We had the good fortune of connecting with Joan Gregor and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Joan, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The ability to be on the leading edge while always keeping people and the key objectives of the client as the focus. We work in many different industries allowing us to apply diverse perspectives, technology, methods and processes for more innovative results while reducing risk. We use our “Power of Collect Thought” TM global network to bring on the right talent for each particular project.   

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started the business with the mindset not to be just another design consultancy but to bring organizations to a higher level through our human-centered perspective. We approach every project with the intent to mentor and build capability within the internal teams. We cross silos and disciplines developing a creative culture. We also generate more innovative results through different perspectives and where feasible, intersecting Academia for their theory and research, Business Professionals for their practitioner expertise, and Organizations for their advocacy and knowledge in key sectors. I learned that it is not easy to push the boundaries within companies and it takes real drive to have people feel comfortable with ambiguity and trusting the process that they will get there in the end. I have two strong beliefs: One is that Humanistic Businesses Create Humanistic Solutions. Focus internally on staff to increase collaboration and creativity and externally to make sure that you are solving the right problem. The other is Business is Better When Connected through Design. Designers are collaborators and translators. It doesn’t matter if it is a process, product, experience or service you are developing. They put together patterns and synthesize perspectives. So many times we see companies excluding them from the process.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Sunset Cliffs for its’ beauty and serenity. Lunch at the Glider Port – nothing like seeing the magic of people flying through the air while sitting in a beautiful setting on the Torrey Pines Cliffs listening to music and seeing the kids and dogs have a great time. A guided tour of the Salk Institute – designed by the Architect Louis Kahn and named after Jonas Salk. You just feel the knowledge coming through the walls while in a serene setting. The building is a purity of function with an omen to nature. Visit Bella Vista Cafe across the street afterwards to grab lunch, a drink and chat with the owner Amanda, the scientists and researchers from the University and the Stem Cell Center.  First Fridays at Liberty Station – the Art District comes alive the 1st Friday of every month. Visit the Women’s Museum, Visions Art Museum, and vote for your favorite art piece at the water color society. Take some time to talk with the artists while they work in their galleries and then grab some dinner at the Liberty Public Market. LaPlaya Trail in Point Loma – this short path along the bay and Kellogs beach never gets old as it changes with the seasons. Great to visit on weekends when the boats anchor in the bay and the paddleboarders enjoy the water with dogs onboard. Stop at the tree swing and look up to see the nests of the blue herons.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Chuck Pelly, Chief Creative Officer at Intersection-Inc. Chuck is a creative visionary always looking at new possibilities. He pushes me to new dimensions. Jack Halloran, Peabody Office Furniture. Taught me the importance of mentorship and inclusive leadership.

Website: www.thedesignacademy.com and www.intersection-inc.com
Instagram: instagram.com/thedesignacademy and instagram.com/intersection-inc
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/intersection-inc and https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-design-academy-inc
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Design-Academy-1412263498853610 and https://www.facebook.com/IntersectionInc
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFGZA5elB5r-_vhewlZfPmg/videos
Other: https://www.intersection-inc.com/blog-human-centered-design

Image Credits
Kison Tanabe

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