Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly


EMK Complexity Group
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Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly is Director of the EMK Complexity Group; ​Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems


Eve Mitleton-Kelly has had two careers. One in the British Civil Service, Department of Trade & Industry (1967-1983) where she was involved in the formulation of UK and international policy; including the first report on Computers and Privacy in the 1970s; in the negotiation of EU Directives, advising Ministers; and another as an academic at the London School of Economics (since 1988).

EMK is founder and Director of the Complexity Research Group at the London School of Economics, Senior Fellow in IDEAS (International Affairs, Diplomacy & Strategy) at LSE and Visiting Professor at the Open University, UK.

Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems.

Fellow of the Royal Institution; member of the Scientific Advisory Board to the ‘Next Generation Infrastructures Foundation’, Delft University of Technology; on the Editorial Board of the Journal of ‘Emergence: Complexity & Organisations’; Fellow of the RSA; was Coordinator of Links with Business, Industry and Government of the European Complex Systems Network of Excellence, Exystence (2003-2006); Member of the AHRC/EPSRC research cluster Embracing Complexity in Design; Member of ONCE-CS Coordinating Action on Complex Systems; Director of the UK Complexity Society; Executive Co-ordinator of SOL-UK (London) (Society for Organisational Learning) 1977-2008; and Policy Advisor to European and USA organisations including Citibank New York, GSK, Rolls-Royce and others; several UK Government Departments and public sector organisations, incl. Defra (Dept. for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), DWP (Dept. for Work and Pensions), HSE (Health and Safety Executive), the NHS (National Health Service, UK) and the Royal British Legion (RBL).

Scientific Advisor to the Governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Netherlands, Singapore and UK on developing a framework of governance for government using complexity theory. Please see ‘A New Synthesis of Public Administration: Serving in the 21st Century’, by Jocelyne Bourgon, P.C., O.C., McGill Queen’s University Press

Academic work

EMK’s academic work has concentrated on the implications of the theories of complexity for organizations and specifically on strategy and policy development and on the creation of enabling environments to address apparently intractable problems in business and the public sector. She has led, and participated in, projects addressing practical problems using complexity theory, funded by the EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC, the European Commission, business and government, including: alignment between IT and the rest of the business; the reduction of problems associated with IT legacy systems; lack of organisational (e.g. post M&A) integration (one of the largest EPSRC-funded projects (pre-FEC) awarded to the LSE with many business partners); project governance of a national project delivered locally by multiple partners (RBL); a governance framework for government using complexity theory; leadership in the NHS, Defra, and many other organisations in the private and public sectors; sustainable development in communities, organizational learning, the emergence of new organizational forms, the ‘design’ of organizations, co-evolutionary sustainability, innovation in the private and public sector, diversity, art & complexity, disaster risk reduction in West African States, energy & climate change; relationship between policy and outcomes (HSE). She has developed a theory of complex social systems and an integrated methodology to address complex social problems, using both qualitative and quantitative tools and methods. The theory is being used for teaching at universities around the world, including at an EPSRC-funded short course at LSE jointly with the OU, to train researchers.

The EMK Methodology to address complex social problems is currently being used with a Government Agency in Indonesia to address deforestation. The Catastrophic Risks and the Complexity Global Agenda Councils, within the World Economic Forum, are also using the methodology in a series of workshops with world experts, to look at the spread of pandemics.


She has edited, co-edited and co-authored five books and has written extensively on the theory and application of complexity. Edward Elgar Publishers have also commissioned her to act as Editor of a Handbook on Complexity Science Research Methods.

Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly's Presentations