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In business, everyone is competing to develop the next big thing. You could have a billion dollar business idea. But without the proper execution, it’s not worth a cent.

According to an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey, companies typically realize only 60% of their strategy’s potential due to defects and breakdowns in planning and execution.

For that reason, more and more companies are developing innovation labs. For some, the motivation for developing these labs is going after new markets. For others, it’s the chance to learn, try and sometimes fail fast.

In an on-demand Microsoft Modern Workplace webcast, Kyle Nel, Executive Director of Lowe's Innovation Labs, talks about how futuristic innovation has propelled their business and offers key strategies for transforming ideas into action, including how to get buy in, get started, and measure to prove value.

He also talks about their organization's idea to hire science fiction writers to craft a probable story and outcome from their aspirational innovations. Think that’s strange? Think again. From automatic doors, to robots that learn, smartphones, earbuds (thank you, Ray Bradbury), virtual touchscreens (hat tip to Phillip K. Dick), a man on the moon…. they were all put to paper in science fiction stories before they became science fact.

Even debit cards were a science fiction future at one time. In author Edward Bellamy’s, Looking Backward, written in 1888, the protagonist falls asleep in 1887 and wakes up in 2000 to find cards are used as money. Proof that anything you imagine may someday be real.

Kel encourages a fearless way of businesses going after their own story, followed by a fascinating conversation with Stanford University professor and innovation expert, Dr. Hayagreeva "Huggy" Rao, co-author of Scaling Up Excellence, who also encourages going after innovation and failing fast if needed.

Rao also presents his views on management’s role in innovation, noting “too often top management thinks their job is to police innovation, to make sure resources are deployed appropriately, or to evangelize the cause of innovation.

“But my own view is the job of top management is to think of themselves as civil engineers. What do civil engineers do? They build ramps. They build bridges. They get people together. You actually have to provide as many ramps as possible for people to think through problems,” notes Rao, who provides in the episode his three tips for businesses who are looking to move forward faster.

This is a fast and fascinating thought leadership webcast for professionals looking for top tips and insights to face the future of business innovation. The episode is available on demand for viewing or sharing with teams.

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Watch the Modern Workplace Webcast


Incubators: Innovation is not enough; you must execute 

Watch this Microsoft Modern Workplace and learn how to think like an innovation lab while leveraging the wisdom of incubators.

Kyle Nel
Executive Director of Lowe's Innovation Labs
Learn how innovation has propelled their business and get strategies for transforming ideas into action.

Dr. Hayagreeva "Huggy" Rao
Innovation expert and Stanford University Professor

Discover how organizations of any size can innovate with greater success.

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