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 March, 2012

Find Your Creative Place

Posted by on March 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Do you have a creative place? It’s the place where you feel you are at your most creative and productive. It may be a bench in your favorite park, a special nook or room in your house or spot in your yard, a quiet desk at a library, a small bistro table in a busy Starbucks, or a spot at work where no one can interrupt you.

Frankly, your creative place may not be a physical location. It could be a particular state of mind. It could be a certain mood, time of day, or the type of music that you are listening to at the time. It could be something you do such as driving or walking. Or it could be any combination of the above.

Every employee has at least one place that focuses the mind and puts them in a more inspired state. Not a state that will necessarily lead to a nuclear fusion breakthrough, or the next generation of computer chip. But it could be a state that helps them think through a more creative presentation, design a more environmentally-friendly container, improve the profitability of a company service offering, or find a more efficient way to process expense reports.

A company’s challenge is to help find those places for employees where they can be more innovative. Most companies insist that employees produce results in sterile environments under rigid conditions. Ask yourself this question: if you were using your own money to fund a composer to come up with a great score for your next blockbuster movie, would you insist that he or she do it between 9 to 5 on a Tuesday in the small conference room down the hall? I don’t think so.

I realize that organizations may not have the flexibility or the resources to put their employees into their most creative physical spaces. But with a little bit of ingenuity, leadership, and guts to try something different, they could clearly get employees to a better place or frame of mind.

Let New Lantern help your company find its creative place. It could be the beginning of a more beautiful and productive relationship between you and your employees.

(Back by popular demand, the above posting appeared originally in April 2009.)

Remembering a Lively Red Bull

Posted by on March 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm

The Red Bull energy drink founder, Chaleo Yoovidhya, died last week in Bangkok at the age of 89. Chaleo was worth $5 billion according to Bloomberg, which made him the third richest man in Thailand.

Chaleo was born to a poor Chinese immigrant family in northern Thailand in 1923, and was a duck farmer early in his career before importing antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, as reported by Time.

In 1962, Chaleo developed a highly caffeinated, sugary, non-carbonated drink, which he named Krating Daeng, meaning “red bull” in Thai. He targeted working class Thai consumers in an effort to build “the brand to convey strength and power.”

Red Bull soon became very popular in Thailand as the sleep-deprived began purchasing the high energy drink on a regular basis, including farmers, truck and taxi drivers, and factory workers.

Then in 1982, an Austrian toothpaste salesman, Deitrich Mateschitz, was traveling in Thailand and tried Chaleo’s drink and found that it cured his jet lag. Two years later, Mateschitz approached Chaleo and suggested that he carbonate the beverage and market it worldwide. The two men formed a 49-49 partnership with two percent of the company owned by his son.

And the rest is Red Bull history as they say.

Red Bull’s success spawned an entire high-caffeine energy industry. Over the years, numerous competitors have tried to emulate the Austrian-based Red Bull energy drink king, but none has quite measured up. Last year, Red Bull sold 4.6 billion cans – up 11 percent from the previous year. The Austrian-based company employs 8,000 worldwide.

Chaleo’s business empire included a pharmaceutical company, a hospital chain, a winery in Thailand and two international soccer teams: the New York Red Bulls and the Red Bulls Salzburg in Austria.

Throughout his career Chaleo was always friendly and kept a low-profile, preferring to let Mateschitz serve as the company’s more showy executive. His son Sarawut described his father as “lively and happy,” content with his work, and someone who “valued honesty and credibility.”

These ingredients are as important to one’s success as they are for building a global brand-leading energy drink. We all would be wise to follow the lead of this Thai business entrepreneur. And that’s no bull.

An Early Arrival

Posted by on March 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

There’s only one thing better than the early arrival of an airline flight to lift the spirits, and that’s the early arrival of spring. And nothing says “spring” to me like the fresh blooms of the Forsythia shrub.

Its small, yellow starbursts of flowers are among the first signs of color in mid-March in many parts of the United States. Given our mild winter, this year’s Forsythia blooms arrived at least a week earlier than usual, much to my delight.

Forsythia is both the genus and the common name for this spring-flowering shrub. There are 11 species of Forsythia, which are also native to Asia and Europe. It is named after the Scottish botanist, William Forsyth.

For the remaining 50 weeks of the year, Forsythia shrubs are frankly unremarkable and tend to blend into the neighborhoods and parks where they commonly are found. Yet, come March, when the temperature and conditions are just right, this genus of shrub magically transforms itself overnight.

Plants like the Forsythia serve an important purpose. They indicate that a change for the better is at hand. They lift the mood and spirit. And they remind us that every plant or person has a valuable role to play if put in the right conditions, nurtured appropriately, and situated for the greatest benefit.

Look for the exceptional in what may otherwise appear unexceptional. Actively cultivate Forsythias and a wide variety of other flora within your organization. By doing so, you can turn a run-of-the-mill roadside nursery into a sustainable and highly productive garden.

Making a Fashion Statement

Posted by on March 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Pop star Katy Perry showed up for opening day of Paris Fashion Week this past Saturday dressed in blue from head to toe – literally.

Singer-songwriter Katy Perry is clearly a force of nature in the music industry, and is known for turning heads with some of her unique fashion statements. At 27, Perry is strikingly attractive and curvacious, and seems quite comfortable in the public eye. And those eyes apparently love her.

Perry’s recently-released single “Part of Me” shot to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100, the 7th such song of Perry’s to hold this rarified distinction. Although she’s been performing for almost a dozen years, it was her 2008 release of “I Kissed a Girl,” that catapulted Perry to the top of the charts where she has remained ever since.

Katy Perry wasn’t always the sexy bad girl she portrays in her performances. In fact, her name is really Katy Hudson, which was the title of her first gospel album in 2001 that was released in Nashville on the Christian music label Red Hill. Soon after, the transformation to rock and pop music began at which time Katy Hudson started using the stage name, Katy Perry, so not to be confused with the actress Kate Hudson.

As if her public life wasn’t outrageous enough, in 2010 Perry married the wildly eccentric comedic actor Russell Brand. That same year, she was to appear on Sesame Street in a music video, but the segment was never broadcast as planned. The video was first released on YouTube, and sparked a firestorm as many parents were outraged by Perry’s choice of wardrobe for the video – or lack thereof – in which she showed off ample amounts of cleavage.

By the way, her marriage to Russell Brand ended earlier this year.

Although Perry’s fashion and matrimonial sense will not win her any awards, her ticket as a songwriter and entertainer has never been hotter.

So I offer the same advice to corporate America as I do to Katy Perry. Maintain a keen focus on those pursuits that set you apart and contribute to your success. And don’t fall prey to new and shiny objects that may divert your attention.

In the end, success will be your best fashion statement.