Shelton Davis, IDSA


Shelton Davis, IDSA
Founder, Empathy Lab
IDEA Jury Member 2021-22

Shelton Davis would rather hear your story than tell his. An experienced industrial and user experience designer, researcher, and team leader, he believes in our collective power to listen, understand, and create positive global change. After leading design at several start-ups (Chef, Operable, Terminus) and innovation labs (First Data and Nationwide Insurance), he recognized that something was missing: empathy support. 

In 2017, Shelton channeled 10+ years of human-centered innovation knowledge and his lifelong passion for personal connection into one huge group project: Empathy Lab. After a year of prototyping, testing, rinsing and repeating, he launched the first and only 10-skill training series designed to (re)condition our empathy muscles and empower collective success from the inside out. Inspired by Shelton’s own physical, mental, and emotional education as a competitive decathlete, the Empathy Decathlon is fully engaging, research-backed, refreshingly accessible, and 100% led by example. Shelton lives, hikes, drinks coffee, dances, and practices empathy daily in Atlanta, GA with his three greatest loves: his wife Laura, daughter Juliette, and son Grayson. 

He has obtained fancy pieces of paper from Trinity Preschool or Orange (Certificate of ABCs + 123s), Santa Ana Junior College (Associates in Psychology), University of Southern California (Bachelor's in Psychology), and Georgia Institute of Technology (Master's in Industrial Design). Shelton sharpened his design tools with The Usability and Accessibility Lab at Georgia Tech's Research Institute, EchoViz (with the incredible Michelle Berryman, FIDSA), MaxMedia Studios, Blackberry, Home Depot, Clover, and Carbon Motors, to name a few. From medical equipment and police vehicles to video games and developer tools, he's thoughtfully influenced research and design in many places.