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Solving Complex Challenges. Taught by practicing professionals

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Empathy has Reached the C-Suite

Sr. Management recognizes the power of empathy in humanizing technology and creating exceptional customer experiences.

A Fortune 500 company had a company-wide mandate from their CEO to “Make Delighting Consumers our Business”.  As part of this initiative, the Marketing Group surveyed their team and discovered the need to strengthen their ‘empathy muscle’ by evolving their way of thinking. 

The core project Insights and Design teams contracted The Design Academy, Intersection-Inc’s education collaboratory as external experts to provide content, curriculum planning support, feedback and coaching for approximately 190 Brand, Innovation and Insights staff.  


  • Strengthen their empathy muscle to more deeply connect with consumers / human beings

  • Inspire the team into action and sustainability for using “empathy / empathy tools”

  • Shift mindset and improve team collaboration

  • Ultimately lead to a Brand strategy output (framework, template, consumer profile, etc.) for each brand team


National University and the Campus Experience

National University System (NUS), a non-profit higher education provider based out of San Diego, engaged both internal and external stakeholders through Human-Centered Design. Serving nontraditional students, NUS offers its curriculums both on ground and online. Adult- learners attend nearly 30 campuses across multiple states within the System. While the industry focuses heavily on online learning technologies, NUS was also revisiting the on ground adult-student experience.










The System wide project kicked-off with internal staff training and exploratory collaboratories. Students, faculty, alumni and alternate campus users were engaged through various qualitative research approaches and applied Design Thinking tools throughout the project. 

The Design Academy, Intersection’s education collaboratory, mentored NUS internal staff over a six-month period to ensure authentic, quality HCD project outcomes. Previous organizational high-risk assumptions about user wants and needs were disproved through the deep qualitative research, and new insights emerged around student expectations. Potential for modern, collaborative, previously unintended uses, were validated by stakeholders that extended beyond traditional campus-goers. The final proposed design was a holistic response to evolving adult-learner needs and an implementable vision for an innovative, nontraditional, student-centered campus design. 


Customer Co-Creation Lab


Intersections helps its clients get “Closer to the customer” to deliver optimal solutions to the real “problems.”

Intersection's ethnography and co-creation methodologies are helping our clients' businesses deliver customer centric solutions and embed sustainable product development processes for the future.  We work closely with internal, multi-disciplined client teams from the energy sector that are often highly engineering and technology driven to enable them to transition to a more user experience focus, while providing them with tools and support to embed design and adopt sustainable / scalable processes.


Intersection provides training and mentoring for immersive ethnography along with other proven research methodologies to help our business to business clients understand how they can utilize design and design tools to deliver better products, services, UI and support to their current and future customers.  We help our clients go deeper into building customer centric relationships and mining for insights through facilitated co-creation sessions designed to explore the results of prior research combined with the rich knowledge of customer participants.  We are finding that internal understanding of opportunities for improvement or new offerings are often not adequately aligned with the customer's needs or desires.  Utilizing ethnography and co-creation methodologies helps ensure that project teams will have critical customer validation before embarking on expensive new product development programs.  It is our goal and passion to provide our clients with effective methodologies to help them solve the right problems with the right solutions and to enable them to strengthen and grow their brands through the successful integration of design and the delivery of superior user experiences.  



Port of San Diego - People-Centered Design


“It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State of California to develop the harbors and ports of this State for multiple purpose use for the benefit of The People”

- Section 2, Port Act. 

Core to their purpose, The Port puts People at the center of their process. To support this mission the Port saw the value and need to integrate People-Centered Design into their culture. Integrating relevant problem solving methodologies with their existing internal processes can help better serve their customers, internal stakeholders and “The People of The Port”. 

The Design Academy, Intersection-Inc’s educational collaboratory, trained multi-disciplined staff, from middle to senior management on their proven people-centered design tools and principles. The intent was to begin to integrate systems thinking, identify core/root causes of problems, and create “out of the box solutions” that can drive paradigm shifts and allow The Port to more effectively respond to stakeholder and customer needs. The Design Academy worked closely with the Innovation User Experience and Research team to align with current programs, tailor the training curriculum to their strategic objectives, as well to their internal process and nomenclature.

The training was a practical and hands-on engagement with a focus on learning-by-doing. With a dynamic mix of short presentations and hands-on activities. The Design Academy provided the Port employees with a flexible framework for incorporating the discipline of People-Centered Design into their own internal processes. 


Service Design / eCommerce Lab


Intersection helps GE in Understanding what Really Matters to Channel Partners

Service Design


Intersection worked closely with GE's IT eCommerce team to engage a cross section of key channel partners, to test hypotheses and determine what features / functionalities they would want in an eProcurement tool. The work uncovered and translated critical insights that enabled the team to develop an MVP that will better support the Channel Partners and make it easier to do business with GE.


Better by Design


Better by Design team was established to help New Zealand businesses become more design capable by establishing programs that assist companies in increasing their exports and profits through the better use of design in their products and services.


The program was publicly kicked off in March 2005 at the Better by Design conference in Auckland for which Chuck Pelly was a speaker.


Intersection / The Design Academy developed a "Masterclass"; educational workshops consisting of design leaders from NZ's top export companies aimed to increase their intellectual capital, design knowledge, leverage its' value and enhance peer to peer interaction.


Design management topics included:

• Leveraging the Value of Design through Design Metrics

• Expanding beyond the corporate walls 

• Attracting, Motivating and Retaining Talent


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