Alex Ryan - Defense professional

Alex Ryan is Vice President Systems Innovation and Director of the MaRS Solutions Lab, which applies systemic design to society’s most complex challenges. He is an Executive-in-Residence at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. Alex Ryan is Co-Founder of Synthetikos Inc. Alex Ryan also Co-Founded Alberta CoLab, where he advised a cross-ministry systemic design and strategic foresight team working to institutionalize systems thinking, design and foresight within government policy and planning processes. The CoLab team addresses diverse issues such as energy transition, integrated resource management, stakeholder engagement, and social innovation.   As a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, Alex Ryan has previously taught operational and strategic design at the U.S. School of Advanced Military Studies, and helped to institutionalize design within Western militaries, working with clients such as U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, Australian Special Operations Command, and the Canadian Forces College. He is Co-Founder of the Systemic Design Research Network and Co-Chair of the Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium ( His dissertation in applied mathematics advanced a multidisciplinary approach to complex systems design. 

Design in Civvies: The Promise of Creating Degrees of Freedom in Government

Author: Alex Ryan  Abstract: Both military and civilian design can be measured by the degrees […]

A Personal Reflection on Introducing Design to the U.S. Army

See Original post: In this blog, I explain how I accidentally became involved in […]

Countering Insurgency and the Myth of “The Cause”

Abstract:  It is possible for an insurgency to develop from a single cause, for the […]

Applications of Complex Systems to Operational Design

Author: Alex Ryan Abstract: Simon distinguished between the declarative logic of the natural sciences, concerned […]

Military Applications of Complex Systems

Author: Alex Ryan Abstract: This chapter presents the science of complex systems that had a significant […]

The Foundation for an Adaptive Approach: Insights from the science of complex systems

Author: Alex Ryan Abstract: Many who have studied the issue agree that warfare is becoming more […]

The Art of Design: A Design Methodology

Author: Stefan J. Banach & Alex Ryan Abstract: The purpose of this article is to describe a […]

Adapting C2 to the 21st Century: Operationalising Adaptive Campaigning Topics

Author: Alex Ryan Abstract: For highly complex missions, it is not realistic to expect to […]

About the bears and the bees: Adaptive responses to asymmetric warfare

Author: Alex Ryan  Abstract: Conventional military forces are organised to generate large scale effects against […]

Hybrid Complex Adaptive Engineered Systems: A case study in defence

Author: Alex Ryan Introduction Excerpt: While the beginnings of understanding warfare as a complex adaptive systems […]

Designing Complex Adaptive Systems for Defence

Author: Alex Ryan Abstract: The complexity of defence systems has grown rapidly in recent years and […]