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We’re honored.

Last week, the Printing Industries of America honored Fujifilm with one of its prestigious InterTech™ Technology Awards for the development and introduction of the J Press 720, the world’s first half-size sheetfed inkjet press.

The J Press 720 is the culmination of years of R&D, a tremendous investment in technology and the foresight to recognize the changes coming to our industry. From our perspective, and we were happy to know that the InterTech judges agreed with us, the future of this industry lies in inkjet technology. It’s bringing incredible change. It’s changing what we print, how we print, how we buy print, and how printers sell print.

For some, that’s a scary proposition. For others, it’s an opportunity. But, make no mistake, print is not dying. It’s changing…and that’s okay. We’d even call it a revolution.

The InterTech awards honor “the development of technologies predicted to have a major impact in the graphic arts” and we’re flattered to be included.

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Put me in, Coach. I’m ready to play.

We were honored last week when so many friends and colleagues were able to join us in Kansas City to learn more about Fujifilm’s inkjet solutions and our vision for the future. We were excited to talk about (forgive me for the cliche) the opportunities that wide format inkjet technology offers when added to a printer’s lineup and we had a great time at the Kansas City Royals’ game. Thanks again for joining us!

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It’s in the details

Admittedly, I’m a “details” person. While I know it sounds a bit cliché, it really is the little things that make a big difference, at least for me. And that’s no different when it comes to publishing and printing. I’m enamored with well-written copy and I swoon at clever phrases. I’m attracted to well-designed pieces and I simply can’t put down packaging that surprises me.

I hope that’s the feeling that’s been conveyed with the most recent issue of Fujifilm’s Energy Magazine. On the cover, we used two coatings (Thanks, Coatings & Adhesives) to give the magazine that added special touch. A soft touch coating covers the entire cover, while a high gloss gives the red apples and the magazine name a dramatic pop. The effect, I hope, is a magazine that will make readers pause before even opening it. A magazine that not only offers useful information and content, but also one that shows the powerful effect printing can have.

Energy Magazine is published quarterly. Give us your mailing address and we’ll make sure you get future issues.

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Toshiba’s National No-Print Day = #prfail

It had all of the makings of a public relations coup: an unexpected announcement, a national event, a cause that virtually everyone supports, even a cute mascot. It should’ve been a homerun. So…why wasn’t it?

 

Earlier this month, Toshiba announced the creation of a National No-Print Day on October 23, 2012 and, in doing so, created a firestorm in the printing industry. The day was created in an effort to “raise awareness of the impact printing has on our planet,” but it appears that the campaign creators didn’t quite think things through. The campaign, which featured a new website (www.NationalNoPrintDay.com – since removed) and a mascot aptly-named “Tree,” blanketly categorized office waste and inefficiencies as “printing” and encouraged people to pledge NOT to print on Oct. 23. For every pledge, Toshiba said it would plant one tree as part of the company’s effort to plant 150 million trees by 2025.

 

“Not so fast,” said the printing industry, the Printing Industries of America (PIA) leading the charge. In an open letter to association members, PIA President and CEO Michael Makin responded, saying, “We find such a proposal ridiculous and an insult to the more than 800,000 Americans who directly owe their livelihood to our industry.” He added, “Toshiba claims that our industry has failed ‘to make the link between printing waste and its negative impacts on our landfills, natural resources and the environment.’” Makin went on to detail and compare the environmental “costs” associated with print and other mediums and pointed out that our country has 20 percent more trees that it did on the first Earth Day 40 years ago.

 

PR campaigns such as this one are created to raise awareness and to move people to act in support of your cause. It did both of those things…but NOT in the direction that Toshiba intended. Printers across the country were spurred to action. Hundreds of them called PIA to register their opposition and many of them added that they would be boycotting Toshiba. PIA’s own campaign called The Value of Print received renewed interest and printers banded together to defend and support their way of life. That’s PR success.

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Offset & (far) Beyond

Taking place in a hotel adjacent to the historic St. Louis Arch, the recent Offset & Beyond conference was full of valuable content and gave both attendees and exhibitors an opportunity to learn. The common theme to the event was quite clear: “question everything.” Question everything you are doing to determine if there is a better way to create it. To deliver it. To produce it. To make it more relevant. The Imageadoption of accessing information via tablets, social media outlets and mobile phones is fueling a rapid change in how we produce and disseminate information. Case in point, I don’t receive breaking news from the newspaper or from a television, for that matter. It comes to me online, via news alerts I’ve set up or over Twitter’s wires. People live tweet important events, both planned and unplanned, they post movies to YouTube in real-time and they upload pictures of to their Facebook pages.

The good news for our industry is that printers are adapting. They are changing the structure of their businesses to take advantage of the opportunities our new world order has brought forth. They are diversifying into new growth areas such as wide format graphics and marketing services and they’re combining print with the myriad of communication vehicles available to us today. The Offset & Beyond conference focused largely on the “beyond,” and I’m excited to see what it brings to our industry.

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Guts, gumption & grit: You have what it takes?

Today, business owners are faced with a number of challenges and recent economic conditions have compounded some of those. In many cases, they’ve had to make hard decisions, change the way they think and change the way they do business. And that’s not necessarily easy to do and, oftentimes, it comes down to guts. Call it whatever you like…you have it?

In the popular western story, “True Grit,” 14-year-old Mattie Ross sets out on a quest to avenge her father’s death. Her arduous endeavor doesn’t appeal much to the most professional gunslingers. With unrelenting determination and doggedness (grit), she enlists the help of an aging, half-blind, half-drunk U.S. marshal. She believes he’s the man with true grit – a trait this intuitive (and gritty) girl believes is needed to navigate the perils of the untamed territory.

Whether facing the perils posed by rough terrain, hungry rattlesnakes, and desperate outlaws, or facing the challenges created by disappearing profits, global instability, and increasing competition, grit is the factor that embodies the indomitable character of the U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn and his unlikely sidekick. Grit, it turns out, is the key to success – the defining characteristic that overrides fear, doubt, and roadblocks.

So, if you are a leader trying to navigate this perilous, never-ending economic landscape to venture into the unknown – grit is what you need.

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

The Grit Factor

A leading research psychologist, Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., contends that people who accomplish great things often combine a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take. That appears to be the case with businesses today.

Over the past three decades, Dome Printing has become one of the largest privately held commercial printing companies in northern California. Tim Poole, who runs the century-old company along with his brothers, Andy and Bob, says that guts, gumption, and grit define his leadership style. This is evidenced by the company’s steadfast devotion to its mission to be a world-class print solutions provider, supplying the best customer experience, and using its competitive advantage.

“My leadership style has a call for all of these attributes timed, delivered, and executed in the right doses to insure balance in our organization,” Poole says. “Steadiness of character is measured by a leader’s commitment to applying values consistently. Trust is achieved by building respect, and respect is acquired by people knowing what you stand for. Without displaying grit, guts, and gumption, I guess that the opposite would apply – a spineless, selfish individual with a lack of the resourcefulness needed to make good decisions.”

David Bailey, Jr., president of Lithographics, a 36-year-old Nashville printing company says that having guts and grit is a major reason why the company still is in business today. “Considering the way things have been for the last several years, if you are the leader of a business and don’t have a whole lot of guts and grit, you are probably not going to be in business much longer,” he says.

Poole says there definitely is a lack of the “grit factor” in today’s world. “We love the Reagan years. He was one of the first presidents in years that had the guts, gumption, and grit to make changes in the White House. I have admiration when I meet great leaders. They are easy to recognize. On the flip side, there seems to be more companies being led by people who lack strong character – guts, gumption, and grit. I have had the opportunity to visit failed companies, and it is usually obvious that the root cause of failure is lack of vision and not enough guts. It takes guts to do the right things.”

Bailey says that, unfortunately, it seems that some business leaders want to take the easy way out. “Sadly, the majority of businesses that I interact with are continuing to work on or manage how they are going to ‘look’ in order to survive and prosper in this new economy.”

Jill Wangler, marketing director at Fineline Printing Group, says some people like to take the path of least resistance. “A lot of people inherently don’t like confrontation – don’t like to be challenged. For certain roles in a business, there’s a fit for these folks. But for a manager or leader, I think a lack of these traits – guts, gumption, and grit – are detrimental to the organization as a whole for a lot of reasons.”

So, Do You Have Grit?

Not only is grit important, but Duckworth also contends that having grit – that perseverance and passion for long-term goals – can better predict success than traits such as IQ or conscientiousness. A few years ago, she set out to determine what qualities most accurately would predict outstanding achievement. She developed a test to measure grit, which she called the Grit Scale. This simple test requires you to rate yourself on 12 questions (it relies entirely on self-report). The test takes about three minutes to complete. Here are some sample questions from the Grit Scale:

1. I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge.

Very much like me

Mostly like me

Somewhat like me

Not much like me

Not like me at all

2. New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.

Very much like me

Mostly like me

Somewhat like me

Not much like me

Not like me at all

3. My interests change from year to year.

Very much like me

Mostly like me

Somewhat like me

Not much like me

Not like me at all

When Duckworth took the Grit Scale into the field, she found it to be remarkably predictive. At the University of Pennsylvania, research indicated that high grit ratings enabled students with relatively low college-board scores to nonetheless achieve high GPAs. Next, Duckworth administered the grit test to more than 1,200 freshman cadets as they entered West Point, embarking on a grueling summer training course known as Beast Barracks.

The military also has developed its own complex evaluation to judge incoming cadets and predict which ones would survive the demands of West Point. The test includes grades, a physical fitness evaluation, and a leadership test. But at the end of Beast Barracks, the more accurate analysis of which cadets persisted and which dropped out turned out to be Duckworth’s 12-item grit questionnaire.

Duckworth carried out a similar “success study” with kids who competed in spelling bees. Again, it turned out that grit – in this case, the ability to persist and passionately pursue your goal of winning the spelling bee by doing whatever it takes – was the best judge of success.

Nature or Nurture

Is grit an inborn ability, just like intelligence, or a talent? Or, can grit be cultivated? Many psychologists and philosophers contend that adversity is essential for character development.  Was young Mattie Ross, the heroine of “True Grit,” born with grit, or did she grow gritty due to adversity (the loss of her father)? Would Rooster Cogburn have had less grit if he still had both of his eyes?

Lithographic’s Bailey argues that qualities such as grit come from your core being. “I agree with the saying that, ‘adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals whether someone has it or not.’ I’m sure that everyone possesses some of these, but at different levels. If you don’t have much of it, it is very difficult for it to be nurtured or grown or developed.”

Fineline Printing Group’s Wangler believes in the power of both forces – nature and nurture. “I’m not saying they’re equal, but the ‘nurture’ influence can vary based on one’s upbringing and relationships. For employees, I think it’s important to challenge them appropriately and provide opportunities to build on their passion wherever I can. What’s especially important for young professionals is for them to know that making mistakes is okay.”

Perhaps the adverse economic climate has fueled the growth of grit in some individuals, and the challenges we face should be hailed as opportunities for evolution. Dome Printing’s Poole says his character strength is deeply rooted in his DNA, but that experiences also have shaped who he is. “The fear of failure causes me to constantly examine what is working and what changes need to occur to drive innovation and ward off complacency,” he says. “I have had and still do experience influences that help shape my character. The older I get, it seems that the rate of influence is accelerated, or the economy has forced me to examine everything much closer. I challenge my weaknesses and never give up.”

“If a company desires to have a business culture of grit, gumption, and guts, the rewards should be felt throughout the organization,” Poole says. “In leadership training, we teach individuals how to make decisions. I think we will add a segment on the value of understanding these defined characteristics as we build leaders in our organization.”

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Didn’t make it to Dusseldorf? See (some of) what you missed.

drupa 2012 officially wraps up today and was, by early accounts,  a successful show. According to show organizers, nearly 315,000 attendees (representing more than 130 countries) visited the show’s 19 exhibit halls.

As you know, Fujifilm had the largest booth in the company’s history and was certainly a sight to be seen. For those of you who weren’t able to make your way to Germany, here’s a brief look at the Fujifilm stand.

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