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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 'global'

The Power of Competition

Posted by on April 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, died on this day 65 years ago in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford is credited for revolutionizing factory production with his assembly-line methods. Most importantly, he helped change how people lived and where they lived by developing the Model T, the world’s first affordable, mass-produced car.

Ford first produced the Model T in 1908, which sold for $850, according to History.com. And by the time the last Model T came off the assembly line in 1927, over 15 million had been sold. However, like many corporate trailblazers, Ford’s market dominance began to wane in the 1920s when it fell behind General Motors, which was responding more quickly to consumer demand with newer models.

To this day, Ford still trails GM in automobiles sold annually, but only by a narrow margin. Ford’s star has risen particularly in recent years under the leadership of former Boeing executive, Alan Mulally, who has helped make Ford profitable despite the country’s near economic meltdown. In late 2008 and early 2009, GM took bailout money from the U.S. Government; Ford notably did not.

The Ford and GM 100-year rivalry is longer than any in U.S. corporate history and will surely continue. There is no better fuel for innovation than competition, and no industry better illustrates this cause and effect than the automotive industry.

Thanks to GM’s and Ford’s long-term rivalry – and the competitive threats from Japanese and German car brands over the last three decades – consumers have a lot to be thankful for.

One wonders what Henry Ford would think today if he were behind the wheel of one of Ford’s latest models, such as a Ford Fusion Hybrid (gas and electric), in which he could control much of the dashboard with voice commands.

I bet he’d like the company that still bears his name.

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.

Remembering America’s Chief Innovator

Posted by on October 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm

It’s hard to add to what has already been said from so many corners of the globe about the enormous contributions of Steven Paul Jobs to the fields of technology, movies, music, telecommunications, and design itself. But I do feel compelled to say something about Mr. Jobs. We just lost our country’s Chief Innovator.

Steve Jobs was a once-in-a-generation visionary who demonstrated a unique blend of design, business, and marketing savvy. He took a quirky, irrelevant computer company named after a fruit, which he co-founded in the 1970s, and turned it into a global business powerhouse boasting the largest market cap of any other company on the planet  – equaled only by Exxon Mobil.

The last decade, in particular, has been truly impressive as Jobs led Apple as it redefined the music industry via the iPod, wireless communication via the iPhone, and more recently, the computer itself via the iPad.

Jobs didn’t always get it right. In 1985, after being fired by Apple, he started the NeXT computer company. NeXT folded in 1996 after shipping only 50,000 units, but its high performance personal computers impressed many, including Apple, which re-hired Jobs in 1997.

Most important, Jobs learned from his mistakes and he wasn’t afraid to make them. At every turn in his career, he ignored traditional business school dogma, and chose to take a different path – always guided by what he felt the consumer wanted.

Jobs concluded that consumers would be willing to pay more for a product if it was well-designed and simple to use.  He was right, and Apple and its shareholders have benefited handsomely.

Business schools will be studying the “Jobs Effect” and his hyper-successful business methods for years to come, and rightfully so.

At some point, there will be another Steve Jobs. He or she will also achieve success by eschewing the safe path. And most likely, he or she too will succeed as a result of a keen focus on innovation, smart design, and creative business approaches.

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.

Shining Light on Great Design

Posted by on October 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Adobe Systems, a leading creative software company, announced its 10th Annual Design Achievement Awards (ADAA) awards today in Los Angeles, CA. The awards celebrate “global student achievements that bring technology and the creative arts together.”

Winners were chosen in 12 categories across interactive media, film, motion picture, and traditional media. For example, Laura Bordin of Venice, Italy won in the Mobile Design category for her design work on “Heart Lift,” which is a telemonitoring system for heart patients.

Since ADAA’s inception in 2001, nearly 20,000 students from 52 countries have participated in the annual competition. This year’s winners received a $3,000 cash prize and free copies of Adobe’s high-end designer software.

Adobe Senior Vice President, Ann Lewnes, notes that “the Adobe Design Achievement Award competition attracts the best student designers in the world. We feel fortunate to be able to shine light on these future creative leaders.”

At New Lantern, we feel fortunate to shine light on these creative leaders as well, which is at the heart of our mission.