Kyle Nel

Kyle Nel

SU Staff

Corporate Innovation

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Areas of Expertise

Corporate Innovation

About Kyle

Kyle Nel is the CEO and co-founder of Uncommon Partners, the behavioral transformation company. His passion for changing human behavior led him to create the multi-disciplinary behavioral transformation approach, which uses tools like narrative and applied neuroscience to help organizations break out of incrementalism.
Kyle also founded and previously served as Executive Director for Lowe’s Innovation Labs (LIL), the disruptive innovation hub for the Fortune 40 home improvement company. He created and led a team responsible for driving the company’s innovation vision, strategy and growth.
Under his leadership, Lowe’s Innovation Labs built a proprietary 3D content creation and asset management platform; augmented and virtual reality stores; virtual reality DIY skills clinics; the first autonomous retail service robots; soft robotic exosuits to deliver lift assistance for store employees; and 3D scanning and printing services at retail – and in space, where the first commercially-manufactured object off of the planet was a Lowe’s wrench that was modified for astronauts. He also built a disruptive technology lab and incubator in Bangalore, India.
Kyle helped create Neurons, Inc., an applied neuroscience company spun out of the Copenhagen Business School, and sits on the boards of other emerging tech companies. He is a faculty member focused on corporate innovation at Singularity University and a former member of the XPRIZE Foundation Innovation Board. He was recognized on the 2015 Advertising Age “40 under 40” list, and received the 2016 “People Shaping Retail’s Future” award from the National Retail Federation. He was also a founding member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (R)Tech Advisory Council.
He previously held positions in market research with Lowe’s and the Walmart Global Insights Group. He holds an MBA from the AC Nielsen Center for Marketing Research at the University of Wisconsin and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University-Idaho.

How Science Fiction is Shaping the Future of Retailing | Kyle Nel | TEDxUniversidaddeNavarra

Uncommon Partners | Kyle Nel | SU Global Summit

Leading Transformation | SingularityU Nordic Summit 2018

Speaking Topics

  • Bringing Science Fiction to Retail

    After decades of digital disruption, why are there still so few traditional retailers that have been able to adapt in the face of “retail armageddon?” A lot of companies realize they need to change, and throw technology at the wall to see what sticks. The problem with this is that people aren’t changing nearly as fast as technology, so we need to build intuitive tools that can change human behavior.
    Join this session to learn how the team from Lowe’s Innovation Labs introduced an innovation approach rooted in narrative and neuroscience that led the Fortune 50 retailer to build augmented and virtual reality stores, in-store autonomous robots, the first store in space, and exoskeletons for store employees.
    Length: (From 20 – 60 minutes, up to 2 hours, includes live neuro demo)

  • How Narrative is Driving Disruptive Innovation

    How many times have you given your leadership a presentation and received positive feedback, only to be frustrated by the lack of action? Our brains have an innate tendency to think linearly, which makes it difficult to get our organizations to change. Deciding what to work on, or not; and recruiting the internal and external partners to build a future vision is really hard, and requires an easy way of helping people understand the future.
    Join this session to learn how to effect change through story, starting with science fiction and working backwards to bring it to life.
    Length: (From 20 – 60 minutes, includes live neuro demo)

  • KPIs for Building the Future

    All people have core biases, patterns and traits that impact how we think about and act toward the future. From conceiving new ideas, to developing and introducing new products or experiences, there are many approaches to innovation that often overlook our most fundamental limitations: our brains. Ideas that are so new need new ways of defining and measuring success. Attendees will learn about KPIs that can be usefully applied to drive better and faster decision making. Content will focus on how to apply neuroscience to quantify something inherently qualitative, our unstated reactions to new technological experiences, including a live demonstration of how the brain reacts to new stimuli.

  • Leading Transformation

    For all the time and money invested in innovation, why are there so few success stories? A lot of companies realize they need to change, and throw technology at the wall to see what sticks. The problem is that people aren’t changing nearly as fast as technology, so we need intuitive tools that can change human behavior. Join this session to learn how the team from Lowe’s Innovation Labs introduced a behavioral transformation approach that made the Fortune 50 retailer into an innovation leader.

  • Making Practical Augmented and Virtual Reality

    From Oculus Rift to ARKit there is a lot of hype about augmented and virtual reality, but many are still waiting for the breakout application. One promising use case is design and home improvement, where visualization is a longstanding challenge. Attendees will learn case studies from Lowe’s Innovation Labs about the practical impact these technologies have today, and the implications for what comes next.
    Length: (From 20 – 60 minutes)

  • Real-World Robotics: Lessons from the Field

    From autonomous helpers to exosuits, robotics are a widely diverse field with far-reaching applications. Attendees will learn from early pioneers deploying robotics about how to separate hype from reality and the implications of bringing a robotic future to life, today.
    Length: (From 20 – 60 minutes)

  • Solving the Behavioral Transformation Problem

    For all the time and money invested in innovation within large organizations, why are there so few success stories? A lot of companies realize they need to change, and throw technology at the wall to see what sticks. The problem is that people aren’t changing nearly as fast as technology, so we need intuitive tools that can change human behavior.
    Join this session to learn how the team from Lowe’s Innovation Labs introduced a behavioral transformation approach rooted in narrative and neuroscience that led the Fortune 50 retailer to build augmented and virtual reality stores, in-store autonomous robots, the first store in space, and exoskeletons for store employees.
    Length: (From 20 – 60 minutes, up to 2 hours, includes live neuro demo)

  • The Impact of AI Today: The Future is not as Far Off as you Think

    How can we use machine learning and AI in a meaningful way? Attend this session to get a practical guide to AI, including the practical value that AI technologies are already creating today, and the implications for what comes next.
    Length: (From 20 – 60 minutes)

  • The Neuroscience of Innovation

    All people have core biases, patterns and traits that impact how we think about and act toward the future. From conceiving new ideas, to developing and introducing new products or experiences, there are many approaches to innovation that often overlook our most fundamental limitations: our brains. Attendees will learn how to apply neuroscience to quantify something inherently qualitative, our unstated reactions to new technological experiences.
    Length: (From 20 – 60 minutes, includes live neuro demo)

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