“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
~ Albert Einstein
The human mind is a fascinating device, allowing us to store a near limitless supply of information while processing countless stimuli every minute of every day. Though the processing power alone is staggering, the underlying attribute that will always drive us forward as individuals and as a society is our minds’ creative capacity.
The world is waking up to this creative potential – emerging from a dream-like existence where our imagination was brushed under the rug. We were never meant to become drones in the endless assembly line that manufactures happiness for $1.49, or to abandon our creative pursuits in exchange for the shackles of an economically viable yet unrewarding career.
We are creators, builders, collaborators, makers, tinkerers and dreamers – we have been since the beginning of time and will continue to be until the end of the universe as we know it.
You are creative. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different.
You are neither left brained nor right brained. You do not have to listen to the naysayers that speak so loudly in your ear, instead pay attention to that voice inside that inspires you to become more than you are. Harnessing your creative and imaginative potential will bring you more satisfaction than the pursuit of knowledge, and when you pair the two together you will never encounter boredom.
Protospace manifested through the creative drive of a few imaginative Calgarians who wanted more than just an existence in this city. Since our inspired beginnings, we have evolved into a community workshop that exists to facilitate member projects and ideas. Ideas are always improved upon when more minds are introduced, which is why we always encourage collaboration and the openness of information at Protospace. Though Calgary’s only hacker / maker space, we’re only one node in the vast network of the creative community. In Calgary alone there are hundreds of groups and collectives that range from permaculture to musical theatre, all of which came into existence because we recognize the importance of community and culture. Through a bit of Googling, you will find that your local community is full of culture and like minded individuals – and if you don’t find a group that fits you, make one.
Though our creative and imaginative pursuits are valuable, a lack of resources often stops us from making our ideas into reality. Since alchemy and transmutation are not yet available to the general public, we must use currency to fund our projects and initiatives. Fortunately for us, there have been many creative and enterprising individuals that have established foundations or funding opportunities that help us bridge the resource gap. Below I’ve listed a few of the examples that I’ve had exposure to, but these aren’t the only options available to you.
These guys are just plain awesome. The Foundation exists to kick-start initiatives and projects in the community through $1000 grants every month, all you have to do is pitch your idea and convince them that your project is deserving. Last summer, Protospace was involved with Collaborative Projects YYC where the winners wanted to bring creative lighting to dark places through a community LED project where Protopians taught soldering under a bridge in the middle of the night. Your idea might become the next winner, but you’ll never know until you give it a shot!
Do you think our city needs more culture? If so, you’re not alone. Calgary has been named the Cultural Capital of Canada for the year of 2012, which means that the whole city is mobilizing to facilitate cultural and creative initiatives and events. Through the city and the federal government, we have access to grant opportunities that range from $2,000 to $20,000 to fund cultural projects and events throughout the year. The final deadline is March 12, 2012, so get your ideas developed before it’s too late!
I’ve had a few business ideas on the back burner for years now, but I’ve yet to execute on them. For those that want to take the leap, Startup Calgary is an ideal community for learning what it means to set your own destiny. I’ve gone to a few events put on by Startup Calgary and have always left inspired. The startup crowd has recently acquired a space in Inglewood which has been appropriately named AcceleratorYYC. Office and meeting space can be rented in this collaborative environment and events and workshops are great opportunities to be inspired or hash out a business plan or two.
Not everyone wants to be on TV, especially the majority of us nerdy types. Be brave, Backyard Inventors is a Canadian TV show backed by Doug Hall (Eureka Ranch) showcasing creators and tinkerers that have produced something original and innovative. If you have ever made something with your hands to solve a problem where there was no solution, you should be on this show. I was contacted by one of the producers of the show who let me know that they are filming right now and need more inventors (especially women inventors). The application for the show is found here, so apply now!