About Us

Canela Consulting design and implement research into messy human problems. We are based in The Hague and we operate globally.


Dr. Erin B. Taylor, Principal Consultant

Erin has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Sydney and specializes in investigating financial behaviour and technology use. She has been designing and carrying out research since 2003 in diverse contexts including Australia, Portugal, the Netherlands, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

She is the author of the book Materializing Poverty: How the Poor Transform Their Lives (2013, AltaMira) and dozens of other publications. Since July 2017 she has been consulting for Holland FinTech to assist companies to adjust to the changing financial ecosystem. Erin is also co-organizer of the Research section of the European Women in Payments Network.

Gawain Lynch, Strategy & Project Lead

Gawain specializes in assisting companies with research design, internal change processes and cross-industry collaborations. Gawain has been working in a research capacity since July 2011 when he began working as a technical advisor to university-based researchers. At Canela, one of his tasks is to carry out expert interviews on technical topics.

Gawain is the co-author of the Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit (2016, IMTFI), a guide to help the industry adapt to changing consumer behaviour, and Customer Engagement with Pensions: Global Best Practices (2018, Canela / Making Strategy Work).

Dr. Alexia Maddox, Research Associate

Alexia Maddox (PhD) is a digital sociologist specialising in the social impacts of the internet, online communities, social change and research methods. Through her consultancy practice and professional experience in the GLAM sector, she collaborates on post-occupancy space evaluations, innovation salons for interdisciplinary teams, social mapping of digital audiences, ethnographic engagement with digital communities and creative research practice, including interactive installations, to playfully engage people with the social problems of our times.

Her current research into digital frontiers includes a study of the socio-technical innovations of cryptography, such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain; the social construction of machine learning and AI; and the applications of AI and machine learning to 3D modelling of social change processes.

Dr. Melanie Uy, Research Associate

Dr. Melanie T. Uy is a user researcher and service designer with twelve years of experience. From 2009 until 2011 she ran a research and design consultancy, Artefact, consulting with clients such as FERN-C, an MLM health distribution company. In 2012 Melanie relocated to the Netherlands, where she continued to work as a freelancer on research and user experience projects, including profiling the home conditions of elderly patients and their caretakers for Care@Home of TUDelft.

In 2018 Melanie defended her PhD at the Vrije University Amsterdam. Her thesis examined the consequences of work and social fragmentation for SMEs and work processes in the education migration industry in China. Her present side projects include studying blockchain and working on technological interventions for vulnerable digital activists with The Hague Projects.

Dr. Whitney Easton, Research Associate

Whitney Easton (PhD) is a practicing anthropologist and professor with interests in the anthropology of food and agriculture, economic anthropology, solidarity and alternative economies, migration, and sustainability. She has conducted ethnographic field research on agricultural change, farming livelihoods, and tourism in Italy along with cultural analysis for a range of corporate clients. In her academic and applied work, Whitney is drawn to applying anthropological insight to global issues of sustainability and social justice.

Recent publications

Financial Technology and the Gender Gap: Designing & Delivering Services for Women, by Erin B. Taylor and Gawain Lynch. In Women, Consumption and Paradox: Towards A More Humanistic Approach to Consumption. Edited by Timothy de Waal and Maryann McCabe. Routledge (forthcoming 2019).

A Living Fence: Mobility and Financial Inclusion on the Haitian-Dominican Border, by Erin B. Taylor and Heather Horst. In Money at the Margins: Global Perspectives on Technology, Financial Inclusion and Design, edited by Bill Maurer, Smoki Musaraj and Ivan Small. Berghahn Books (2018).

Customer Engagement with Pensions: Global Best Practices, by Erin B. Taylor, Gawain Lynch and Stephan Linnenbank. Canela Consulting / Making Strategy Work (2018).

Designing Financial Literacy in Haiti, by Erin B. Taylor and Heather Horst. In Design Anthropology: Object Cultures in Transition, edited by Alison J. Clarke. Springer (2017).

Money in a Mobile Age: Emerging Trends in Consumers’ Financial Practices, by Erin B. Taylor. Community Development Investment Centre, Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Working Paper 2017-03.

Consumer Finance Research Methods Toolkit, by Erin B. Taylor and Gawain Lynch. IMTFI, University of California Irvine (2016).

The Aesthetics of Mobile Money Platforms in Haiti, by Erin B. Taylor and Heather Horst. In Routledge Companion to Mobile Media, edited by G. Goggin and L. Hjorth, pp.462-471. Oxon and New York: Routledge (2014).

Consumer Finance in a Mobile Age: Methods for Researching Changing User Behaviour, by Erin B. Taylor. EPIC: Perspectives: 197-215 (2017).

Materializing Poverty: How the Poor Transform their Lives, by Erin B. Taylor. Lanham, MD: AltaMira (2013).

From Street to Satellite: Mixing Methods to Understand Mobile Money Users, by Erin B. Taylor and Heather Horst. EPIC Conference Proceedings: 63-77 (2013).

Mobile Banking in Haiti: Possibilities and Challenges, by Erin B. Taylor, Espelencia Baptiste and Heather Horst. IMTFI, University of California Irvine (2011).

Haitian Monetary Ecologies and Repertoires: A Qualitative Snapshot of Money Transfer and Savings, by Espelencia Baptiste, Erin B. Taylor and Heather Horst. IMTFI, University of California Irvine (2010).

Recent presentations

Local Innovators Changing the Superannuation Landscape - Intersekt Conference, Melbourne (31 November 2018), moderated by Erin B. Taylor.

Women in Payments Research - European Women in Payments Network Conference, Amsterdam (16 October 2018), Erin B. Taylor (panelist).

GDPR for Web Developers - SymfonyLive London (28 September 2018), by Gawain Lynch and Erin B. Taylor.

The Social Science of Superannuation - CSIRO Risk Lab, Melbourne (22 August 2018), public talk by Erin B. Taylor.

Culture, it’s Complex: Leveraging Ethnography in Consulting - Xebia, Amsterdam (1 May 2018), industry talk by Gawain Lynch and Erin B. Taylor.

Adapting Methods to Understand Financial Behaviour: Lessons from Haiti - UX Insights, Utrecht (8 March 2018), public talk by Erin B. Taylor.

Innovation Through Social Science - The Human Show, Episode 10 (30 April 2018), podcast of interview with Erin B. Taylor.

Consumer Finance in a Mobile Age: Methods for Researching Changing User Behaviour - EPIC Conference (19 October 2017), talk by Erin B. Taylor.

Fintech: Shifting Market Conditions, Shifting Business Models - Amsterdam Business School (27 November 2017), lecture by Erin B. Taylor.