John McCabe, IDSA

John McCabe, IDSA
Co-Founder 
Aether

John McCabe, IDSA, recently co-founded Aether, a non-profit educational think tank that creates transformational experiences to build empathic creatives and develop strategic leadership. Previously, MCabe served as the program coordinator for the user experience design, service design and design for sustainability programs at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

As a mentor and professor he facilitated more than 30 collaborative projects with Fortune 500’s  Gulfstream, Google, TTI, Remington, Fossil, HP, Chick-Fil-A, Dell, AT&T, BMW, Disney, P&G and many others—providing him with the insight to create a unique, dynamic and effective client-sponsored project process. He has had the privilege to implement it through non-typical student experiences and managed those integrated cross-disciplinary design teams through off-campus study-abroad experiences to 17+ countries around the world.

McCabe’s design career began while at Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction. After years of working in the architectural field, he returned to the highly regarded design program at Auburn to earn additional degrees in environmental design and industrial design.

After teaching at Auburn, he later transitioned to SCAD where he became a professor and coordinator for programs within the internationally recognized School of Design. He worked on many projects that were selected for international design awards, published for his leadership in and out of the classroom and developed some of the most advanced curriculum currently in the industry.

The ripple effects of one of Aether’s platforms, SHiFT, can be felt all across the world. The international community of students and professionals that attend the camps are not only changing each other’s lives, but taking home the lateral thinking methodologies they learned, the desire for positive global change, and the power of empathy.


Statement of Candidacy

Now is when we need to come together as a community. Not professionals. Not students. But a community of designers. We should be helping each other create culture, stay relevant, and prepare for the future. The blurring of where physical, digital and service design begins and ends is a part of our current landscape. As an organization need to capitalize on this opportunity to engage one another to create positive change in our industry and communities.

Design has changed, and this means designers are popping up in places we have never seen them before. We need to identify future skills, nurture industry opportunities and create regional strategies that will propel our part of the country to be more successful and resilient. Let’s work together to develop a plan of action that aligns with who we are and what the South District wants to be known for. It will become what we make it. Let’s lead the way and do it together!

I have been active in IDSA for as long as I have been learning what it means to be a designer. I was a student chapter VP while at Auburn University, a chapter faculty advisor during my time at SCAD. In 2016, I was recognized as Young Educator of the Year by IDSA, was a Southern District Chapter Representative, and on multiple occasions won IDEAs. I annually attend regional IDSA conferences and every international conference. I have stood on the stage and presented my opinions to you; I have laughed with you at the late night after-parties, and I have carried the banner of IDSA while attending other international conferences and workshops. I have been around enough to know what works and what needs some help. Between what I have learned while engaging with IDSA and what I experience with other international organizations, I know that together we can create a robust regional presence and help IDSA stay relevant to every level of designer.