The home improvement store chain Lowe’s was named #1 among Fast Company’s 2018 Most Innovative Companies, for augmented and virtual reality, as well as #1 for innovation among specialty retailers on Fortune’s 2018 World’s Most Admired Companies. How did a company in a dusty, old-hat industry (hardware stores) suddenly become known as an innovator?

As founder and executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, the company’s disruptive innovation hub, Kyle Nel was at the forefront of this dramatic business transformation. In this episode, Kyle joins us to share his story and discuss how the next level of storytelling — using unconventional tools like science fiction, graphic novels, applied neuroscience, and archetypes — can help you overcome human behavior barriers as you reinvent your company’s future. He shares tips to help you lead both small and large transformations in areas such as innovation, human resources, marketing, process improvement, business strategy, and more.

Kyle Nel is co-author of Leading Transformation: How to Take Charge of Your Company’s Future. He is the CEO and cofounder of Uncommon Partners, a consulting and training firm specializing in business transformation. Under his leadership, Lowe’s Innovation Labs has introduced projects including the Lowe’s Holoroom augmented and virtual reality design experience, the OSHbot autonomous retail service robot, and 3D scanning and printing services at retail. He has also cultivated a network of uncommon partnerships, such as that with Made in Space to send the first commercial 3-D printer to the International Space Station and launched a disruptive technology startup accelerator and incubator in Bangalore, India. Nel was recognized on the 2015 Advertising Age “40 under 40” list. He previously held positions in market research with Lowe’s and with the Walmart Global Insights Group. Nel has appeared on the Today Show and CNBC.

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