A conversation with Johannes Bittel
When I joined WikiStage over a month ago, I knew very little about the organisation. I had seen an advertisement online that had peaked my interest. But it wasn't until after I met with the team that I wanted to be in on the action. The website was being revamped, and the old blog was being wiped clean. Immediately, I knew how I wanted to be involved with WikiStage. It didn't take long before I found myself caught up in the energy and the enthusiasm as team members worked hard to finish their tasks. It was refreshing and exciting. And in the midst of everything, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Johannes Bittel, founder and president of WikiStage, to learn more about the future direction of WikiStage. Why the new website change? So the website that we had at the beginning of the project was a very simple website that presented the idea of WikiStage and that presented some of our favourite videos. But it wasn't, yet, this video platform or this video social network, if you like, about short talks. And this is what we now finally make come true with this launch of the new website." What's different about the new website? The new website is a true video platform and social media. You can follow the users that you like. You can watch all the videos from one specific event. You can watch, if you are interested in creativity, you can watch all the videos that are tagged about creativity. If you are interested about a recent event, such as Charlie Hebdo that happened in France a couple of weeks ago, then you can watch all the things that people have to say about this event. It's a platform that allows you to respond immediately with immediacy about current events that are in the news with your own talk. Or add videos that you find on the internet about this topic to the platform." How would you say WikiStage is an open platform? There are many ways how people can contribute. The easiest way to interact is simply to go on the website, watch the videos, then you can create an account and leave a comment and join the debate there. You can create playlist and put different videos that belong together in a playlist together. You can follow other users. But then you can get more involved. You can create your own WikiTalks. You can organise your own WikiStage events which aim to record WikiTalks that then go on the platform and produce your own content and contribute to the debate. Or if you are an expert yourself in something and you want to do a WikiTalk, you can record it and upload it to the platform. Or you can get invited to a WikiStage event that one of your friends organises. What do you hope people that participate get out of WikiStage? I hope they would feel a little more empowered and listened to when they have something to contribute on a certain topic. I hope that they discover many interesting things that will broaden their horizons. Many ideas. Many food for thought. Many short, good talks that could entertain them waiting for the bus or when they are doing the dishes. That they can put on a short WikiTalk that could enrich them intellectually in someway. I hope that people make this great experience of inviting others and curating a debate. Organising their own events is a very enriching and a very valuable experience, and I hope that people see themselves as actors and not just as consumers. As active contributors to society and to the knowledge of the world. And not just as people who are clicking, reading and watching but also commenting, contributing and even making a video of themselves. To contribute to something meaningful and bigger than themselves.
Let's get creative!
When it comes to creativity, most assume you have it or you don't. People have this idea that some are just born with it. But according to two WikiStage speakers, creativity takes time and work. Creativity is not a simple eureka moment admits Martin Kupp, associate professor for entrepreneurship at ESCP Europe. At the moment, these ideas might feel like "AH HA" moments, but you have to actively see them through. "Everyone has the creative, creative abilities that it takes to solve these kind of problems and to come up with these new ideas. But you have to work hard," Kupp says. While people tend to describe me as creative, I still have to work hard and dedicate my time. I might have several "sparks of curiosity" as creativity speaker Petronela Zainuddin calls them, but not all of my sparks turn into flames. I admit I have countless unfinished projects floating about because I never gave these sparkles a chance to become flames. I didn't nurture my ideas, and they died out. But why? After listening to both Zainuddin's and Kupp's WikiTalks, I felt inspired. When Zainuddin asked the audience to take an object out of their bags and ask 10 questions, I pulled out my journal. Why do I carry this notebook everywhere? What would happen if a stranger read it? Why did I get it in black? Would I be sad if I lost it? The questions came easily. My journal is the place where I record all my thoughts and ideas. So it was only fitting I picked it. After finishing both WikiTalks, I replayed them so I could jot down notes in my journal. I clung onto every word, and I became aware of what was holding me back. Zainuddin said it is important for one to find a passion to help turn our sparkles into creative flames. Passion. That's what had been missing from my creative endeavors and the reason why I had countless unfinished projects. Passion. That's what's necessary to maintain one's creativity.
WikiStage Coaching Session: the Role of the Internet and Social Entrepreneurships
The Internet has become a major player in our society. With its help, people are able to be involved not just in their community but around the world. On Wednesday June 10, WikiStage MakeSense addressed the role of the Internet through the wonderful words of four amazing speakers: Christian Vanizette, Des Gachons Benjamin, Julien De Sousa, and the beautiful Chloé Chambraud. Topics ranged from one’s civic duties to one’s role models. The evening started with WikiStage’s founder, Johannes Bittel, introducing WikiStage and its goal. The room was filled with beautiful faces from different backgrounds interested in what was being said. I think this shows the diverse group of people that WikiStage attracts. Christian Vanizette, Co-founder of MakeSense team, told us how with the help of the Internet, he and a few friends were able to influence the politician in his home city, Tahiti. They started a blog where they wrote about social issues that caught the attention of the politician and the media. This is how his journey started that ultimately lead him to create MakeSense, a participative platform that helps social entrepreneurs solve problems. Des Gachons Benjamin pointed out that 80 percent of French citizens do not trust their political representative. But he pointed out, "With the help of the Internet, our civic duties are not expressed every five years when we vote, but every day.” Julien De Sousa talked to us about role models and heroes. "Heroes help us better ourselves," he said. "They push us to be better." Chloé Chambraud discussed how to make an enterprise more social since social entrepreneurship gives more value to the work inside the company. She presented three characteristics of a social enterprise: it has to answer social and/or environmental needs, they are the heart of the company and it is free. After hearing the talks, listeners were given the chance to network and converse with the speakers over some delicious fingers foods in a joyful environment.