New Lantern

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New Lantern blog

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 'creativity'

Design Worthy of Our Planet

Posted by on March 28, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Istanbul's Vakko Fashion Center

Last week, the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects announced its 35 design award winners for 2015. This year’s winners were selected from a pool of 391 applicants across four categories: architecture, interiors, projects and urban design.

In addition to design quality and innovation, particular weight was given this year by the judging panel to “demonstrated consideration of ecological responsibilities” according to the AIA-NY press release.

Top awards went to the SsD firm for its Songpa Micro Housing Project in Seoul, South Korea; Davis Brody Bond’s National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York, NY; NADAAA and John Wardle Architects‘ Melbourne School of Design in Melbourne, Australia; and REX’s Vakko Fashion Center in Instanbul, Turkey (as shown in above photo).

Bravo and congratulations to this year’s winners for making our planet more aesthetically pleasing and ecologically responsible at the same time.

The works of the award winners will featured at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, in New York, NY from April 23 to June 20.

To Text or Not to Text? (Im in mtg, will call u bak)

Posted by on November 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Texting photo

Are you the person looking down at your phone while a boss, co-worker, or dare I say, a customer is talking to you?

If that’s you, we should talk.

It’s time to set the device down.

Granted not every meeting is groundbreaking, but are you sure that you want to be texting during a meeting?

Do yourself a favor and try not texting for a few minutes at a time, and slowly build up your resistance until you can make it through an entire meeting. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that you didn’t have an iPhone or similar smart phone constantly begging for your attention.

I’m all for multi-tasking, but heads up – a recently released study says multi-tasking may shrink your brain!  So unless you want your brain to shrink, I offer up these three suggestions:

1.  Find an App that will automatically respond to any incoming text with a message that simply states you’re busy and will get back to them when you can.

2.  Pay attention during meetings.  Be sure to use this time with your boss, co-workers or customers to its full potential.

3.  Remember that your boss is probably watching, and there’s a good chance that he or she will notice your lack of attention while texting.

As I witnessed first-hand at the White House, when President George W. Bush asked for follow-up information during a meeting on a specific topic, the pertinent advisor took ownership at the meeting in getting that information back to the President.

What would have happened if this same advisor was texting during those meetings and was not paying attention? I expect he would be a former advisor.

So put the device down, look up and make the most out of each meeting.

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.

Breaking with Convention

Posted by on September 17, 2013 at 8:44 pm

On this day in 1787, a small group of delegates met in Philadelphia on the last day of their Convention to sign the Constitution of the United States. For nearly four months leading up to this date, the 55 men deliberated over the contents of what is regarded as one of the most important documents ever written.

George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention, which comprised other “Founding Fathers” such as James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton. Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania chaired the Constitution’s drafting committee, which also included Madison, Hamilton, William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut, and Rufus King of Massachusetts.

The document and the process were not without their detractors. Rhode Island refused to send delegates. A number of delegates refused to sign the final document including George Mason and Edmund Randolph of Virginia, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts. Mason felt strongly that the Constitution include a “Bill of Rights,” which was not part of the original document that was submitted to the states for ratification. The Bill of Rights, which contained the first ten amendments to the Constitution, was later introduced in 1789 and ratified in 1791.

The Constitution prescribes how the federal government is to be organized, outlines the role and powers of each of the three branches, and defines the government’s relationship with states and its citizens.

It starts with a simple yet eloquent Preamble: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

I marvel at the wisdom of the framers of the Constitution. It was not a perfect document; on the contrary. In its very creation, the Constitution contemplated a process by which it could be amended, and it has been 27 times.

Foresight, experience, perspective, and flexibility are key ingredients to any major endeavor. In order to accomplish great things, you need to develop a sound game plan with the input of other key stakeholders. You’ll also need to build in a process by which the plan can be modified if and when the need arises.

Your plan most likely will not need to support a nation, nor endure more than two centuries. But it will require your best thinking, and need to stand the test of time and the strain of events that will inevitably come your way.

Celebrate the Patina

Posted by on May 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm

A Bevolo Copper Lantern
On a small street in the French Quarter of New Orleans sits a non-descript store front, which is home to one of finest copper lantern makers on the globe, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights.

Andrew Bevolo, Sr. opened his light company in the French Quarter in 1945 based on the skills he had learned working at several leading manufacturers of the day, including Ford, Sikorsky, and Higgins. Bevolo took this knowledge and revolutionized the gas lantern industry with a hand riveting technique. Up until that time, gas lamps were made with brittle soldered joints, which greatly reduced the longevity of the lanterns.

A few years later, renowned architect A. Hays Town found his way to Bevolo’s workshop, and the two formed a partnership and the iconic French Quarter copper lantern was born.

Sixty-eight years later, the company is now run by Drew Bevolo, grandson to the founder. Today the company has 40 employees and its famed hand-made copper lanterns can be found on some of the most discriminating homes and commercial buildings in all 50 states and in 28 countries.

Bevolo now boasts scores of different lantern designs, and can also custom design a lamp on request, working with its own designers or a project’s architect. Each lantern is still made by hand and in Louisiana — and is sure to age gracefully and beautifully with each passing year.

Craftsmanship and artistry are words that have increasingly become lost in today’s flat world, where instant gratification and demands for the lowest price now rule the day. But too much focus on low price can come at a price. It penalizes creativity, it trivializes design, and it rewards mediocrity.

Applaud and shine light on the artists and creators, and those among us who continue to honor the old way of doing things. Celebrate their individualism and patina.

March Madness Over Telework

Posted by on March 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Last month’s “no-work-at-home” pronouncement by Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer has set off quite the firestorm in telecommuting and telework circles.

In a company-wide email to employees on February 22nd, Yahoo’s head of HR laid out the new ban on telework in a short, four-paragraph memo. The memo stated, “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.”

News stories that followed cited Mayer’s concerns that “200 or so” Yahoo employees were working remotely and that “some did little work for the company and a few had even begun their own start-ups on the side.”

In the last four years, I have written several blogs on the benefits of telework for many companies. I’ve noted that while some positions may not lend themselves to working remotely, others could be effectively performed at home or elsewhere for at least some portion of the work week. In a June 2009 blog posting, I cited several independent studies showing that many employees are more productive working from home. I coupled this with my own experience as a senior HR executive for several large corporations.

Mayer, 37, who is a former executive at Google, does admit that some employees can be more productive working from home. However, she argues that productivity does not translate into innovation and that employees need to be in the same physical location in order to collaborate and innovate.

In another blog posting in 2009, I noted how an average employee can spend as much as 90 minutes a day commuting, and how a stressful commute can seriously impact one’s mindset and productivity. I went on to talk about how “innovation starts with happy and inspired employees, and employees who can get to their ‘creative place’ – whether that be a physical place or a state of mind.”

Let me pose this question: Is an employee apt to be in a more creative frame of mind working from: (a) home or other preferred location, or (b) in a cubicle after spending an hour in traffic?

I would argue that the employee problems that exist at Yahoo are not the result of working remotely, but the product of an ill-defined and ill-managed telework program. Whether an employee is working in the office next door or from home, it’s the responsibility of that employee’s manager to make sure he or she is fully collaborating and contributing.

I too agree that in-person collaboration can lead to creativity and innovation. Yet, a flexible and well-structured telework program could include regular in-person sessions, while also allowing for time working from home.

So let’s not make telework the scapegoat for a company’s lack of creativity. Banning telework would be like a basketball coach banning the full-court press from his or her playbook in response to a loss of a game due to a poorly executed play. That would be madness.

Like telework for a company, a full-court press can be an important game-winning tool for a basketball team – if properly executed.