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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. 

 

Recent Blog Articles

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.  

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.     

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.   

WikiStage SoScience: improving the world through responsible research and innovation

WikiStage SoScience welcomed over 50 guests to its first WikiStage event on May 16 to learn about Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). The day was divided into three sessions, each dealing with the point of RRI and the form it can take. The first session had the difficult task of introducing the audience to the basics of RRI. Thomas Busuttil introduced the goals of RRI by answering the question, "Is sustainable development a major leverage for a new humanism?" Daphne Carthy followed by showing how responsible research can be profitable by answering the question, "How to combine responsibility and performance during the innovation processes?" Since funding is crucial to complete research, Gilles Bruneaux explained how to select research projects that can be most profitable for society. Finally, Anastasia Mandraveli convinced us about the deep relationship between innovation and law. Following a quick snack break, thanks to our partner Puerto Cacao, audience members were able to discover exceptional RRI projects during the second session. The session started in an unusual way because theatre actors “Mises en Pièces” tried to humorously explain how to cook french fries in a responsible and eco-friendly way. Akpéli Nordor talked about translational research while both Adel Mebarki and Redhouane Abdelloui showed us how social networks can be useful for future health system.    Ladislas De Toldi explained how robotics can improve the lives for some children, and Sandra Rey presented nature as an infinite source of inspiration for innovation After another break, we were ready to learn how to help RRI become viral and inspire everyone in society. This third session kicked off with another humorous skit from “Mises en Pièces” who pretended to perform irresponsible research as a way for audience members to better understand the importance of responsible research. Celya Gruson-Daniel explained the importance of developing open science for both society and for RRI. Lionel Larqué had the audience reflect about the complex relationship between science and society. The event ended with Alexandra Ivanovitch discussing new educative methodologies for the future relationship between science and society. At the end of the day, all of the participants at WikiStage SoScience were aware of RRI's goals and how crucial it is to continue spreading spread this idea over the world!

Traveling off the beaten path

I'll never forget the day I boarded my first, long distance flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Madrid, Spain. Passport clutched in my hand, my heart was pounding with adrenaline. I couldn't contain my excitement. For as long as I can remember, I've had the travel bug. I have always wanted to go and see and do. Sitting still was never an option. And four years after boarding my first long distance flight, I have been living abroad in Paris for three of those years and have visited over fifteen European countries. In his talk, "Why you should, and how you could, travel off the beaten path?" Jeremy Ximenez of WikiStage Stanford breaks down the "Where?" "How?" and "When?" for traveling off the beaten path.   Ximenez has tons of experience visiting countries that most wouldn't dare out of fear and uncertainty. While I myself haven't traveled to the countries he mentions, I have visited ones that aren't in the top five for most European travelers, and these tend to be some of my favorites. But why? In the "Where?" section, Ximenez answers that question by explaining that there are less tourists in these countries. And since there are fewer, people tend to be more hospitable and eager to meet foreigners. When I took a cab ride from the Sarajevo airport to the center of the city, my cabbie tried to give me a quick, historical tour of his city with his broken English while whizzing in and out of traffic. The man was proud of his country, and despite a language barrier, he was eager to tell a young American traveler everything he possibly could. Traveling is already something important to learn more about yourself and other cultures. But sometimes when you travel somewhere filled with tourists, it can be difficult to fully experience what the country has to offer. I've discovered that when you travel somewhere with few tourists, locals are more likely to offer a helping hand and try their hardest to ensure your visit is memorable. My stories are not as extreme as Ximenez, but they just as important to me and serve as a reminder for why I love traveling to places most people wouldn't think twice about. And this is something I keep in mind as I plan my next adventure. If you itching to travel but aren't sure where, just take a few minutes to listen to Ximenez's talk, and maybe you will have the urge to travel off the beaten path.

Wikistage - Empow’Her: Share Her Voice

Our April 16 WikiStage conference brought it back to where it all began -- the Paris campus of ESCP Europe! #ShareHerVoice Conference was an inspiring and eye-opening experience aiming to bring awareness to creating future gender equality champions. Amongst the speakers we welcomed on stage, there were quite a few amazing women. Tatiana Moura from Promundo, a Brazilian based, non-governmental organization promoting caring, non-violent and equitable masculinities and gender relations, talked about the importance of engaging men in the process of establishing gender equality.  Shannon Galpin, the founder of Mountain2Mountain, a non-profit organization fighting for women’s rights in conflict zones, spoke about her experience in Afghanistan where she worked on many projects aiming to empower women by engaging them in various activities related to education, art and sports. Galpin, who also happens to be the first person to practice mountain biking in the area, is currently supporting Afghanistan's first Women’s National Cycling team. In her powerful speech, Shannon Galpin said she always wondered why people were indifferent towards sexual violence until she realized she was one of these people. "Having a voice means taking a stand”, she said. Chloé Chambraud and Luisa de Simone, two young and ambitious volunteers, talked about their projects in Thailand. They have created a social enterprise for women affected by violence aiming to help boost these women's creativity, regain confidence and simply empower them by having them create things from recyclable materials. Charlotte Werner, junior associate at McKinsey & Company and contributor the company's the Women Matter studies, spoke about how having more women at the top means better results for companies. Later, when asked about the situation in her working establishment, Werner replied she cannot complain, and it is going in the right direction. Yann Borgsted, founder of the Womanity Foundation and the only male representative on stage that night, shared with us the story of his success. He spoke about how he created the first commercial women’s radio in the Middle East, called “Radio NISSA FM”, and how Womanity is all about pushing the boundaries of women empowerment. All in all, the atmosphere that night was empowering. Even the cocktail hour immediately following helped maintain the positive atmosphere as audience members got the chance to meet the speakers and learn even more about these organizations. If you are curious about how to get involved, check out some of the links to these wonderful organizations and stay tuned for the recordings to be posted on the website. #ShareHerVoice!

Responsible research and innovation: WikiStage SoScience

(This article is a contribution from Laurent Calmus, doctor in organic chemistry and ESPCI-ParisTech engineer, and is a preview for the WikiStage SoScience event May 16) Responsible research and innovation is an emerging concept in natural sciences. It originated in the US about 10 years ago, and it aims is to find solutions for today's social and environmental challenges. Through responsible and reflective scientific activity, methodologies and agenda, it hopes to establish sustainable and greener societies. The field is emerging, and there is much to be said about it. But since it is so new, there exist no place for participants in the field to express themselves. So we believe a WikiStage event is perfect to start a conversation. The goal of this first conference is to present responsible innovation and foster curiosity about it. After introducing the key topics, there will be different talks centered around the three following points: “The impossible becomes possible" / How to make it happen / The emergence of a new reality. It is crucial to present the different aspects of responsible research and innovation processes. For example, academic and industrial researches, funding, intellectual property and politics are essential parts in the definition and development of responsible research and innovation.  “Evidence can take so many forms” / Examples of different projects. Different exciting projects are ongoing in several research areas. To understand what is happening in responsible research and innovation at this moment, what could be better than to let researchers present their own projects and goals?  “Make it yours” / Access of the crowd. We think that responsible research and innovation can’t truly be effective without a serious relationship between researchers and society. To innovate in the right way, researchers have to be aware about society's main goals. On the other hand, society should be informed about recent researches in order to engage in discussion with the researchers. If you are curious to learn more about responsible research and innovation, feel free to attend the event on Saturday May 16 at 1 PM at ESCP Europe Paris Campus (79 Avenue de la République, 75011 Paris).  

Interview with Barkha Sengar

Barkha Sengar has recently organised WikiStage ESCP Europe on 5 different campuses across the continent. She invited speakers to deliver their WikiTalks at events spreading from Paris to Madrid to Torino, London and Berlin. Barkha is a student at ESCP Europe Paris, where she is a Master’s candidate in Management and Finance. She wanted to host the event because she saw it as a great opportunity to gain experience in leadership and event management. She says herself, “I wanted to be a leader, but when I first became an organiser I wasn’t so sure in myself […] however, after the event, I feel like a better leader and I would organise a WikiStage event again.”   The theme of the events was “Direction Europe,” which was intentionally created to give the co-organisers at the other campuses the possibility to invite the speakers whom they preferred. In total Barkha managed 36 people all over Europe, and she says that it wasn’t always easy. At one point, Barkha’s team had difficulties finding an organiser in Berlin and when they finally found one, she had to organised the event herself. However, with a new plan and a lot of encouragement they hosted a great event in Berlin. All of the WikiStage events around Europe were hosted with success thanks to Barkha and the team the she had recruited. Which brings us to another extremely important task -  recruitment. She needed people with knowledge in different fields such as marketing, raising sponsorships, finance, et cetera. Ultimately, this experience gave her an opportunity to manage and lead a team, as well as to learn a lot about team work and management. As she says “when I work in teams today I know how it is to be the leader and what responsibility that carries along.”   At the onset of the event, Barkha didn’t have much previous experience in event managing. Yet, she organised the WikiStage event with a considerable success. In fact, she did it with so much success that at the very end of it, many were interested in organizing and participating in a WikiStage event themselves.   The WikiStage team is very thankful to Barkha and other organizers who constantly invest their best efforts to maintain and further build our community. They are the most valuable part of our network and we are always looking forward to working with exciting and motivated people all over the world.

WikiStage ESCP Europe – a truly European conference series

By Sanidhya Painuli   “Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking and pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.” ― Gautama Buddha Can an inclination of a person towards knowledge change the world? If you think “No”, then meet Johannes Bittel, Founder of WikiStage, a free platform for learning and democratic debate. I met Johannes in a cafe in Berlin where he confessed his passion as a student to search on Youtube for information ranging from Electric Cars to benefits of Vegetarianism. However, he felt a bit lost because he could not easily find quality videos on many topics. As a result, he started to get involved in organizing conferences such as LSE London Development Forum at LSE and he organized the first TEDx event at a French Grande Ecole: TEDxESCP in Paris. Yet, he felt that something was wrong, that made these conferences elitist and hindered the free flow of democratic knowledge and that obtaining a license for, for example, a TEDx event is very expensive. As he elaborates that to apply to organize a larger TEDx Event one must attend a TED Conference that costs $8,500-13.500. This became the founding idea of WikiStage, where people around the globe who share the same quest and motivation can fill a simple form on www.wikistage.org and organize free WikiStage events, inviting experts in community to discuss issues ranging from education to refugees or from corruption to free speech. The first conference was organized in Paris in 2013, and since then there is no turning back. The network has seen exponential growth to 45 conferences in 2015 and in 2016, he expects a 100 unique conferences such as the recent conference at École Militaire: Necessity to think differently, where people who decide over life and death discuss what it takes to have such responsibility. He believes that this flexibility towards organizers combined with democratic and creative thinking of organizers is taking this concept to new heights such as upcoming WikiStage Conference at ESCP in March 2016. The organizers at ESCP will organize 5 conferences simultaneously in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, London, and Turin, where eminent speakers will discuss the “Good of Finance”. Recent events such as the possibility of a Brexit, the refugee crisis and debt woes of Europe, together with anemic growth have threatened or posed serious questions to the European identity and global financial order. As the future becomes uncertain ESCP Europe wants to emphasize on unity and strength of European identity, leading to an idea of 5 conferences. Christian Wortmann, president of WikiStage ESCP Europe sees a great future for the format of a unique pan-European conference which allows speakers, the audience and those who join the debate online to look at European challenges from five different perspectives. Moreover, he and his team are already working on the third edition in 2017 while organising the conference series of 2016. One team member from Madrid recently said “It is a truly European initiative and it is enriching in terms of personal network, shared knowledge and understanding of other cultures”.

#LeadersForChange - The Story Behind The New Slogan

It is easy for a successful organization to become static in what it does when it is good at it, but it takes a lot of gutsiness to redirect where the organization is going and reevaluate its vision. On my second day in, as a brand new volunteer to WikiStage, this is exactly what happened.   Founder and President Johannes Bittel told the team that WikiStage needed to really focus instead of trying to broadly cover all the most important questions of our time, or as the current slogan expresses, to #ShareWhatMatters. While having highlighted extremely interesting people and topics, such as the biological challenges of going to space or how to fully integrate transgender people into a community, WikiStage needed a more specific slogan to stay focused.   Out of this discussion, Johannes came up with the idea to specifically focus on leadership, “We are focusing on leaders, and leaders can be all kinds of people, not just celebrities. Leaders inspire by what they do, by their presence, and by their passion and involvement.” While keeping the same video debate format WikiStage hopes to make the idea of leadership a more inclusive one to show the world that there is not just one type of leader who can inspire change.   To match this new direction, WikiStage is now adopting the new slogan: #LeadersForChange. This slogan specifies the type of leadership WikiStage wants to focus on - the positive type. And what does positive leadership mean to Johannes? “There is this very inspiring quote from this German rock band that I really like ‘It is not your fault that the world is as it is, but it would be your fault if it stays that way.’ Yes, it is not our fault that we live in a world that has nuclear weapons, it is not the young people’s fault or my fault that people have been discriminated in the past; but if I do not act and do something and change something and I leave this world at the end of my life without having brought any positive change then it is partly my responsibility that the world is as I have left it.”   With this in mind, WikiStage will focus on all types of leaders who are bringing about positive change in their communities and beyond, to highlight positive role models in a time when it is so easy to focus on all of the negative that is happening. It is still the same organization that provides a space for free speech to help people connect and share their ideas and knowledge, the same organization which has helped people access information through open debate, and the same organization which hopes to make the world a better place.   Join us and become one of the world’s #LeadersForChange !

WikiStage: What's next?

For those of you who are fairly new to the concept of WikiStage, allow me to spend a few paragraphs explaining our mission and achievements so far. Back in 2013 when we started this project with an event at ESCP Europe, we wanted to establish a network of events around the world that would tackle different issues, from start-up entrepreneurship to Immanuel Kant’s philosophy.               We set ourselves a mission to use modern technology to revolutionize the way events are organized worldwide. Only 20 years ago, the reach of most conferences was restricted to their immediate audiences. Some of these events were probably very inspiring (some of them probably only had an exciting buffet), but there is no way for us to check that unless we know someone who went. Today, the situation has unfortunately not changed that much. Still, there are hundreds of events worldwide that are either not recorded or are recorded in such a way that makes it impossible to follow, or share on social media. For example: the videos are too long (4 hour long videos with all event talks and discussions), the videos look boring (shot from one position), the individual talks are way too long (2-hour dictator-addresses-the-United-Nations style talk with the help of a PowerPoint presentation). Luckily, things do not have to be like that anymore. Digitalize the events! It is the sharing revolution. It is the death of PowerPoint. Our events have not always been TED-like events with audience of thousands; we wanted to include smaller events - WikiStage Corners, where speakers give talks to a smaller audience. The common denominator of all these conferences is not just the WikiStage branding but also the fact that all event talks (short, focused - WikiTalks) were recorded and published on WikiStage.org. The idea was to give an opportunity to mainly young and enthusiastic people to organize events and give their speakers a global audience, regardless where in the World they are, or the lack of finance or logistics they might be facing if they wanted to organize a full-fledged high profile conference. The idea was not just to digitalize events, but also to democratize them.                  Three years later, we take a look back and we can say we have succeeded in making WikiStage a global brand. With a network of over 500 volunteers we have organized more than 70 events on 4 different continents. We have had over 350 speakers, total number of Facebook followers of all WikiStage pages has exceeded 55.000 and people have spent 2 years equivalent of time watching our WikiTalks. Beyond our initial partner ESCP Europe, we partnered up for individual confrences and recordings with the World Bank Group, SUEZ Environment, YESS, MEDEF, OuiShare, the French Embassy in Berlin, Maison de l'Europe de Paris, and many other. What’s next? We are still far from done in our mission to revolutionize the way ideas travel from events to audiences. Our next mission is to become THE platform for event talks. We seek to establish partnerships with event organizers around the world in order to add their event talks to our platform. We add the talks to different #debates in order to have videos on similar issues from a variety of events at one place, where the users can have a comprehensive overview of the issue, compare different positions, and vote for the best talks.  There are several types of partnerships we offer to conference organizers. The most lightweight is the one when events are already perfectly recorded, speeches are already short and focused, everything is online and ready to be shared. In this case, we only integrate the videos on our platform. In this way, we give not only a bigger audience to these event talks, but also an opportunity to compare them to the ones from other, related events. Further on, in case an event is filmed but the video is too long and/or shot from one position, we offer two types of partnerships. First, our video editing crew edits your event video and publishes all event talks on our platform. Second option, which can work together with the first: our film production crew records your next event, edits the talks, makes them look awesome and we, again, publish them on WikiStage.org. And, as they say in those cheesy TV commercials - that is not all!   A closer WikiStage partnership includes our team of professional presentation coaches who help the speakers of a partner-event prepare their talks and rock the stage. Short and focused talks that have a long-lasting impact on the audience and a potential to go viral – this is the format they teach the speakers through really amazing workshops and individual coaching sessions. Organizers can also, in case they are not already using a similar format, opt for organizing WikiTalks as a distinct part of their conference. A great example for this would be an academic conference. Imagine having, for example, a group of leading physicists dealing with the theory of relativity doing WikiTalks next to their main, scientific event, in order to transmit their knowledge to the general audience. Amazing, right?         Will we become THE platform for event talks three years from now? We will do it even before, because we are not just a platform, but we offer a full service to event organizers, in-house, in one organization - WikiStage - led by young people (all employees are less than 30 years old), true to its original mission and enthusiastic about making the World a better place. Are you an event organizer and you are interested in becoming a partner of WikiStage in any of the ways described? Contact us at partners(at)wikistage.org. Do you want to organize a WikiStage event? Check out the organizer guide and get in touch with us!

The Power Of Leaders For Change Like You

As teenager, I spent many hours listening to this German rock band called "Die Ärzte” and in one of their songs, the main theme goes something like this:  “It is not your fault that the world is as it is, yet, it would be your fault if it stays that way”. It is enough to watch the news any given day, or simply to pay attention to the less fortunate around you to realise that there is a lot of suffering, hatred and injustice in the world. Change is desperately needed. When Obama ran his 2008 campaign on “Change”, he made a very clear case that, obviously, he wasn’t talking about “negative change”. When initiatives, such as Change.org chose their name, it was clear to them that nobody would misunderstand their intentions and think: “They may want to change the world for the worse”. When we say change, we mean positive change.  “Time is neutral" There is one speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., called “The American Dream”. It is a little less known than his famous “I have a dream” speech but to me it is even more powerful and I admire it. In his plea against racial injustice, he makes the point that time won’t bring about justice by itself. Time is neutral. What is needed to bring about the desired change is that people stand for what they believe in and actively make it happen. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."Margaret Mead If change doesn’t occur naturally over time, then individuals have to make it happen. Somebody has to decide: This has to change! Things can’t go on like that. Somebody has to assemble the courage to stand up and say: I will do things differently. I think something else is possible and I’m willing to commit myself. I am willing to take responsibility. This, to me, is the definition of leadership. You don’t need to be a world leader or a celebrity to show leadership. Incredibly important changes happen in the small details of every day life. How much kindness do we show to the people around us? Are we making the groups we come in contact with a little better? Leaders for Change No change ever happens without this kind of leadership. Change is an abstract concept and if we want to make it actionable and be serious about it, we have to pay attention to people, because they are the agents of change. Every one of us can and should strive to be a “Leader for Change”. Why WikiStage as a network for change? As video platform and network of conference organisers, what we can do is to celebrate Leaders for Change and give their ideas and initiatives a stage. Our hope is that by directing the spotlight on those who decide to publicly speak out about their ideas and convictions, others will get inspired and feel empowered to bring about change themselves.  We connect leaders and ideas in the real world at WikiStage events and online on the WikiStage.org video platform. Visitors of the website can see the best talks of a speaker on his or her profile as well as the other videos that have been recorded at our conferences. We attribute each video to a larger debate with a hashtag, for example #ClimateChange or #HumanRights and allow users to upvote their favourite videos for every cause. The “Wiki” in WikiStage When visitors upvote videos for a debate, they collectively decide about the best ideas and contributions on any given topic. Thanks to your vote, the best videos rise to the top of the wall of that debate. It is the community who ultimately decides what inspires them and whose ideas deserve to get the most attention. Thanks to other user’s votes, we all now have a way to quickly learn about the most important contributions on the issues. Simply by watching the top rated videos, we can learn about different perspectives from the brightest minds who  spoke in public about the issue. We can do more than just “vote" Similar to our democratic process, some will simply vote and some will want to shape the debate more actively. There are many forums and social media websites on the internet where anybody can share anything. At WikiStage, we have chosen our format: we connect people at real life events and share the ideas on our platform with videos. If you want to become an active part in one of our debates, we invite you to become an independent WikiStage Conference organiser and to give a stage to those people who you believe deserve to be heard. After you obtain our license through our website, our non-profit organisation will guide and advise you to help you create a meaningful event with valuable contributions - and the best thing: the license is completely free.  

WikiStage ANAJ-IHEDN : In France, we don't have oil - but young people with ideas !

 « In France rather than having petrol, we have the young with brilliant ideas » That was the theme of the first edition of the WikiStage ANAJ-IHEDN, held on the 4th of February in the magnificent premises of the Ecole Militaire, located right in the heart of Paris. L’ANAJ-IHEDN or the National Association of Young Auditors from the High Studies of National Defence Institute is the first French association of young professionals focusing on defence and security issues. Hosting 600 attendees, the room was crowded when François Mattens, the director of l’ANAJ-IHEDN gave the opening speech, including the How and Why of this event.  Strengthened by the numerous comities and their representatives, François Mattens and his team came up with the idea to give an on-stage voice to each of them, therefore making an evening of 16 WikiTalks, all given by committed members of their organization. Thanks to this WikiStage, and to the organisation team, led by Pierre Marey-Semper, in charge of the Committee for South America, the audience had the chance to participate in a remarkable WikiStage. The main rule told to the speaker was: “Please yourself! If you enjoy it, the audience will follow you!” And that worked! Built around strong, hard and serious topics, the WikiTalks have been created and given with humour and intelligence. They were amusing while debating on sensitive subjects. We finally got a chance to laugh at the best fails of ISIS, to meet Raoul and his troll face, to listen to the sad story of our red coins and to see a General getting back to his 20’s suit. After 2 hours of great WikiTalks, it was the time to leave the spectacular premises, and to look forward the next edition. In the meantime, we will be able to enjoy over and over their performances as their WikiTalks will soon be on our platform, making sure to keep their messages in our minds.

Interview mit WikiStage Gründer Johannes Bittel

WikiStage – Bildung im Videoformat?   Wessen Schulzeit ähnlich kurz zurück liegt wie meine, wird verstehen, dass das Internet als Quelle eine zweiseitige Medaille ist. Obwohl Fachartikel zu jedem Thema sofort verfügbar sind, fördert deren hochwissenschaftlicher Charakter einen potenziellen Wissensdurst ebenso wenig wie der meist routinierte, trockene Schulunterricht. Auf eine Möglichkeit, Expertenwissen in prägnanter und ansprechender Weise vermittelt zu bekommen, stoße ich erst heute: WikiStage.org ist eine kollaborative Videoplattform, die Bildung interessant gestalten will. Wie das funktioniert, erklärt Johannes Bittel.     Herr Bittel, bitte stellen Sie sich einmal kurz vor! Mein Name ist Johannes Bittel, ich komme aus Süddeutschland und bin der Gründer von WikiStage. Nach Abschluss meines Auslandsstudiums habe ich 2013 begonnen, mit meinem Team daran zu arbeiten, ein Netzwerk zum Austausch von Wissen und Ideen zu schaffen.      Wie funktioniert dieses Netzwerk?  Ich glaube, dass heute sehr viele Menschen eine politische Meinung oder fachliches Wissen haben, die sie mit dem Rest der Welt teilen könnten. Dank dem Internet sind wir in der Lage weltweit zu kommunizieren, was uns hier jedoch fehlt, ist eine zentrale Plattform, die die Beiträge bündelt und in einem leicht zugänglichen Format präsentiert. Wir möchten über kurze Videos einen Ideenaustausch ermöglichen an dem jeder teilnehmen kann.     Mit welchen Themen befasst sich dieser Austausch? Wir sind ein Netzwerk von Konferenzveranstaltern, die jeweils unabhängig ein Thema für ihre Veranstaltungen wählen. Die Vortragenden geben dann ihre individuelle Perspektive zum jeweiligen Thema in ihrem “WikiTalk”; die Themenwahl erfolgt also durch die einzelnen Mitwirkenden.  Besonders populär sind aktuell etwa Unternehmertum, Kreativität und Glück, Beiträge zu Jazz oder Napoleon sind allerdings ebenso gefragt.      Was unterscheidet WikiStage von anderen Videoplattformen? WikiStage dient als globale Diskussionsplattform, die es ermöglicht, kostenlos Wissen und Meinungen im direkten Austausch zu diskutieren und damit demokratische Debatten nicht nur in Parlamenten, sondern auf Ebene der Bürger stattfinden zu lassen. Im Vergleich zum anonymisierten Überfluss populärer Videoportale, bieten wir einen thematisch strukturierten Dialog, in dem jedem Besucher eine Stimme verliehen wird. Dabei ist uns der persönliche Austausch ebenso wichtig wie der digitale; auf den WikiStage Events werden nicht nur WikiTalks aufgenommen, sondern auch Menschen mit ähnlichen Interessen, Zielen und Passionen zusammengebracht.      Dem globalen Austausch steht nicht selten die Sprachbarriere im Weg. In welchen Sprachen findet er bei Ihnen statt? Das Projekt ist erst seit kurzem in Deutschland aktiv, im Vordergrund standen bisher die englische und die französische Sprache. In Zukunft möchten wir die Inhalte auf Deutsch jedoch ausbauen.  Beiträge in anderen Sprachen sind uns ebenso willkommen, etwa so fand vor kurzem in Lima, Peru die WikiStage Weltbank-Konferenz auf Spanisch statt.     Was kann WikiStage bewegen? Ich finde, jedes einzelne Video verändert schon etwas, wenn es nur einigen Zuschauer hilft, ein Thema besser zu verstehen oder sich eine eigene Meinung zu bilden. Die WikiStage Events geben Menschen, die etwas zu sagen haben, eine Bühne, von der aus sie ihr Wissen nicht nur mit Anwesenden einer Konferenz, sondern mit der ganzen Welt teilen können.  Mit jeder Veranstaltung tragen wir ein kleines Stück dazu bei, dass Menschen etwas dazu lernen, ihren Horizont erweitern und Stück für Stück eine informiertere, interessiertere und demokratischere Gesellschaft entsteht.     Gibt es Potenzial damit auch auf politischer Ebene mitzuwirken? Unsere Hoffnung ist, dass die Sammlung von Expertenwissen und -meinungen sowie das Zusammenkommen verschiedener Interessengruppen zum selben Thema auch das Interesse politischer Entscheidungsträger wecken wird, die mithilfe der populärsten Videos die Meinung der internationalen Gemeinschaftkennen lernen können.     Können Sie sich vorstellen, direkten Einfluss auf die Bildung in deutschen Schulen zu nehmen? Auf der einen Seite können die von uns angebotenen Expertenvideos leichterdings als kurzes und verständliches Material in den Unterricht integriert werden.  Andererseits ist es heutzutage wichtiger als je zuvor, öffentlich sprechen und mittels einer Präsentation überzeugen zu können, das ist eine Kompetenz, die meiner Ansicht nach auch in der Schule unterrichtet werden sollte. Zur Gestaltung von Kursen bieten wir gerne unsere Unterstützung an, zum Beispiel hat an einer Pariser Universität kürzlich eine Gruppe von Studenten anstelle eines Examens einen WikiTalk gehalten. Nicht nur unserem Schulunterricht wird also zukünftig etwas mehr Farbe verliehen, sondern jeder von uns kann, unabhängig von Alter oder Nationalität, auf dieser Plattform mehr verstehen, Neues entdecken und seine eigene Meinung einbringen. Das Start-Up macht einen Unterschied, getreu Bittel’s Motto „Let’s make a difference!“