Prior to OTRI Orit worked as a project director for the Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF), where she participated in track-two negotiations vis-à-vis the Palestinians, and developed policy recommendations on economic peace-building, and the potential role of international intervention.  Previously an associate fellow at Chatham House, Orit is also a visiting lecturer at Regent’s College teaching International Political Economy, Development, and Strategy, all from a complexity perspective.

Rhett Gayle is a philosopher whose work has primarily focused on education and methods for improving thinking. He also has interests in the philosophy of leadership and teaching wisdom in the current academy. He is writing a book on the connections between Taoism and complexity science. Rhett is also involved in New Enlightenment Education, an initiative bringing together Chinese and Western approaches to education. He is Director of Philosophies at the University Project, a working group creating a new university in London. Through the miracle of the internet, while living in the UK he teaches philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, from where he received his PhD.

David Hales
is a computer scientist with research interests in the overlap between social science and  distributed computer systems. He has focused on the bottom-up emergence of trust and cooperation in
systems without central control. His focus is applicable to new forms of online social interaction, such as those seen in peer-to-peer systems, that manifest highly cooperative collective behaviour without
relying on traditional economic incentives or central plans. He has applied and developed approaches and theories from agent-based modelling and evolutionary game theory to understand and design novel phenomena and systems. Recently he has become interested in how such approaches and technologies can be applied to value functions in communities offering alternatives to traditional centralised financial services where these are not readily available.  He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Open University in complex systems design and Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Modelling in Manchester. He holds a PhD in agent-based modelling and sits of the editorial board of Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS) and Peer-to-Peer Networking and Applications.

Mark McKergow combines interests in complexity, philosophy, science and organisations.  His PhD in the physics of self-organising systems has led to more than two decades of taking an emergent view.  As Director of the Centre for Solutions Focus at Work, he has developed an international community of managers and consultants who utilise the Solutions Focus approach, a practical application of narrative emergence in management and therapy.  He is the author of three books including the best-selling ‘The Solutions Focus: Making coaching & change SIMPLE’, still selling well after ten years in print.  Mark edits the academic journal InterAction, is a visiting research fellow in philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire and leads an online certificate course for the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  He lives in London and works and teaches worldwide.

Bridget Rosewell combines business and policy responsibilities with an interest in changing and improving the way in which economic analysis is done.  She is a partner in Volterra, which she established with Paul Ormerod to further the use of methods of economic analysis which do not rely on equilibrium or optimising concepts and which try to account for dynamics and feedbacks in building models.  She has applied such techniques to areas of policy in competition, innovation and transport investments.  In particular, she developed an innovative approach to the analysis of the investment in Crossrail – a railway across London – which has started to change the way in which these investments are evaluated.  She is also Chief Economic Advisor to the GLA and to the Mayor of London and has given expert evidence at Planning Inquiries and other tribunals. She is a Non-Executive Director of Network Rail and sits on a variety of other bodies.

Claudius van Wyk practices as a consultant in the United Kingdom and South Africa Johannesburg through his company Transformation Strategies, applying mindset technologies to strategic management. These empowerment programs have been facilitated throughout Southern Africa and in Europe. Claudius has written articles for various journals including Greenbuild, Biophile, and Complexity and Emergence Publications. He has presented papers in the United Kingdom and Brazil on complexity science on business applications and ethics. He is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-linguisitc Programming and holds an M.Phil degree in Applied Business Ethics, a M.Sc. degree in Organizational Behaviour and was awarded a D.Sc. for his research into a transformed epistemology for applications of whole-systems approaches to mindset and disease. Claudius is a member of the Scientific and Medical Network.

Ben_KingBen King is an associate consultant working with Synthesis. After growing up in rural Norfolk, he moved to Brighton to study Intellectual and Cultural History at Sussex University, along with a number of philosophy and cognitive science electives. An avid reader, he is well versed in a wide range of subjects across both the hard and soft sciences, and has recently returned from living in Bangalore, India. Inspired by the application of cognitive science to the modelling of history, Ben has spent the last ten years analysing culture through the lens of complexity theory, with the goal of creating a framework to model the universal features of evolution across emergent scales. Ben is a highly independent, and largely self-taught, complexity-based philosopher with a keen passion for politics, social identity, and issues of morality and social justice.

LeonardoAlvesLeonardo Alves
was raised in South America and moved to the USA to study Zoology at the University of Oklahoma where he received numerous scholarships and became the president of the Zoological Society at age 20. His bachelor’s thesis focused in the role and impact humans have on the environment focusing specifically on the energetic needs of our species while at the same time proposing solutions to make our existence more sustainable. Following his graduation he began his doctorate in biomedical sciences, genetics, and biochemistry where his interests for complex issues culminated on his thesis explaining how the same genetic mutations that allowed early humans to migrate and colonize different areas of the world are now responsible for many of the common complex diseases we observe. Immediately after his graduation he was awarded the prestigious California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship and began his career serving as a scientific liaison to elected officials. He served one year as a committee consultant on natural resources and water and most recently worked for California’s governor at the Office of Governmental and Environmental Relations. He has recently moved to London where he is focusing on the intersection of science, policy, and complex issues such as climate change and sustainability.