Volterra Provides Creative Solutions
Changing economics is not just a matter of developing better theory, but of showing that new methods are of real value to decision makers
Paul Ormerod, Partner
Volterra aims to provide solutions to business and policy questions which are of direct use to policy makers in both the public and private sectors. We provide a range of decision support tools rather than standard, black box forecasts.
Our projects cover all sectors, from business viability to social policy effectiveness. We have special focuses on corporate modelling and decision support tools, development and planning, and health. We frequently provide expert evidence.
The principals of Volterra bring together substantial expertise in understanding practical business issues. The company was originally formed by Bridget Rosewell and Paul Ormerod who have over fifty years experience in building models, publishing forecasts and advising governments and business.
Bridget and Paul first met in the early 1980s, when Bridget was an Oxford academic. She organised the Labour Market economics seminar series at Oxford, and Paul gave a couple of papers. ‘I remember one was called ‘Rational and Non-rational Expectations in Wage Equations for the UK’, says Paul, ‘I was very keen on time series econometrics in those days. I also had natural Afro-style hair, so most things change’. The economic forecasting community in the UK is fairly close-knit, and they bumped into each other at events when Bridget had left Oxford to found Business Strategies and Paul had also left quasi-academic work to found the Henley Centre for Forecasting.
Both had become more and more sceptical of mainstream economics. An important reason for this was their practical experiences as consultants, which taught them that firms operate a completely different world from that of economic theory. ‘In theory, business is easy’, says Bridget, ‘but it rapidly became clear that in practice it is very hard. Firms face enormous uncertainties all the time’.
After selling their respective businesses, they began working together closely in 1998. ‘Changing economics is not just a matter of developing better theory’, Paul says, ‘but of showing that new methods are of real value to decision makers. So it is important to have practical examples. I can tend to focus on the more abstract, but Bridget keeps me on the straight and narrow’.
Increasingly, the vision which they had of developing innovative analytical approaches to replace mainstream economics is becoming shared by more and more people.
Volterra frequently collaborate with consultancies and academic partners on particular projects. Below are some of our recent associates.
Indepen is a management consultancy working with clients facing the challenge of regulation, deregulation, competition and restructuring. They help investors, boards and senior managers identify and assess political and regulatory risk and to develop and implement internal and external stategies to manage their exposure. Visit their website.
Synthesis is a think-tank devoted to using the emerging pradigm of complex networks in thye social sciences to tackle social and public policy concerns. Volterra’s Paul Ormerod is a director of the initiative. Visit their website.