Informed by her executive career background, Angèle's research involves observing, experimenting and applying strategic design methods to organizations seeking socio-cultural and socio-economic sustainability. Her field research partners include Vancouver-based intermediary organizations that incubate ideas, broker knowledge and evolve technological inventions into business and social innovations.

Moura Quayle, Dr. Brian Fisher, and Dr. Francesco Duina
Research Description

My research involves the faculty of business, computer science and sociology. It aims to provide evidence of adopting a strategic design method for sustainable innovation practice inside a non-profit innovation intermediary. Intermediaries play a critical role in regional innovation ecosystems, however few studies can provide empirical evidence on their contribution to a firm’s capacity to learn, adapt and survive in evolving economies. My hypothesis is that adopting a design-centered method for business innovation will result in greater yield of ideas, improved decision-making processes, faster and efficient prototyping of new processes, products and services, and provide companies and regions with capabilities to engage in systemic growth. The field research will occur inside Vancouver-based British Columbia Technology Industry Association (BCTIA)’s Innovation Hub, a non-profit innovation intermediary. BCTIA directly supports the development, growth and advancement of new venture firms located in British Columbia by offering co-working spaces, educational programming, mentorship, and financial capital matchmaking services.

What does being a Public Scholar mean to you?

I am honoured to be part of the Public Scholar community at UBC. My graduate journey is a true reflection of this new Initiative. Over the past three years, I have been experimenting with innovation theories and methods, in collaboration with creative and cultural industries partners, governments and non-government organizations in British Columbia, Québec and Mexico.

In what ways do you think the PhD experience can be re-imagined with the Public Scholars Initiative?

This initiative is an exciting way forward for PhDs to engage directly with the participants and beneficiaries of their research. For practitioner-academics, this program fully supports the PhD graduate seeking to bridge the knowledge mobilization gap between private and public partners. For research-oriented PhDs, this program facilitates the sharing and engagement of academe’s rigourous research methods with non-academic organizations, ideally influencing the quality of the process and analysis of the findings.

How do you envision connecting your PhD work with broader career possibilities?

My PhD work connects to broad and diverse opportunities in academe, government and industry practice. My research methods experience could prepare me for innovation-related research positions across all sectors, my teaching and practice of strategic design methods for business innovation positions me well for professorships in business schools; my findings may inspire a new model for innovation intermediaries and thus offer positions inside NGOs.

How does your research engage with the larger community and social partners?

My research directly engages UBC’s innovation communities, municipal and provincial governments and Vancouver-based intermediary organizations in fostering sustainable learning cultures through collaborative design methods that directly impact their communities, sectors and regions.

How do you hope your work can make a contribution to the “public good”?

I am passionate about and fascinated by the notion of idea currency and innovation processes inside social institutions. My work seeks contribute an ‘open innovation method’ for entrepreneurs, business leaders and government agencies to rethink and redesign better processes, services and products to truly serve their communities, cities and regions. 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

My observations and direct experience as a practitioner inside the creative industries led me to reflect on my frustrations and challenges with socially-constructed systems, economic-driven leadership styles, and lack of strategic intelligence. A UBC research chair would ultimately encourage me to question my executive-level professional career path and pursue an academic journey to study organizational processes and systems that could better foster and design cultures of innovation.

Why did you choose to come to British Columbia and study at UBC?

UBC is the only university that offers a unique interdisciplinary graduate degree for individuals seeking to design and manage their personal scholarly pathways. As a Vancouver resident, UBC offered easy access to world-renowned teaching and research faculty, a variety of graduate courses and numerous grants and awards programs. 


My observations and direct experience as a practitioner inside the creative industries led me to reflect on my frustrations and challenges with socially-constructed systems, economic-driven leadership styles, and lack of strategic intelligence.