Alexis Pala

Research Associate


I am a Research Associate at Y Lab.


I like to classify my practice as ‘design-informed anthropology’ blending participatory design principles with deep insights into people, culture and context. I have worked in a range of inter-disciplinary and international contexts supporting practitioners, people with lived-experience and public servants. The bulk of my methodological experience lay in co-creating alongside adults with intellectual disabilities and persons in situations of homelessness. 

Currently my research focuses broadly on problem framing, innovations in governance, and using participatory methods to facilitate more effective and meaningful forms of participation in public services. 



I support a variety of small projects in Y Lab 

  • Co-producing Sustainable Development through Rule of Law: a Lesotho Case Study 
  • The Spread of Good Practice/Innovation in Wales where I support a Welsh Government official to carryout research into the subject.  
  • Embedding a problem framing mindset in the public sector through the development of a board game! 


I also lead the Liberating Structures Cardiff meet-up: 

  • View the website here  
  • Learn about upcoming meet ups here  


I am a Member and Contributor for 

You can read my latest op-ed for Apolitical here which emphasises the importance of mindsets in innovation work. 


Other Apolitical readings:  

  • My work with Liberating Structures here 
  • My contribution to the The Public Servants' Guide to Better Meetings here

Outside of work

I love seeing new places and having new experiences, whether it's reading a book, going to a show / exhibition, escaping to a new place, wandering in a new area, or tasting food I've never had the chance to eat during my upbringing in Texas, USA.