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Business and Economy

Cal Poly Experience Innovation Lab Receives $500,000 Donation from George P. Johnson

Written By AnnMarie Cornejo

The future of experience marketing and design is in expert hands as the world’s leading experiential marketing agency — George P. Johnson, part of the Project Worldwide agency network — pledged $500,000 to the development of an experiential learning lab at Cal Poly.

The Experience Innovation Lab will be both a research and creative space to design immersive personal, technological, and digital experiences in collaboration with industry partners and GPJ clients. It will engage students in invaluable, real-world experience design and marketing — all part of the Learn by Doing philosophy at the university.

“Cal Poly’s hands-on educational model provides the perfect environment for students, faculty and industry partners to come together in the new Experience Innovation Lab to dream and create,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said. “We are grateful for George P. Johnson’s support of Learn by Doing at Cal Poly.”

The Experience Innovation Lab, a place for burgeoning experiential marketing leaders and experience designers to grow and innovate, will be part of the Boswell Ag Tech Center, which is included in the $125 million William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation, now under construction.

Led by the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences’ pioneering Experience Industry Management Department, the Experience Innovation Lab will emphasize an interdisciplinary approach utilizing faculty and student expertise across campus to include experience industry management, architecture, computer science, engineering, food science, wine, marketing, graphic design, and theater, among other disciplines.

Teams of faculty and students will work with industry partners including GPJ executives to solve the experience industry’s complex needs and to anticipate disruptors within the event, travel, hospitality, sport, recreation and experience marketing and design space.

“George P. Johnson’s partnership with Cal Poly provides students with national and international opportunities and experiences,” said Andrew Thulin, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “This donation will ensure that students have access to the latest in experience marketing and design — including some of the brightest talents in the industry — and are prepared to meet the demands of the growing industry immediately upon graduation.”

In addition to GPJ’s financial investment in the development of the facility, the agency is also tapping members of its senior leadership team to lend their expertise to the design and development of the lab, acting as mentors and contributors to the programming and use of the space.

On GPJ’s investment in the education of future experience marketers, CEO Chris Meyer stated, “GPJ has been the leader in experiential marketing for over a century. As this industry develops and its prominence within the general marketing sphere continues to grow, it’s imperative that we invest our resources into future pioneers that will continue to advance the space. Higher learning centers allow for a safe testing ground for students to try out their wildest ideas, building the pipeline of innovators to come. Having been ingrained in this work for decades, GPJ is able to offer unique perspectives and insights to truly make this a state-of-the-art learning experience that will foster the future leadership of our industry.”