At the Helm

Meet New IDSA Interim Executive Director Chris Livaudais

IDSA Interim Executive Director, Chris Livaudais
Feb 19 2018 - 11:58am


The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) has appointed a new interim executive director. On Jan. 2, 2018, Chris Livaudais—a designer and longtime member of IDSA—succeeded Daniel Martinage, CAE, who led the organization from 2012 to 2017. IDSA wishes Martinage all the best in his future endeavors and welcomes Livaudais to his new role.

Megan Neese, chair of IDSA’s Board of Directors, speaks on the transition. “Chris works in industrial design as many of us would classically define it—but also in high concept futures, experience, research and strategy. Because he’s based in San Francisco, he's also immersed in the technocentric culture of design in the Bay Area, where the role and skill set of a product designer is rapidly expanding. His roots are at Auburn University and in Atlanta—where he spent a decade making product/service experiences as an industrial designer and creative director. To him, all of this can co-exist and inform a sense of possibility and promise for the future of IDSA.”

To help celebrate the occasion and introduce Livaudais to the IDSA community, we sat down with him for a quick conversation about the future of IDSA and what he aims to accomplish as interim executive director.

IDSA: You’ve been a member of IDSA for a long time. What motivates you to step in now and lead the organization at this high level?

Livaudais: You could say the stars have finally aligned. I’ve dedicated a lot of personal and professional capital to IDSA over the past 15+ years—executing regional programming such as portfolio reviews, happy hours, District Design Conferences, and high school outreach programs. Through that, I’ve been both a member desiring more and a community leader working to deliver. This history provides me with great insight into how the Society can best position itself to remain relevant to new generations of designers while retaining and leveraging the knowledge of our veteran members.

I believe IDSA has a tremendous future ahead of it—led by the values and connections of our members. In this role, I can direct all of my energy towards working with design leaders across the country to ensure they have the tools and support needed to enrich their local design communities through events, outreach and advocacy.

​What changes can I expect as a member?

A lot! Some changes will be big and easily noticeable while a great many more will be within the details. They say the best designs are those that disappear into the background so we can focus on the experience at hand, right!? My approach is the same. I hope that regardless of the scale, the impact is significant and ultimately is reflected in the relationship our members have with the Society and with the design community at large.

Even though this is a year-long, interim role, I believe there is enough runway to succesfuly position the organisation for the next five, seven, 10 years and beyond. This includes filling the executive director role permanently, crafting strategic frameworks we can build against and bettering our ability to deliver the world-class membership experience our design community expects.

What can we get excited about?

First off, we've got to make it easier to get involved and be a member. We are implementing a new, state-of-the-art association management suite which will allow us to dramatically improve how we interface with members and non-members alike. This will make a massive and instant impact in your ability to renew membership, register for conferences, access members-only benefits and much more.

The team is also making incredible advances with two of our key programs, the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition and the International Design Conference. These both have a tremendous history in the organization and are crucial to our continued success year over year. IDEA in particular is going into its 38th year and remains a career-defining award for designers across the globe. So we’ve taken an open and honest look at how we can make improvements in both programs that will elevate each to new heights.

Great, thanks so much! The Society is thrilled to have you on board and we’re excited to see where 2018 will take IDSA.

Thank you! I'm looking forward to making things happen!