New Lantern

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Welcome to the New Lantern blog. Our goal is to shine light on leading innovators and creative artists, and how your business can learn and profit from them. Companies large, medium, and small can benefit from employees who think more creatively. New Lantern may be just the source of inspiration your company needs to spark more innovative products, services, and processes.

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Monthly Archive for January, 2010

How Art is Helping in Haiti

Posted by on January 23, 2010 at 11:47 am

This past week, we all have been captivated by the horrific images from Haiti as a result of the recent earthquake. We’ve seen unimaginable loss of life, suffering, and massive destruction. It will take years for Haiti and its people to heal.

The toll will be particularly difficult on the surviving children of Haiti. As UNICEF Executive Director, Ann Veneman, noted earlier this week, many Haitian children have become separated from their families and caregivers, and face ”increased risks of malnutrition and disease, trafficking, sexual exploitation and serious emotional trauma.”

Yesterday, UNICEF reported that some young people in Haiti are using art to help cope with the devastation and trauma. Artists like 18-year old Bruno Rene are working with paint and papier-mâché to help express their feelings. Bruno and his classmates have been spending their days at the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Haiti to paint what they are seeing around them. “By night, they return to their displaced families.”

Organizers of the Haitian art program “hope the art activities will help students process some of the trauma they have experienced.” UNICEF has found that “these activities can provide a critically important support structure for children and young people in the wake of a disaster, when much of the world they knew before has been shattered.”

My heart goes out to the people of Haiti, and particularly its children. I applaud organizations like UNICEF, which seeks to ease the suffering of children in 190 countries. And, I applaud its use of art as a creative healing agent.

There are many worthy organizations to which you or your company can give to help Haiti in its unprecedented hour of need. One important way you can help is by giving to UNICEF.

I know Ann Veneman personally and her commitment to UNICEF, and its commitment to children. Click here to learn more and to donate.

Style With Elsa Klensch

Posted by on January 18, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Throughout the 1990s, I looked forward to Saturday mornings for two reasons. First, I could sleep late. Second, I enjoyed watching CNN’s weekly fashion show, “Style with Elsa Klensch,” which aired at 10:30 a.m. on the East Coast.

I’m still able to sleep a little later on Saturdays, but not since 2001 have I been able to watch my favorite Saturday morning show when Klensch and “Style” took their last bow on the runway.

I can still hear Klensch’s distinctive voice ringing in my head: “This is ‘Style’ and I’m Elsa Klensch reporting on the design worlds of fashion, beauty, and decorating,” she would proclaim at the top of every show. Then she proceeded to give the week’s highlights of design and fashion as if it were a weekly sports program — only with a lot more panache.

“Style” was the first of its kind. Long before the Fashion Channel,, and “Project Runway,” there was Elsa Klensch. She brought the latest fashions and their designers from the streets of Paris, Milan, and New York to Main Street – and the industry and the profession are still prospering from it.

Klensch came about her fashion fame the old fashion way, she earned it. She was born in Australia, and then later lived overseas in London and Hong Kong, before arriving in the United States. According to, Klensch worked as an editor at Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, W, and Harper’s Bazaar before joining CNN in New York City on its 1980 launch.

She also appeared as herself in a number of television shows and films, including Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter (1994), which chronicled the Paris fashion show scene.

I’m not sure where Ms. Klensch is today, but I did recently see her name on Facebook. (And yes, I admit it, I sent her a “friend” request). Where ever she is, I salute her on behalf of the thousands of women and men whom she undoubtedly inspired to go into fashion, take up a creative profession, or simply better appreciate design.

Klensch had a style all her own, which was the root of her success. There is a lesson here for individuals and private enterprises alike. Create your own style. Follow your passion. And, inspire others along the way. If so, success should soon follow.

(By the way, Ms. Klensch, if you are reading this blog could you please “accept” my friendship?)

The Art of Business Innovation

Posted by on January 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm

What exactly is business innovation? Is it a company’s ability to dream up a new and improved product? Is it a better way of doing business or providing services to your customers? Does it represent a more efficient and effective internal process within your company? Yes. Yes. And yes. All of the above.

To some, business innovation is a science – rational, methodical, and predictable. I prefer to see business innovation as more of an art – part science, but with a healthy dose of creativity and fearless ingenuity.

What is the genesis of the next best-selling car? It is a creative design team member, working on a white board or with clay, sculpting the outlines of the vehicle by hand, possibly mimicking the contours of another natural or man-made object that captures his or her imagination.

Then you bring in the engineers, the CAD team, the developers, and the focus groups to build out and test the proposition. But it starts with an idea, sparked by a creative moment by a talented employee.

How do I get one of those you might be asking? One of those creative employees who could be the ticket to your company’s next hot product or service? I’m guessing you already have more than one of these employees who are capable of such feats. Your challenge is to find and develop this talent.

Artists and innovators need the right stimulation. They need a suitable environment that promotes imaginative thought. And most importantly, they need a corporate culture that embraces, not discourages, new and original thinking.

Starting today, commit to a business innovation program that seeks to engage employees, managers, and executives in a new way. Shine light on those who show promise and inventive traits. Challenge them with provocative training and events that develop their talents. Cultivate the artist in them. Once you’re able to get this down to a science, you’ll likely be one step ahead of your competitors.

Get More Out of Your Corporate Events

Posted by on January 5, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Chances are your company will host a number of off-site or on-site meetings in 2010 aimed at driving corporate strategy development and execution; employee, manager, or executive training and development; or engagement with customers, partners or other individuals important to your business.

If this is the case, chances are also high that you’re not getting as much from these meetings or events as you could be. You probably continue to use the same meeting template year after year, and put it in the category, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It may not be “broke,” but ask yourself this question: Are your investments in these activities costing you more than they are giving back?

It’s time for some fresh thinking and a new template when it comes to your important corporate events and meetings. Attendees and participants should be provoked, engaged, challenged, and inspired. They should be exposed to leaders in their fields, as well as other high-value leaders and innovators. And, they should be put into environments and frames of mind that truly promote development and innovation.

For example, how about a quarterly “innovation” or “strategy” off-site meeting for 40 of your most promising mid-level managers from across the company? Host it in an offbeat and creative setting. Build the agenda around a relevant topic for your business. Bring in one or two inspiring thought leaders. Create some break-out group competition to drive meaningful meeting takeaways. Spotlight the best ideas. Top it off with an imaginative social component.

Create buzz around these events within your company so that other employees will want to attend future off-sites. This alone will give rise to higher personal performance, not to mention the idea generation that comes from the events themselves.

This is only one example. There’s many more where this came from. Let New Lantern help you get the most out of your corporate meetings and events in 2010.