Pitch and Flow Event at the Kennedy Center [Events]

Pitch and Flow

By Jack Barnes

Far too often, the people working on the most promising solutions to the world’s biggest challenges are great builders, but not great storytellers. On Wednesday, September 13, Lowe’s Innovation Labs together with the U.S. Department of State supported “Unreasonable Goals” project will host Pitch & Flow, a hip-hop competition, at The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Family Theater. The event will feature eight socially conscious emcees paired with founders of social ventures to tell a compelling story of the social enterprise that is tackling the United

Nations’ “Global Goals” to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

Produced by Africa Creative Agency and supported promotionally by 202Creates, the competition will include some of the most promising emerging artists and special celebrity guests including hosts MC Lyte and DJ D-Nice, hip-hop icon Stretch Armstrong, respected social entrepreneur and investor Melissa Bradley and a performance by RocNation artist Young Paris.

During the live event the emcees will compete in three competition rounds where they share the issue each social venture is addressing, the solution they provide, and the impact they are making. The audience will vote along the way for their favorites, and special guest commentators will share feedback as emcees advance to the finalist round. A winning venture and emcee will emerge at the end of the evening and receive a grand prize. Throughout history, humans have relied on the power of story to inspire and guide change. Stories help people understand complex ideas because they show how everything comes

together. Pitch & Flow is an event created to tap the greatest poets and storytellers of today -hip-hop artists – to reach millions with innovative ideas to address global challenges. Their powerful stories will be used to persuade and drive action by showing what the future could be and the steps needed to get there.

“At Lowe’s Innovation Labs, we’ve found success using narrative as a tool to drive change in a meaningful way. With Pitch & Flow, we’re excited to tap into the storytelling talents of hip-hop artists to help social entrepreneurs tackling the world’s most audacious challenges amplify their efforts and spark action,” explains Kyle Nel, Executive Director, Lowe’s Innovation Labs.

In September 2015, world leaders from 193 countries came together at the UN and adopted a set of 17 sustainable development goals they called “The Global Goals,” to end the world’s biggest problems. Over the past two years, they’ve partnered with like-minded businesses, organizations and governments. In partnership with Lowe’s Innovation Labs, the Unreasonable Group developed Pitch & Flow to amplify the efforts of social ventures making an impact around the world through the art of compelling storytelling and music.


The pace of change is exponential, creating an imperative for organizations to set their own narrative for the future and be proactive about building long-term competitive advantage. Narrative-driven innovation helps organizations leverage the power of story to explore how technology will change the future lives of customers and employees. Lowe’s Innovation Labs is using this process to think broadly about potential applications for disruptive technologies, build an innovation roadmap and rapidly prototype new technology in real world, living labs.


Unreasonable Group’s mission is to drive resources to and breakdown barriers forentrepreneurs solving key global challenges (i.e. ensuring renewable energy reaches the 1.3 billion people currently without electricity, reimagining the future of healthcare, or addressing the global unemployment crisis). Through running worldwide accelerator programs, a globally oriented private equity fund, an extensive network of serial business leaders as mentors, and advanced storytelling and media activities, Unreasonable is designed to exclusively support entrepreneurs positioned to solve society’s toughest problems.

Unreasonable Goals is a partnership between governments, multinationals, and Unreasonable Group with the singular focus of accelerating the ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals put forth by the United Nations by leveraging market forces and supporting the most effective entrepreneurial solutions in the world.


Assembled by a team of esteemed and experienced entrepreneurs with international backgrounds and countless accomplishments throughout media, the firm serves as a conduit between entertainers and brands and the 54 countries comprising Africa. In addition, it provides a platform to elevate African performers and artists into the international spotlight following global best practices and experiences.

Building on intricate knowledge of the cultural landscape, the company ushers top brands into a new ecosystem, localizing them and introducing them to their next marketplace. By the same token, it breathes life into indigenous brands and significantly expands their reach and presence outside of the continent. Africa Creative Agency serves as the cultural and creative intersection between Africa and the rest of the world, providing strategy coupled with experience and relationships.


Greenlight Planet / Anish Thakkar: Developing and manufacturing solar products for people living off the electric grid, impacting over 20 million people in over 50 countries.

EcoPost / Lorna Rutto: Transforming plastic waste into a durable, eco-friendly, and 100% recycled lumber substitute with a longer lifespan than wood.

Edovo / Augie Torres: Decreasing recidivism by providing the 2.25M incarcerated adults in the U.S. daily access to educational and vocational programming via tablet technology.

Made In Space / Mike Snyder: Developing and Manufacturing solutions to commercial, industrial, research and defense challenges through leveraging the unique properties of the space environment.

Liberty & Justice / Chid Liberty: Africa’s first and leading Fair Trade Certified™ apparel manufacturing company, where 25% of the company’s directors are women.

One Earth Designs / Catlin Powers: Providing 100% solar-powered clean cook stoves for offgrid communities that get just as hot as a gas grill and heat up 5 times faster than charcoal.

Simpliphi Power / Catherine Von Burg: Designing and manufacturing safe, durable, efficient and scalable batteries for clean energy storage and management.

SunCulture / Samir Ibrahim: Creating solar-powered irrigation systems that make it cheaper and easier for farmers in East Africa to grow fresh produce and increase their profits.



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