"[May's] issue of The Constellation was outstanding! The information about each of the spotlighted ladies was informative. It is timely to know that in a hurried world of people rushing off to who knows where and for what, our
attention was called to the therapeutic results of stillness in nature’s surroundings and considering the value of each moment in time. Thank you, SSF."
Typically in the monthly newsletter The Constellation, we highlight a
microgrant recipient and a Stardust Board/Advisory Board member who offers keen insight into one of Stardust's focus areas of health, learning, and sustainability. However, in this month's issue, we will focus on those that best exemplify creativity!
You'll read from Co-Founders Laura Jean Palmer-Moloney and Camille Babington about the importance of creativity in grant applicants and in cultivating a sustainable
business. Finally, Ethan Krauss's progress with the ion-powered invention makes for a great testament to the vital nature of creativity and innovation within our life pursuits!
The Surprising Importance of Creativity:
Co-Founders Camille Babington and Laura Jean Palmer-Moloney Give Their Thoughts and Advice
The founders of The Stardust Startup Factory, Laura Jean Palmer-Moloney and Camille Babington were gracious enough to sit down with me to discuss this month’s focus area:
creativity. After our conversation, one thing became clear to me; creativity is undeniably a vital aspect to a successful microgrant applicant, but the meaning of creativity within the context of Stardust differs from what you might initially imagine.
As Advisory Board head, Camille Babington explained, it’s easy to fall into clichés; she feels the term “out of the box” is over-used, and to assume that “out of the box” describes Stardust’s desire is far from the reality. As both Camille and Jean explained to me, creativity could simply be solving a problem in a unique way: seeing a need and fulfilling it. And as Camille went on to express, scientists and mathematicians seldom think of themselves as creatives, but as Jean can attest with her extensive background in Geology,
there are artistic and creative elements within those pursuits, and their potential for positively impacting the world is boundless.
Jean and Camille even went a step further and reflected upon the tenuous balance between the logical and the creative that
they’ve observed among their applicants. Additionally, Camille and Jean explained that a personal touch and risk-taking is essential to creating something “inspired”. Often times, as they mentioned, projects that don’t make the cut lack inspiration, and in turn a sense of creativity.
Additionally, uniqueness, innovation, and creativity are elements that The Stardust Startup Factory definitely hopes to encourage not only among its applicant pool, but also among individuals associated with Stardust and its values. For example, this past April Jean's niece Abby found a way to incorporate
creativity into the act of charity. At her wedding, Abby and her husband Dylan left placccards at everyone’s tables asking for a wedding gift in the form of a donation to The Stardust Startup Factory. It is this sort of “creative giving,” as Jean coined it, that Stardust also hopes to encourage. Whether the organization is Stardust or not, engineering a method of support for a business/organization with which your values align is an indescribably profound act of selflessness - as Jean and Camille can
In its essence, creativity pulses through the core of The Stardust Startup Factory, and remains an unofficial fourth focus area. As a creative, innovative, and adaptable individual, it's a no-brainer that the
company formed in memoriam to Angus Moloney certainly needs to incorporate those elements; it's safe to say that they're passing with flying colors.
Ethan Krass, founder and President of
Electron Air, LLC, has had clear objectives from the beginning: create the first ion and electron wind powered craft to carry its power source onboard. His goals and objectives are also fairly straightforward. He hopes to design an improved autonomous electron/ion wind powered craft; serve the need for an improved, fast, and efficient form of flight; commercialize and increase performance; and provide
proof of sufficient and efficient sustained lift.
Initially awarded in the spring of 2017, Ethan expressed his gratitude to Stardust: “[The Stardust microgrant] enabled me to purchase the initial batch of emitter wires. With that I was able to prove and characterize what parameters were needed to greatly improve the device’s lift.” In the last year, Ethan has managed to create a plethora of exciting improvements and is still very much determined to see his invention through. Additionally, Ethan is very excited to be in what he hopes are the final stages of the patent process.
After personally speaking with
Ethan about his inspiration for the invention, his passion for space travel and flight became obvious. Ethan described his witnessing the moon landing on television as a particularly profound moment to him personally. His degree in electrical engineering and teaching job is also a further testament to Ethan's love of knowledge, which (coupled with his moon landing experience) has motivated and
inspired him over the years to invent the Ion-Powered Invention.
Ethan expressed to me the dualism of inventing: "The interesting thing about being an inventor is that it's more and less
interesting than people think." Of course, the title of "inventor" sounds glamorous, and the rewards of successfully creating an innovative and technologically-advanced product are endless, there are aspects that Ethan expressed a little stress and worry about. Because of the time and financial commitment to this project, Ethan expressed to me an extremely high level of determination. He's
looking forward to paying back his wife, a prominent classical pianist who has supported him faithfully, with the success of his invention.
Ultimately it's especially poignant to know that along with innovation, invention, and creativity comes a very real risk - as Camille and Jean also mentioned - and that's why support in whatever form is essential to those willing to take the risk. Upon reflection of both Jean and Camille's commentary, as well as Ethan's firsthand experience with the concepts of innovation and creativity, I've come to realize two things: 1) creativity isn't synonymous
with fancinessor sophistication and 2) anyone with their own personal dream is capable of living a creative and inspired life which in turn is a means of meaningfully impacting the world.
If nothing else, Ethan Krauss and his Ion-Powered Invention is proof that The Stardust Startup Factory is willing help those with a dream, not matter how big or small - and I think I speak for all of Stardust when I say we wish him the
best of luck!