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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Archive for Tag 'business'

The Longest Day

Posted by on June 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

For all you earth dwellers, today is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Well, technically the day is no longer than the other 364 days, but the amount of daylight today is at its annual maximum. Officially called the “summer solstice,” the tilt of the earth is in its most inclined position today toward the sun.

Of course, this is not news to most people. Most of us know that we can enjoy the most hours of sunlight today and the least hours of sunlight around December 21, which is the winter solstice. And I’m betting that you are like me and enjoy more light rather than less.

More daylight brightens more than just your room, it brightens your attitude and frame of mind. Sunlight is also good for our physical well-being in providing us with more Vitamin D, which our bodies need for greater bone health among other things. More daylight also means we need less artificial light – and the electricity it burns – as we go about our daily lives in our homes, work places, and the out-of-doors.

Which brings me to my point. With longer days and more daylight, one has less need for a light or a lantern, or a “new lantern” if you will.

So a consulting business that might provide services intended to provide light or new thinking to business customers, let’s say, might be less inclined to enjoy this time of year? Well, figuratively speaking that might be true. In reality, we like the summer solstice and the long hours of daylight as much as the next non-cave dweller.

Whether it’s supplied by the sun or a lantern, businesses and other organizations need creative thinking and the ability to see new ways of working year-round, 365 days a year.

And there’s no better time to embrace this notion than on the longest day of the year.

The Tomato Paste Playbook

Posted by on February 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm


Have you ever wondered how your company can get more customers, “likes” on Facebook, or attention with ads?

I tell people that it’s important to share your story.

But what does this mean?

Each day your company goes about doing its job, which to some may seem quite routine.

To customers, especially new ones, they may not recognize or see the everyday highlights of your company. They may not know your company’s history or how it’s gotten to where it is today.

The trick is to look within your company. Look at it with fresh eyes and find those hidden gems — those stories that should be shared with customers. Many times companies overcome great odds or complete huge tasks, and quickly move on to the next challenge. Look closer, as these may be just the stories that should be told.

I recently took notice of a television commercial by Hunt’s. Yes, I’m talking about the 100-year-old company known mainly for its canned tomato products.

So how did Hunt’s get my attention? By sharing a process known as “flash steaming.”

Now I’ll admit I don’t know much about this steaming process. It’s apparently used by Hunt’s prior to canning, when it removes parts of the vegetable you wouldn’t want included in your can of tomatoes.

How do other companies complete this same process you may ask? According to the Hunt’s commercial, they use chemicals, specifically lye — the same potash-based substance used to make the very pungent Norwegian Lutefisk (a.k.a. aged stockfish). Lye is also used in soaps, oven cleaners, and drain openers. Yum.

This is just one small story shared by a century-old company, simply explaining a process they use daily to can vegetables. Hunt’s looked within the company, found something they did every day, supposedly better than their competitors, and highlighted it.

Now I know something I didn’t before, and will look for Hunt’s next time I need some canned tomatoes. And that’s no lye.

You Can Get There From Here

Posted by on January 12, 2014 at 9:03 pm

You Can Get There From Here photo

“You can’t get there from here.” Chances are you’ve heard this oft-repeated phrase all your life. Admittedly, I’ve used it myself on many of occasions. Yet, when I stop and really think about what I’m saying, or what someone may be saying to me with this phrase, I actually take issue with it.

From where I sit, I can get to anywhere. Whether it’s to an actual place or state of mind, I can get there. Just ask Google Maps, or Bing Maps, or MapQuest, or your shrink, or your partner or spiritual guru. They’ll all tell you the same thing. “Yes, you can.”

Now this is not to say that your desired destination may not be hard to get to. It very well may.  But that didn’t stop Rosa Parks from getting on that bus in Alabama in 1955. It didn’t stop Neil Armstrong from stepping out onto the moon’s surface in 1969. And it didn’t stop 64-year-old Diana Nyad from swimming from Cuba to Florida last year – after failing to do so in her four previous attempts.

Likewise, it shouldn’t stop you, your company, or your organization from going to wherever you need or want to go.

So the next time someone cavalierly tells you that you can’t get there from here, set them straight. Tell them they’re wrong. Hell, take them with you. They may learn something on the way.

A Winning Playbook for 2013

Posted by on January 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm

It seems like only yesterday that we were talking about Y2K. Yet, here we are now in 2013.

A great deal has transpired in these last 13 years. Many businesses were started. Some greatly expanded or bought up other companies. While others are no longer with us.

We survived the stock market bubble burst of 2000. The economic meltdown of 2008. And historic long-term unemployment ever since.

Fortunately for all of us, the start of each new year brings with it the opportunity for your company to start afresh. Try something new. Leave an ill-conceived or outdated practice behind.

Importantly, the new year also gives you the most runway — 365 days — to accomplish your objectives. So there is no better time than the present to self-access and retool.

Every company, no matter how well run or high performing, can find room for improvement. Last year’s playbook is an important baseline, but it should never substitute for this year’s winning game plan.

Times change.
Conditions change.
Competitive threats change.
Employees change.
Leaders change.

As such, your playbook should change as well, and frankly should be regularly reassessed, challenged, and updated throughout the course of the year.

Make 2013 a winning year for your company. Update your playbook today, and you’ll soon be enjoying the rewards it will bring.

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.)

The Power of Losing

Posted by on February 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Last week, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker wrote an op-ed entitled “The Power of Losing” about the trials and tribulations of the 2012 Presidential campaign. In it, she notes that the recent losses by Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri on February 7 could actually help to successfully re-focus Romney and his campaign as he seeks the Republican nomination.

Parker asserts that Romney’s concession speech that evening was the best speech to date of his candidacy, saying it “was touching and sweet and true.” She goes on to compare other major concession speeches by Presidential candidates, like Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, as their best speeches of their respective campaigns.

Of course, Romney’s February 7 loss was but one step along the way, and not an ultimate concession for the final prize like that of Gore and Kerry. And that’s the point. Romney still has a chance to leverage that night’s loss.

Parker goes on to say, “The moral of the story isn’t that one must lose to win, but that one try to harness the spoils of loss for the road to victory.”

Clearly, we can apply this same “power of losing” concept to the business world. Whether for an individual senior executive at a company, or the company at large, there is nothing like losing to a competitor or suffering your company’s first quarterly loss to get the juices flowing.

But success will turn on how that executive or how that company chooses to react to that loss, and whether they are successful in summoning a renewed winning spirit to take the next hill.

Loss is inevitable at some point for anybody and any company. Prepare yourself to respond to it accordingly, and turn the power of losing to your ultimate advantage.

And, seek to harness the spoils of loss for your road to victory. It might just lead to a bit of “Hail to the Chief” for you and your company.