Our Next Starts with a Story - A Former Journalist's Take on Innovation

by Leah Sarich, Head of Story (March 2021)


One year ago today, I started on a new path in the innovation community. And what a year it has been!


My first day on the job was the first day of lockdown during a global pandemic. So, I started from my home office, and I’m still working from my home office today but with a sense that soon, we’ll be able to gather, brainstorm and grab a coffee!! Remember that?


So, innovation. What does that mean? Well, innovation is about creating something new, but not just a new thing, that would be invention. Innovation is about creating something new that creates new value or in our language… impact.


I joined the team at Thin Air Labs because I shared their vision to build a new economy for Calgary and beyond. The mission is to ignite the growth of many ventures in a thriving innovation ecosystem and create massive human impact. This means more jobs, more thriving spaces and more opportunities for young people to stay in the Prairies.


The kicker? Thin Air Labs is building this new economy with a focus on regeneration… where social and environmental goals are prioritized as much as fiscal ones.

Plus, they’re a bunch of smart, kind and collaborative folks.


"We need to write a new narrative for Alberta and beyond." ---Leah Sarich, Head of Story

I’ve also observed this past year, that the innovation community at large is just that, a community. Supposed competitors tend to work together. To collaborate. To trust each other. There’s an understanding that building a business out of nothing is hard work, so there’s a collective effort to support entrepreneurs and their big ideas.


There’s also an inherent sense of optimism in the innovation community. There’s no looking back here, it’s only forward thinking. What’s coming? What can we offer? What can we build? What impact can we make?


As a community, we all need to get curious about these questions. And not just those inside this innovation community. Everyone. We need to write a new narrative for Alberta and beyond.


This starts with a story.


A story helps us imagine what could be. It's one of the most powerful tools we have to not only fuel venture growth, but to help the broader community see themselves in this new way forward.


So, let’s start telling stories about the 435 tech companies in Calgary that are growing fast.

Let’s talk about the hundreds of job opportunities in this sector.

Let’s have constructive conversations about what needs to change and discover the solutions.


Let’s build hope. Let’s build what’s next.





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