Tony Quinlan is a leading expert in the effective use of narrative in complex environments, specialising in new techniques associated with mass narrative gathering and its application to decision-making in dynamic, difficult environments. Recent applications have included:
• Cultural awareness and mapping around radicalisation and terrorism • Exploration of how Latin American drug gangs gain traction with local youth, along with approaches to disrupt their influence • Understanding local-level attitudes to sanitation and water in rural Bangladesh • Crucial snapshots of countries at risk of dramatic change (e.g. Egypt 2010, Libya 2013)
He is a co-founder of the ground-breaking Children of the World project and has worked with thousands of micro-narratives to understand attitudes and perceptions around radicalisation, narco-culture and conflict resolution in South America, the Middle East, Asia and North Africa.
After a successful career as a communications consultant with organisations such as IBM, PA Consulting, UNICEF and Hewlett-Packard, he founded Narrate in 2000 to explore the opportunities and science that narrative presented. His work is informed by recent developments in cognitive neuroscience, particularly around decision-making; complexity and non-causal systems; and anthropology.
The key, he asserts, is to understand that once you understand the micro-narratives already in play, threats and opportunities become more apparent and actions and decisions become easier.