Community of Practice

Designer Members

Alex Ryan

Dr. Alex Ryan is CEO of Synthetikos Inc, a boutique innovation strategy agency with military, government and corporate clients in Canada, Australia, the US and the UK. Dr. Ryan has lectured at the Canadian Forces College on a range of topics including design, systems thinking and strategy since 2012. Dr. Ryan is also an Executive in Residence at the Rotman School of Management, where he has taught design and systems thinking.

Previously, Dr. Ryan was an executive at North America’s largest urban innovation hub, MaRS Discovery District. While at MaRS, Dr. Ryan led over 100 cross-sector complex systems change initiatives, including conducting the first cultural health assessment for Canadian Special Forces Command. Dr. Ryan co-founded and led Alberta CoLab, the first policy design lab in a Canadian provincial government.

Dr. Ryan taught at the U.S. School of Military Studies, co-authored the first US Army Design doctrine, and trained and advised strategic design teams at US Special Operations Command, US Strategic Command, US Cyber Command, and Australian Special Operations Command. Dr. Ryan started his career as a scientist with the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group, where he was the Australian National Lead for a five eyes working group on complex adaptive systems for defence. Dr. Ryan is author of a book chapter on Military Applications of Complex Systems and numerous articles on systems thinking, innovation and military operational art. His PhD thesis advanced a multidisciplinary approach to complex systems design.

19 May 2023

Let’s Think Digital – Do Innovation Labs Work?

Alex Ryan joins Ryan Androsoff and Nick Scott in conversation. Over the past decade it…

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What I learned from 5 years on MaRS

By Alex Ryan Reflections on my experience as an executive at North America’s largest urban…

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Systemic Design of a Force for the Australian Army in 2050

by Brandon Pincombe, Alex Ryan, Nick Kempt, Ashley Stephens, Nikoleta Tomecko, Darryn J. Reid and…

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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…

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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…

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Countering Insurgency and the Myth of “The Cause”

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

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