The Lowe's Difference: My Thoughts From Their Leadership Summit

The Lowe's Difference:

I had the honor of participating in the Lowe’s Leadership Summit.

It all began a story.  And a packed room of amazing women leaders from throughout the world.


Here’s what I took away!

  1. Lowe’s Women’s Diversity is Strong. Did you know when they send the note out about the Women’s Leadership meeting, it would fill up in less than one hour?   They expanded the room this year, and added more people from Canada, India, and beyond.   They mean business. They are amazing women!
  2. Leadership matters. Robert Niblock, their CEO, stayed the entire meeting.  He didn’t sneak away for calls or meetings and truly participated.   Women’s leadership at Lowe’s is important to him.   Jennifer Weber, the CHRO, of Lowe’s led the meeting and participated the entire time.   This participation showed me that Lowe’s knows that diversity matters.   It is not just a nice to have.

img_73653.  Inspirational Takeaways from Amy Cuddy, Alison Levine and Kristan Seaford

  • Success isn’t always about going up, sometimes it goes up, down and sideways – embrace and learn – Alison Levine
  • Hope can change lives and business – Never give up – Kristan Seaford


  • Feedback is free. Growth is optional.   Anna Marie Chavez
  • The Power Pose is backed up with real data. Make the change – Amy Cuddy


4.   Startups + Enterprise = Innovation and it is alive and well at Lowe’s. Lowe’s Innovation Lab’s is all about disruptive technologies, including shipping a 3D printer to the International Space Station to help astronauts print parts and tools on demand. They also developed the Holoroom, a VR headset to help shoppers visualize bathroom and kitchen improvements. The Woman of Lowe’s have phenomenal ideas that can help innovate Lowe’s into the next generation.


5.  Have common values and goals. The key to making any relationship work is to have a common vision as the foundation. The entire day was based on the value based structure of Lowe’s.

  1. Be a part of something bigger
  2. Make a difference in somebody’s life every day
  3. Listen intently, sense and respond
  4. Be who we say we are
  5. Give your best always

My Summary

My favorite quote is “Tell me the facts and I’ll believe, but tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever!”.   This Summit for Leadership and Innovation was a set of stories that will live in my heart forever.  From Jennifer’s opening, to Robert – the CEO – stories about each of the values, this conference was a driver to more innovative approaches through diversity of thought.

Three Cultures of Innovation

I just moved from NYC to San Francisco.  I was preparing a blog on some of the differences that I have seen but I listened to Meetup speaker and he showed this graphic! Interesting!

left coast

CNBC Top 50 Disruptors - Of the Top 20, 25% are Social

top diruptorsI love disruptors.   I love innovation and creative thinking.

So the CNBC Top 50 Disruptors was interesting.   (read the full story here 

I found it interested that ALL these companies are either based on Cloud, Social, Mobile, or Analytics.   All are based CAMS!

And of the Top 20, 25% are Social Business oriented.

Whose your favorite?  And what's your biggest AHA on the list?


90% Of Companies don't have an Innovation Culture

I was just out in Silicon Valley on a panel on intrapreneurship. As prep, I read that over the last 50 years the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has dropped from 61 years to 18 years (and is forecast to grow even shorter in the future).

Most of the articles said the failures were due to companies not keeping their innovative cultures.  In fact, Brandon Kelly, stated that 90% of organizations have no sustained commitment to innovation.

A great counter example to this is Telsa who today is opening its patents up to the industry to accelerate electric vehicle development. Innovation accelerates forward.

What is Innovation?   The classic definitions of innovation include:

So how can we embed innovation into a company's culture?

Innovation is strongly correlated with value creation and is a key factor in financial outperformance. However, only 25% of organizations are good at generating and converting innovations.  These companies align innovation goals with business strategy.

Their efforts support the appropriate mix of product, operational and business model innovation that enables them to effectively grow and compete. And, their innovation activities are managed in a transparent program.

Organizations that strategize and manage innovation in a collaborative, open and continuous manner create a source of competitive advantage and economic benefit. Collaboration includes seamlessly engaging all employees in the innovation process and securely including external business partners and customers.

The top ten most innovative companies had two-year compound annual growth rates of 60 percent more than the overall Standard and Poors Global 1200.  For these companies, innovation is much more than a “big idea.”

Innovation is an ongoing process of creating value from something new, such as new ideas, new technologies, new products or new processes. For example, 75 percent of successful companies rely on social networks to vet new ideas for success.

They use them for:

  • Openly communicating strategy
  • Openly generating and prioritizing non-traditional ideas for new products and services 
  • Innovating operations by teaming with external specialists & business partner
  • Innovating business models by combining emerging technologies with biz imperatives to redefine value

Future innovation will be conducted in more open environments and CEOs interviewed for the IBM Global CEO study supported this point.  The Innovation Social Business Pattern is designed to increase innovation by providing a wider reach of ideas and to help organizations increase the success and speed of bringing innovation to market.

Primary business processes

The primary business processes for this pattern include research and development, product and service management, business strategy and operations transformation.

Key stakeholders

The key stakeholders are research and development, product development, line of business executives, CMOs, CIOs and CTOs.

Recommended actions

Some specific actions are:

  • Deploy collaboration tools for more open communication and to guide innovation toward delivering the type of value desired, such as product versus business model
  • Engage the crowd both internal and external to vet new ideas.


  • Deploy a portal that combines content, social and advanced mobile features to provide an exceptional digital experience for customers, partners, and employees while managing access by role.
  • Deploy social gamification and social influence reward techniques

How does your company drive Innovation?




Social Trend #3: Innovation is accelerated in Culture through ideation & predictive

Happy Monday!  Social Business Trends are shaking the world and today's Social Coffee Break is about our third trend.

Innovation must be part of a corporation's culture.   Things are moving so fast those who can change and adapt will be most competitive.   In today's Social world, innovation is accelerated through social.   See how ideation (crowdsourcing) and predictive capability (analytics) accelerate innovation in corporations!