Complex Systems, Complexity, Chaos Theory,Complex Adaptive Systems,Complexity and Strategy,Organisational Change,Self Organisation,Complex Systems and Knowledge Creation,Brain,Mind,Complex Systems Resources,Complexity and Chaos Resources,Organisational Form, Complexity Theory,Consultancy



Peter Fryer

I am an avid student of learning organizations, complexity and chaos theory, and complex adaptive systems. In particular their implications for organisations of all kinds, and I have established an independent consultancy to share my experience and understanding with other organisations. Such organisations include Pfizer, The Industrial Society, DfES, and Glasgow Caledonian University as well as a wide range of smaller entities.

Being the Chief Executive of Humberside Training and Enterprise Council, until TECs were abolished in 2001, I was able to practice what I preached by taking out the traditional business processes such as, plans, hierarchy charts, budgets, managers, rules, job descriptions etc. I introduced in their place, fuzzy policies, paperless 360 appraisals, self managed teams, serious thinking sessions and much, much more - all based on the principles of self responsibility, trust and giving oceans of support.

I have been working with the London School of Economics (LSE) for several years now, initially as a participant in a project, which looked at the relationship between complex adaptive systems and organisational form and attempted to provide a new language to make the concepts available to all. More recently I am an advisor to a new EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded LSE project, which is working with Shell, British Telecom and Rolls Royce to investigate how complexity theory can help them with their mergers, restructuring, and spin out operations.

Over the years I have given a wide range of presentations on the subject of complexity in the workplace based on my experiences as one of the few people who has actually led an organisation using complexity theory. Examples include presentations to businesses on behalf of the Industrial Society and the Institute of Management, to public bodies on behalf of the Local Government Management Board and to academics on behalf of the LSE and Warwick University to name but a few. Drawing on the skills I gained in my seven years as a management trainer I make my presentations entertaining, informative and thought provoking. A particularly memorable occasion for me was when I performed a two-hour version of one of my presentations at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1997.

Always very keen to help others to benefit from complexity I have worked with a wide variety of organisations delivering workshops and consultancy in complexity to first help them view their organisation differently and then enabling them to implement any required actions arising from this new view.

Since leaving Humberside TEC I am now working as an independent consultant indulging my passion for the subject of complexity and have established my own company trojanmice. As well as enabling organisations to introduce the principles of complexity I also act as an intermediary by translating the academic theory into business application.

I have written a number of articles on complexity, as well as also giving after-dinner speeches on the topic. I am currently working on the preparations for a book exploring my approach to complexity.


I can offer a wide range of services to help both you and your organization benefit from understanding the principles and application of complexity theory.

I will tailor whatever I do to the needs and context of your organisation.

The main services I can offer are:-

I offer various forms of consultancy,

Helping Organisations with Complexity

My main role is in helping organisations understand how the learnings from complexity theory can help them with running their organisation. This can take many forms from simple advice through top team coaching to full-blown change management.

Change Management

I offer an in house change programme entitled "The Thriving Organisation" which operates at all levels of the organisation by helping people reframe how they see the organisation so that they may bring about any necessary changes as they are needed. Click here for an outline of the programme.

Management Consultancy

I help organisations see themselves from a completely different perspective, and then help them identify and implement any changes (ie trojanmice) that they feel are appropriate from this new perspective.

The process usually involves a workshop lasting for a day or so with the senior management team and possibly with others if appropriate. This workshop is highly practical and participative, and it is tailored totally to the organisation concerned. This is then followed by a range of discussions to help, where applicable, initiate any changes that the participants wish to make.

The amount of time needed with an organisation is entirely in their hands and I can involve myself in the process to any degree as required. The process is not like Business Process Engineering, Total Quality Management or Management By Objectives etc. where there is a prescribed process to be followed. It is a simple, low tech, non-invasive set of discussions, which open up a range of hitherto unseen options and opportunities for the organisation and any resulting activity is that devised and chosen by the organisation itself. The aim is to identify and implement small changes that will bring about large effects.

'Fix it' Consultancy

Using the principles of complexity I will undertake specific projects aimed at solving problems or dealing with specific issues.

"An extra pair of hands with a completely different view"

I offer a wide range of workshops on complexity ranging from two hours to two days or more. I am just as at home with groups of people from different organisations as well as in-company events. The workshops are highly participative and are completely centred on the participants' organisations.

I offer mentoring and/or coaching to leaders and senior managers, particularly in the areas of how to reframe the issues they are dealing with and in the process of developing strategy based on complexity theory.

Although the basis of all my presentations is the practical application of complex adaptive systems to organisational form, I give them in many forms, sometimes not actually mentioning complexity at all.

My presentations range from between 5 minutes to 3 hours using many formats and tailoring the content to any audience or situation.  Some of my themes are:-

"The Emperors New Clothes"

I illustrate that we all unwittingly contribute to the second biggest 'con trick' in the world. Because we all know that plans, job descriptions, charts, budget etc. do not really work but we are all afraid to say so.

"The Ugly Duckling"

I maintain that the apparent mess that is around us in business because things are just not working out as expected is not really such an ugly duckling because when we look at the mess in a different way we are able to see that it is in fact a beautiful swan.

"There Must Be a Better Way"

This presentation is aimed at the world of education and explains how the principles of complexity are impacting on it. The presentation is based around the episode in Winnie the Pooh when he is coming downstairs on the back of his head.

The Application of Complexity Theory

This is a 'straight' presentation on complexity theory, its major characteristics and their implications for organizational form.

I offer a variety of after dinner speeches ranging from 10 minutes to 40 minutes, and from the serious to the light-hearted to suit the needs of the occasion. I make every attempt to tailor the event to the background of the audience.

I can be commissioned to write a wide range of articles on complexity. Click here for some examples.

I have an extensive network of contacts, particularly in connection with complexity theory and its related subjects. I am keen to help put people in touch with each other and to build successful connections.

I have a flexible scale of charges depending on the amount of work being sought and the nature of the organization. I will be happy to discuss these with you.

I do, however, like people to be clear about what they are buying and I am always pleased to give a free introductory session to an individual or group within an organisation.

Three years ago Warner-Lambert, now Pfizer, took a decision to establish a major new manufacturing facility in County Cork, Ireland - a country with a 4% unemployment rate. Our vision, in this extremely competitive labour market, was to establish a new way of working where EVERY employee would feel motivated to act as though they owned the business and, therefore, become fully engaged in the business. We wanted people to become so fully engaged, in fact, that they would have no desire to work anyplace else!

In order to make the vision a reality, it was essential for us to "step outside of the box" and challenge old dictates regarding organisation design. Peter Fryer was essential in our effort to reach our goal. Peter not only opened "the box" for us, he actually pushed us outside as well! With Peter's help, we very quickly came to understand that, rather than helping the business, traditional organisational mores actually place a straightjacket around the organisation, this ensuring a future of mediocre performance at best!

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. We brought our facility on-line, with full regulatory approval, faster than any company that I'm aware of has ever brought a major pharmaceutical plant on-line. Peter helped us to shed all of the traditional organisation baggage that, clearly, would have prevented us from achieving the kind of organisational agility required to successfully meet our aggressive timelines.

Lee Cross
General Manager, Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals

Common Purpose has engaged Peter Fryer as a key-note speaker on several occasions to ground participants on a broad theme of education. His input has always been proactive and stimulating. Peter challenges perceptions about the nature of learning in a way that is totally absorbing and thought provoking. His presentations are dynamic and inter-active, delivered in a style that effectively combines humour with authority in the subject. He skilfully blends anecdotes with theory in a way that is engaging and accessible. Peter is a natural orator and experienced communicator, equally at home in an academic environment as he is as an after dinner speaker.

David Burnby
Programme Director, Common Purpose

I have been exposed to Peter's fascinating and often challenging approaches to business organisation for many years now. He has stimulated my thinking in many different ways I have introduced many new approaches as a result. I have reformed the culture of my company and now regularly involve the workforce in all aspects of the business.
This has created an environment that is welcoming to new people and to new ideas and in which change is accepted as both normal and necessary. Improvement programmes have been much more effective because they have been supported by the many rather than the few.
Above all Peter's biggest contribution has been to give us back our belief in each other.

Tony Hailey, OBE
Managing Director, Swift Group

Investors in People: Presentation to the Somerset Recognised Employers' Forum

Notwithstanding the very positive and spontaneous response you received from the audience on 24th February, I must set on record our appreciation of your excellent input. It is quite clear from the evaluation forms that the vast majority of those present found your presentation to be thoroughly thought provoking. News about your input obviously got round to a number of those unable to attend and we have had to deal with a number of requests for your handouts.

Alex Kidd
Investors in People Manager, Somerset TEC

"Peter Fryer's work is like watching my favourite film. Every time I
watch it again I see or realise something new which was always there but
not brought to my attention, and I always wonder if it will happen next

Clive Hook


Paula Grant

I have lived and worked with complexity theory for several years. Initially at Humberside Training & Enterprise Council (TEC) which was run according to the principles of complexity. At the TEC I was a stalwart member of the Complexity Club and I also worked with a wide range of colleagues as a facilitator of 360-degree appraisals. My keen interest in personal development is also reflected by my participation in and delivery of a wide range of individual and small group development events both for Humberside TEC colleagues and its partner organisations. I have now joined trojanmice as an Independent Consultant. One of my key strengths is in the role of facilitator for large events, small workshops and one-to-one advice and guidance. In particular I specialise in business planning, facilitating and giving feedback on 360-degree appraisals. Working with individuals and small teams to assess the values of this type of appraisal and assisting with preparation and follow-up work to enable individuals and small teams to help themselves with their own future personal development.

Apart from working with complexity I offer a wide range of other consultancy services that are described on our sister site trojantactics.

•  Firstly, we will work collaboratively with you in everything we do. We will not do anything to you or your people, but we will help you learn how to help yourself so you will not become dependent on us (or anyone else).

•  Second, we will work transparently with you - no secrets or hidden agendas; no mystique or unnecessary jargon; just open communications designed to achieve high levels of ownership, involvement and self-responsibility.

•  Third, we will work as partners. In particular, we will work together to achieve results through effective application. We will not leave you to struggle in applying "learnings" to the real situation, and we will be there with you to help people move up their learning and experience curves.

•  Fourth, we will work with you holistically. That is, we will view your organisation, and its people, as an integrated whole. We will make sure that we help you deal with, and develop, the connections needed to make it all work smoothly.

•  Fifth, we will help you, and your people, to do the right things, and get the results demanded by your performance indicators, in a self-sustaining, and continuously improving, way.

•  Sixth, we will work with you to value differences and use them to discover new and effective approaches. We will be trusting and trustworthy. We expect to challenge you and to be challenged. We expect to support you and to be supported.

• Finally, we will not tell you what you want to hear - we will share with you what you need to hear. We will say what we mean and mean what we say. If we preach at all, we will only preach what we practice. We will ask you to appraise our performance openly; share your feedback; and help us to learn how best we can help you, because our approach will be tailor-made to your specific needs.

Either e-mail us or ring us at trojanmice on 01724 733303.

We live in North Lincolnshire but travel all over the UK and beyond and we are more than happy to call in for a chat next time we are down your way, just give us a call.

Holly House

33 North Street


North Lincs

DN15 9QL

Trojanmice Limited - Company Number 2671750
Registered in England and Wales
VAT No 764 4611 23