Moura Quayle

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not looking for graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows. Please do not contact the faculty member with any such requests.


Research Interests

Knowledge Exchange and Strategic Design
Policies and Public Services
Social Policies

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Research Methodology

Strategic Design

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Exploring the transformative potential of public sector innovation labs: assembling a cabinet of curiousities (2021)

There is a proliferation of Public Sector Innovation Labs (PSI labs) around the world, with estimates that more than 500 now exist. They are under-studied as a contemporary innovation construct, making them a potent area for study. The definition of a PSI lab is still contested, although they commonly describe their relationship with government, their topics of focus, and the techniques that they use. The goal or purpose of innovation pursued by these PSI labs is often not described, though most efforts tend to focus on finding efficiencies and improving services for users and tend to operate within dominant governance paradigms. In this dissertation I explore the potential for PSI labs to imagine and catalyze transformative and emergent version of innovation, working at the intersections of personal, organizational and systems scales.I use a critical qualitative research bricolage, pulling together methodologies that challenge Western ways of knowing, allow for multiple truths to coexist, and invite a researcher with an active role in the research questions. Participatory action research (PAR) and constructivist grounded theory (CGT) are the backbone research methodologies in this bricolage. Research is conducted with co-researchers from three different PSI lab action research sites in Canada, and through interviews with expert practitioners in Canada and Europe.This dissertation opens up a cabinet of curiousities, rather than proposing definitive conclusions. It is grounded in interdisciplinary theory and has an ambition to be useful and accessible for practitioners. One part of the cabinet offers up a framework to more strongly theorize the work of PSI labs. A second part describes systemic interventions to create stronger enabling conditions for transformative and emergent innovation. A third section focuses on building transformative innovation learning infrastructure and practices. A thread that connects each section considers ways that we might think about measuring and evaluating the impacts and outcomes of PSI labs. Together, this cabinet of curiousities offers researchers and practitioners a plurality of ways to think about a transformative and emergent approach to PSI, and also what PSI might need to become in this time of urgent and complex challenges facing the public sector.

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Co-designing a university-wide framework: structure, systems and services that support knowledge mobilization at UBC (2019)

Knowledge Mobilization or KMb aims to make university-generated knowledge more relevant and beneficial to a variety of decision makers. The topic of knowledge mobilization is central to discussions in academia, government and the general public because it is understood that effective knowledge mobilization practices have the potential to support positive social impacts. Deliberations about the opportunity and potential role for knowledge mobilization are active at The University of British Columbia, a global and highly intensive research institution that has been recently recognized as one of the world’s most innovative universities.This dissertation addresses an identified need for research: how to explore, design and develop a prospectus and framework for Knowledge Mobilization at The University of British Columbia. An overarching research question: How to co-design a university-wide framework: structure, systems and services that support Knowledge Mobilization at UBC served as a starting point and involved consultations with professors, students, staff and external stakeholders. The researcher applied the Strategic Design Method that is well suited to address multi-sectoral, complex problems such as knowledge mobilization systems. Phase one involved gathering data from UBC professors, students, and staff through studio sessions and interviews with the goal to understand the scope of several relevant KMb initiatives in UBC. This exploratory phase uncovered challenges experienced by UBC participants. They suggested that a university-wide framework that oversees and strengthens UBC’s capacity to improve KMb would be an asset. Phase two involved consulting with external stakeholders ranging from public servants, industry representatives and the general public. A second round of design sessions led to the co-design of a particular framework with specific components or themes: place, people, programs and services, and prospective research and systems. Phase three explored strengthening the co-designed framework through a planning logic model with the main components: brokering, training, leadership, research & development and support. The results of this research will support UBC and its efforts to develop the UBC Knowledge Exchange, and its overarching strategies oriented to strengthening UBC’s knowledge mobilization capacity and research competitiveness.

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Well-being, strategic design, transition, & policy : a case for the federal settlement platform (2019)

The importance of refugee well-being research is on the rise as increasing numbers of refugees are finding sanctuary in Vancouver. In 2015 and 2016, the federal Operation Syrian Refugee program oversaw the arrival of 25,000 refugees to 250 communities across Canada. In 2016 the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS of BC) investigated the well-being of these government-assisted refugees in A Roadmap to Integration and Citizenship. That study revealed that 30% refugee participants reported low well-being and were “sad” or “depressed”. As mental health services (e.g., counselling) are widely known to support well-being, the purpose of this interdisciplinary research was to investigate what formal and informal mental health services were offered to government-assisted refugee men, women, and families during the period of 2015-2016 in Vancouver. The study participants included key informants (public servants, mental health professionals, and settlement professionals) and data was collected using service journey maps and interviews. This study found that there were no formal settlement-informed mental health care services available to government-assisted refugees and very few informal mental health services. Thematic findings accompanied by quantitative frequency computational analysis revealed that improvements are needed for refugee mental health care. The four main needs for refugee mental health care are: (i) the need to be seen as a priority, (ii) the need to be provided to all [refugees], (iii) the need to be trauma and settlement-informed, and (iv) the need to be collaborative. Further analysis of the findings led to the development of the proposed policy recommendations for the Federal Settlement Platform (FSP). The intention for the development of this platform is for refugees, settlement agencies, and stakeholders to access one unifying web-experience to coordinate, coalesce, and organize not only mental health resources but all settlement-related information. Analysis of the data makes clear the necessity for the FSP by highlighting the consequences of a lack of refugee mental health services which are growing rates of cognitive disorders like depression.

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The case for design-mediated innovation pedagogy (2017)

Innovation is a key driver for growth and is considered critical to a sustainable economy. Across the globe, governments and industries continue to invest significantly in innovation-development activities with mixed results. In early 2016, the government of Canada published its innovation agenda in response to its mediocre innovation performance. It identified the lack of innovation-ready citizens as one critical action area and the need for Canadians to develop an innovative mindset. This dissertation investigates how a design method could improve understanding of the innovation process and increase individual and organizational innovative capacity. An interdisciplinary literature review provides insights into how the innovation process happens and helps define the competencies associated with innovative capacity or individual innovativeness. Findings from a document analysis and two action-research studies are translated into a visualization of the innovation process and a competencies framework for both classrooms and organizations. A design-mediated innovation pedagogy is proposed to develop key innovativeness competencies commonly associated with innovators. This pedagogical model suggests a shift from entrepreneurship to innovatorship education. My research contributes knowledge in understanding the ways in which individuals and their organizations learn to think, act and work in innovative ways. It offers implications for the application and future research of design-based innovation pedagogy models inside Canadian classrooms, business studios and global organizations.

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