Meet our speakers

Professor Antuela Tako is Professor in Operational Research at Loughborough University. She completed her PhD in Operational Research at the University of Warwick on the comparison of discrete-event simulation and system dynamics.

Antuela’s research focuses on developing systems modelling approaches, including simulation, systems thinking and problem structuring methods to solve important societal problems, primarily in healthcare, police custody, sustainability, circular economy and supply chains.

Antuela has received international and national recognition for her research contributions. She received the Dana Meadows Award at the International System Dynamics Society Conference 2008 and the OR Society’s President Medal in 2021, awarded for the best practical application of operational research work for her work on facilitated simulation in the Simulation for Greater Care (SIMTEGR8) project. This helped improve the quality and efficiency of local health services for the elderly and vulnerable in the Leicestershire and Rutland area. Antuela is co-founder of the PartiSim approach and she works with a range of public and private organisations. Antuela is Associate editor of the Journal of the Operational Research Society, Journal of Simulation, and Area Editor ‘Group Modelling and Facilitation in Healthcare’ for the Health Systems Journal.

Antuela Photo

Professor Antuela Tako

Mike Bourne is Professor of Business Performance at Cranfield University, Director of the Centre for Business Performance, Chair of the Performance Measurement Association and Director of the UK government’s Project Leadership Programme.

Mike spent 15 years in business, spanning the valve, paper & board, building materials, machine tool and airline catering industries. He held a number of positions, with roles in production management, strategy and acquisitions, IT, HR, commercial and general management, including directorship positions in subsidiary companies. He gained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2001, researching the design and implementation of balanced performance measurement systems. He has spent the last twenty years working with companies and public sector organisations supporting senior management teams through the process of clarifying and executing their strategy. He takes  a facilitated approach to build engagement and understanding of strategic priorities.  This enables implementation through alignment of activity to the goals of the organisation. 

His research interest is at the interface of performance and change management with strategic management and control systems. His teaching is in the area of strategy and policy implementation and change management.

Mike is a Chartered Management Accountant and a Chartered Engineer. He has authored over 100 publications including The Handbook of Corporate Performance Management, Balanced Scorecard - Instant Manager, Successful Change Management in a Week, Creating an Effective Public Sector, Concise Introduction to Performance Management and the, APM reports on Project Leadership and Project Governance.

Mikebourne (1)

Professor Mike Bourne

Dr. Gary Preece is Head of the Systems Research Programme in the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). He is also an analyst in the Government Operational Research Service with experience working for a range of government departments in the UK and abroad. Prior to working in government, Gary worked in academia researching systems thinking approaches to support information management and disaster response. Gary holds a PhD in systems thinking from Aston Business School and is a Fellow of the Operational Research Society.

The UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) set up its Systems Research Programme in 2019. This provides a dedicated team to support Defra undertake systems thinking research and analysis, supporting policy and decision making across the organisation. This talk will introduce Defra’s approach to systems thinking, reflect on lessons learnt through applying and embedding it in Defra and highlight the future opportunities and challenges we see for systems thinking in Government.

Gary Preece

Dr Gary Preece

Dr Ben Follows is a senior OR manager with 20 years plus experience working within the Government Operational Research Service (GORS) mainly for HM Revenue and Customs. Ben's current role involves leading specialist teams to deliver innovative systems thinking, data exploitation and data analytics solutions to complex business problems. Ben’s work often focussed on leading teams to provide analysis and research to inform transformation and service design.  For example, Ben led the analytical teams to provide award winning analysis and publication of the scale of error and fraud in the coronavirus job retention (furlough) scheme and the self-employment income support scheme. Ben is the HMRC lead for the GORS-led Systems Thinking Interest Group (STIG). Ben holds a PhD in Geoscience research, which included identifying and modelling geological evidence generated by natural systems.

Ben Follows

Dr Ben Follows

Nick Chater joined WBS in 2010, after holding chairs in psychology at Warwick and UCL. His research focuses on the cognitive and social foundations of rationality, with applications to business and public policy. He was awarded the Cognitive Science Society's life-time achievement award, the David E Rumelhart Prize in 2023. His book, The Mind is Flat, won the American Association of Publishers PROSE Award in 2019, for Best book in Clinical Psychology. Nick is a fellow of the British Academy, the Cognitive Science Society and the Association for Psychological Science. He is a co-founder of the research consultancy Decision Technology; and been a member of the UK government's Climate Change Committee. He co-created, and was resident scientist on, eight series of the BBC Radio 4 show The Human Zoo.

"The i-frame and the s-frame: Why behavioural insights should focus on getting the right systems, not 'fixing' the individual"

How can behavioural science help us promote better public policy? Recently there has been a lot of focus on informing, or nudging, individuals to help them make better choices. But the real lesson of behavioural science is very different: that our choices are crucially embedded in the systems (including regulations, taxes, as well as social norms) in which we live. So major social change needs systemic not individual-level change. Behavioural insights aren't an alternative to conventional policy, but can help better inform that policy.

Nick Chater

Professor Nick Chater

Dr Ine Steenmans is an Associate Professor in Futures, Analysis and Policy at the University College London (UCL). Ine’s research focuses on future policy competencies and capabilities. This means she is interested in questions such as: What analytical competencies do policy professionals need, and how do they develop them? How do groups develop collective analytical capabilities? And how can the development of competencies and capabilities be better aligned?

She has special interest in the competencies for integrating knowledge across disciplines, sectors, and time horizons. This includes futures and foresight methods, systems methodologies, and evaluation. All her work takes a needs-led, transformation-oriented approach, which involves working in partnership with policy professionals. Recent projects included capability development work on the uses of systems mapping, evaluation skills, scenarios, and strategy tools – in collaboration with BEIS, Lloyds Insurance, UNDP, Policy Lab, the UAE Office of Advanced Sciences and the UAE Space Agency. Before joining UCL in 2017, Ine worked as a foresight researcher in the UK Government Office for Science.

Title: Systemic evaluation for better policy

This session will take a closer look at the contributions of systems-based approaches and OR to evaluation. We will explore three questions about OR’s relationship to policy evaluation:

  1. What makes an evaluation ‘systemic’?
  2. What challenges are currently faced in systemic policy evaluation?
  3. How can the field of OR contribute to resolving these challenges?
Ine Steenmans

Dr Ine Steenmans