About Michael

Michael McDaniel is a highly prized designer, inventor, and visionary whose work has been recognized with numerous design awards, patents, and has been captured in a variety of publications. He brings over 18 years of experience across a range design disciplines from graphic design and branding to UX/UI design, architecture, product design, marketing, and new product strategies. Over the years, Michael has worked for and advised a large array of Fortune 500 clients, President Obama, major healthcare institutions and a variety of startups He often leads multidisciplinary teams to solve complex experiential, interaction, transportation, and products problems across a variety of industries.

Michael routinely speaks on the topic of design and innovation with multiple appearances at TED, PSFK, PopTech!, and Creative Mornings. He earned a B.F.A with an emphasis in graphic design from Mississippi State University and in 2006, the university named Michael an Alumni Fellow for the College of Architecture Art and Design.  

Michael was born and raised in Centreville, Mississippi. After beginning his design career in California, he now lives in Austin, Texas. He currently works as the Executive Director of Experience Design at McKinsey & Company. Prior to joining McKinsey, Michael worked for President Obama at the White House as part of the U.S. Digital Service. The Obama Administration found Michael via his startup, Reaction, who was focused on solutions to one of humanity’s most basic needs: shelter. He has also invented and created a new transportation system for Austin, Texas called The Wire. Prior to founding Reaction, Michael worked at the world renowned frog design as a Principal Designer. There he led diverse teams to solve complex experiential, interaction, transportation, and branding problems across a variety of industries. His broad skill set and thoughtful approach to design has led to very unique solutions for clients including MTV, Comcast, AT&T, American Airlines, Best Buy, HP, Sprint, and Disney.

Michael's design work has been featured in major design publications such as Fast Company, Print, Critique, Communication Arts, How, and Step Inside Design. Just this year, Fast Company named Michael as one of the Most Creative People in Business for 2016. His work has been published in several design books including Design Secrets: Layouts by Rodney Moore; Minimum Dwelling by Eduard Broto; and Get Backed by Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis.  MIchael's work on design teams for M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, has been recognized by several professional design organizations, including the Society of Environmental Graphic Designers (SEGD) and his redesign of the entire U.S. Interstate Highway System won top honors from the Cooper Union in 2006.

Michael's heart is truly in using meaningful design to help people in their daily lives. This goal is apparent from his development of systems to help patients around hospitals, to housing systems that aid communities following major disasters.



Inspired by the horrific conditions endured by the victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, designer Michael McDaniel founded Reaction, a company in Austin, Texas, that manufactures smart and lightweight emergency shelters.

With a completely fresh take on how to curb growing traffic problems, industrial designers and insatiable problem solvers, Michael McDaniel + Jared Ficklin thoughtfully propose the use of urban cable (like the gondolas you see in the mountains) as an effective, efficient part of a multi-prong mass transit solution.
Michael McDaniel designed housing for disaster relief zones - inexpensive, easy to transport, even beautiful - but found that no one was willing to build it. Persistent and obsessed, he decided to go it alone.
Michael McDaniel at CreativeMornings Austin. Join the conversation and learn more at http://creativemornings.com



Uplifted | 4.4.17

Michael McDaniel, the inventor of Exo shelters and founder of Reaction.


Fast Company  |  1.29.16
Meet The New Members Of The Most Creative People In Business Community


Uncrate  |  9.12.15


Wired  |  8.29.15
High-Tech Emergency Shelter Looks Straight Out of Star Wars


Fast Company  |  4.3.15
If Reaction Housing Wants to Provide Disaster Relief, It'll Have to Shelter Festival-Goers First


Fortune  |  3.4.15
This startup raised $10 million to make disaster relief smarter, cheaper, and safer


Yahoo! News  |  4.4.14
Coffee Cups inspire breakthrough in emergency shelters


Fast Company|  4.3.14
These brilliant disaster shelters were inspired by teepees and a coffee cup


Fortune  |  3.6.14
Reaction Housing raises $1.5 million to make cheap, reusable disaster relief shelters


TED.com  |  2.17.12
Cheap, effective shelter for disaster relief