New Lantern

About the blog

Light from the
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.


Fast Company cover



RSS Buttons






Follow New Lantern on Twitter
Archives

Archives


Archives

Archive for Tag 'dividends'

Drop ’til You Shop

Posted by on December 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Shoppers appear to be opening up their wallets a bit more widely this holiday season much to the delight of retailers.

Two factors account for this year’s uptick. First, shoppers feel somewhat better about the overall economy. Despite an unemployment rate that’s been stuck in the mud near 10% for more than a year, the 90% who are employed have probably seen their paychecks rise in recent months for the first time in a couple of years.

The second factor for an improved holiday retail season can be attributed to the retailers themselves. There’s nothing like two years of a bad economy to help get the creative pricing juices flowing.

Many businesses have found ways to trim margins even further, while passing on those savings to the consumer in the form of lower prices and/or other enticements, such as free shipping. And shoppers seem to be responding.

Good old-fashioned price trimming appears to be the new fashion this season. Clearly, a business cannot survive indefinitely on charging less for products or services. Yet, a short-term price cutting strategy that allows a business to move products, reduce inventories, increase cash flow, attract new customers or all or some of the above can indeed pay dividends.

So feel free to take a page from both the brick-and-mortar and the online retailers this holiday season, and think about dropping a price or two on some of your company’s products or service offerings. Or, put your heads together on any other creative pricing strategies that could serve to spark additional sales.

It may help put a new pep in your company’s step and usher in some holiday cheer as you head into the new year.

Stack ’em, Pack ’em, and Rack ’em

Posted by on September 1, 2010 at 7:21 pm

In watching the weather reports today, which show three to four hurricanes lined up in the Atlantic heading toward the eastern coast of the United States, I am reminded of one of the more memorable lines in American cinema.

In the 1990 “Die Hard 2: Die Harder,” the actor and former U.S. Senator, Fred Thompson, plays the Chief of Air Operations at Washington Dulles Airport and utters the great metaphorical line, “stack ‘em, pack ‘em, and rack ‘em.” With this line, he gives the order to his air traffic control staff to keep all incoming aircraft in a holding pattern until hijackers are no longer controlling the airport. The intent is to buy time until Bruce Willis (John McClane) can save the day.

So when I saw the colorful, eye-popping flight path this week on our television screens of the incoming hurricanes and tropical storms — Earl, Fiona, and Gaston, I thought of Fred Thompson’s 20-year-old line and the image of the jetliners lined up over the dark skies of Dulles Airport.

Whether it’s turbulence as a result of Mother Nature or man-made disasters, companies are best served by executives and managers who are able to keep their cool and focus in response to both seen and unforeseen events. These necessary attributes can only come through experience, effective training, and a corporate culture that values and cultivates them.

When crisis strikes, do not bet the company on managers knowing what to do. Spend time and resource to make sure they have the tools and know-how at the ready.

Have a safe and restful upcoming Labor Day weekend.

‘Thanking the Academy’ for Process Innovation

Posted by on September 21, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Jessica Clarke-Nash

Cinematography is “the art or technique of motion-picture photography,” according to our friends at Dictionary.com.

Today’s cinematographers, or directors of photography, are harnessing technology like never before to master this art form. They are responsible for every technical aspect of a film’s images, including: composition, lighting, lens choice, exposure, filtration, and film selection. Advancements in digital photography, computer technology, and photo-editing software in recent years are dramatically changing the way films are made.

As viewers, we readily see much of this technology at work in the greatly enhanced image quality of today’s motion-pictures – whether on a high-definition screen at the theater or in your own home. Yet, we are not privy to technological changes that are taking place behind the scenes, which are resulting in not just a better product, but a more timely and cost-effective one.

When you combine these new technology tools, with bright, young cinematographic professionals who know how to leverage these tools, you find a motion-picture industry that is literally reinventing itself one image at a time.

Take for example, Jessica Clarke-Nash, from Sydney, Australia – a Preview Stills Assistant, who represents the next generation of cinematographers. At the ripe old age of 24, Jessica already has over 70 feature films, television shows, commercials and videos under her camera belt.

As a preview assistant, Jessica is responsible for taking thousands of high-quality digital still photos during the course of making a full-length feature film alongside the motion-picture camera. Throughout the day of a shoot, Jessica downloads her stills into sophisticated photo-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2, makes needed adjustments, and readies them for the cinematographer’s review within minutes.

The cinematographer in turn, based on this immediate feedback, can adjust the technical elements of his or her motion-picture photography in real-time. Jessica’s photos provide instant input on light, exposure, coloration, and texture that the video playback in the field cannot provide. Equally important, these daily adjustments made by the cinematographer serve to cut the traditional two months of lab time needed at the end of a film’s shoot to merely a few days.

I met up with Jessica yesterday, who was traveling through Washington DC. She described her work on the set of the Hugh Jackman blockbuster, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was released earlier this year. Jessica answered my most important question: Yes, Hugh Jackman is amazingly handsome right down to his smallest pixel. She should know given she spent several months working only a lens-length away from Jackman during the filming of Wolverine.

Creativity and innovative thinking not only lead to better products, they can also lead to smarter and more cost-effective processes, which can pay valuable dividends for your company. Take a long, hard look at how you do business – frame-by-frame. Make sure your company is leveraging the latest technologies, and incentivize your employees to help you in this cause.

It may give rise to results that are truly worthy of an Academy Award.

The Legacy of Duncan Phillips

Posted by on March 30, 2009 at 8:54 pm

The Phillips Collection is America’s first museum of modern art. It was founded in 1918 and opened to the public in 1921 — eight years before the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and two decades before Washington’s National Gallery of Art.

Located in the eclectic Dupont Circle area of our nation’s capital, Duncan Phillips (1886-1966) established the museum as a memorial to his father and brother who died, respectively, in 1917 and 1918. The brothers both went to Yale, were very close, and shared an interest in modern art. “Sorrow all but overwhelmed me,” Duncan Phillips later wrote. “Then I turned to my love of painting for the will to live.”

Over the next five decades, Phillips collected a broad representation of both impressionist and modern art – including works from European and American artists. The museum has showcased works of Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Marin, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

Today, the Phillips Collection is a model for other museums to follow – giving back to the nation and the DC community through education and outreach to nearly 90,000 children, teachers and families each year. The museum’s programs seek to leverage the “magic of the arts” to inspire creative expression, the development of critical literacy skills, and lifelong learning. Phillips’s upcoming Annual Gala on May 15 raises money to help fund these very worthwhile causes.

The magic of the arts can also transform individuals in the workplace. Inspiration from present-day and past artists can provide a mighty catalyst for more inspired products and services. Putting your employees in creative environments can pay dividends for your company or organization. Learn from innovators like Duncan Phillips who used loss and adversity to break from the pack and turn a passion into a life-changing experience.

Picking Up the Pieces

Posted by on January 16, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Companies across the country and the world are reeling from the meltdown of our financial and credit markets over the past few months. Some have already filed or may soon file for bankruptcy. Others are slashing budgets and payrolls to stay afloat. The lucky ones are merely tightening their belts in a very volatile period for which the end is not yet in clear sight. Board rooms and executive suites are at red alert in many corners of the globe, while anxious employees hope that the turbulence will soon subside and their jobs will be secure.

What’s a company to do? You can start by applying the same advice that Warren Buffet recently gave to investors. Invest. Now more than ever, companies should be investing in the employees they want to keep — the talent and human assets that will enable the company to pull out of a slump faster than its competitors. In most cases, all the talent that a company needs already exists within its own ranks. It is simply not being mined and nurtured effectively.

Walls, doors, and artificial boxes dictated by org charts typically get in the way of creativity and innovation. Show employees that you consider them a valuable resource with some modest investment in innovative leadership training and events that will surely pay dividends in the near-term.