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 September, 2011

Boeing’s Dreamliner is No Longer a Dream

Posted by on September 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm

After three years of delays, Boeing finally delivered its first 787 Dreamliner this past Sunday to its very patient customer, Japan’s Nippon Airways.

The Boeing Dreamliner is probably the most innovative aircraft in the company’s history. It successfully blends design, function, and energy efficiency. The Dreamliner’s lightweight carbon fiber design and use of new plastic-composites translate into a 20 percent fuel savings. Inside the cabin, there is more headroom and larger stow bins, dynamic LED lighting, and larger windows that can be dimmed electronically.

The accolades for the Boeing Dreamliner are already pouring in. Yesterday, it received “Best in Show” at the 2011 annual conference for the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) in New Orleans.

But these awards can’t top its most important measure of success. Boeing has already received 800 orders for the Dreamliner valued at $164 billion, making it “one of the most successful commercial airplane launches” in history.

So it appears that the wait was worth it for Boeing.

Your company may be in the process of dreaming up your next best product or service. You too may struggle with delivery delays, glitches, and unexpected turbulence along the way.

Yet, it’s vitally important to push your team to improve upon what already has made your company successful.

Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck on the Tarmac wishing you had a better flight plan.

When in Rome

Posted by on September 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I was recently in Rome where I toured the artistic creations of the 173-year-old marble floor company, Ditta Medici.

Located on Via dei Papareschi not far from the Tiber, Ditta Medici has been designing and restoring marble floors for some of the most discriminating clients on the globe since 1838. Clients have included the Vatican, Westminster Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Getty Museum, several Bulgari stores, and hundreds of private clients.

Priscilla Grazioli Medici is the latest family member to run the oldest marble workshop in Rome, who gave me a tour of her factory. She showed me some beautiful and unique marbles, which I have not seen in the States — some of which have not been quarried for two thousand years.

Ditta Medici has a number of floor designs which they can customize to your floor, or they can work with you to design a completely one-of-a-kind floor using the rarest of marbles.

You clearly pay a premium for custom and unique. It’s always been this way. Yet, what is a relatively new phenomenon in today’s flatter world is less emphasis on creativity and design, and more on instant gratification, low cost and sameness.

Today, you can buy the same designer label dress or suit in London, Tampa, Minneapolis or Beijing. Is this ubiquity a bad thing? Yes, if it means that many small, individual designers are pushed to the curb in the process.

Have you happened to stroll through the storied neighborhood streets of Greenwich Village in Manhattan in the last two years? Gone are many of the decades-old, sole proprietor shops where you could find rare books, clothing, art, and household items. They have been replaced by global designer brand stores that drive up the rent for everyone else, and in turn, drive out the eclectic and the exceptional.

Unfortunately, a similar fate may await Ditta Medici of Rome and many exclusive and creative shops around the globe.

But I’m not counting out the creative class just yet.

All of us should do what we can to celebrate the artisans and innovators still among us, and those young artists and designers who aspire to make a career in the creative arts.

I’m still convinced that the most creative businesses will not only succeed, but will far outlast the competition. Much like the lasting beauty of a fine Italian marble floor.

The Day That Changed America

Posted by on September 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Today, we stop and remember those whom we lost a decade ago on September 11, 2001, and the families they left behind.

That day profoundly changed our country in so many ways. How we travel. How we view our enemies and ourselves. How we protect our citizens here at home. And, how we defend our country overseas.

As we begin the second decade after 9/11, let’s seek to leverage this change for the good.

Let’s start by tapping into our innovative spirit to rebuild our economy, our competitive might, and our standing with rest of the world.

That would be a fitting tribute indeed.

Back to School

Posted by on September 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm

September marks the beginning of school for students around the globe. Some schools started in August, while others get underway this coming week.

Nothing says “fresh start” like the first day of school. The slate is clean. The grade book is empty. And no classes have been missed. In short, the opportunity to succeed will be never be greater.

Likewise in business, September can represent a new day and “back-to-school” opportunity.

Start with your employees. If you’re like most companies, you will not be adding headcount this coming year. Therefore, it’s important that you literally make the most of what you have.

Treat your employees as your company’s most important asset, and they will return the favor. Invest in high-value training for your employees. Use September and the months that following as an opportunity to hone your employees’ skills.

Second only to a raise or promotion, providing an employee with effective training sends the most important message you can send: we value your contribution to the company and we want you to stay and grow. Most important, training can make a so-so employee good, and a good employee even better.

So use September as a fresh start for your company, and take your employees back to school with an innovative training program. I’m betting it will lead to a better grade for your company.