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6 Tips to Make your Event More Attractive for Sponsors from Organizer of WikiStage HEC Alger

Hello everybody, my name is Aniss and I was the main organizer of the 4th edition of WikiStage HEC Algiers: Leaders 2.0! Before jumping onto our main subject, I wanted to thank you all for being part of our WikiStage family. I encourage you to keep making efforts for a positive change in your environment because organizing a WikiStage event is all about impact. My main goal while I’m writing you today is to share with you how we as a team managed to get help from companies, and most important - what things were most difficult for us during the process of organizing an event that hosts 600 people each year and has a team of 60 organizers. Let’s start with the things you should do if you want to make a successful WikiStage event:   1. Start early! No matter what’s the size of your event, no matter how many people will be organizing it, if you start 2 months before the set date of your WikiStage event it’s too late. Sponsors tend to prefer being part of the process of organizing an event quite early, so the earlier you start the better. Companies also don’t like working in the urge so it’s always better to reach out to them months before the due date. Something I’d also like to share is that as a Project Manager, I was too focused on networking and that made my team uneasy and doubtful about the chances of making it. We ended up having some minor grudges during the process. This leads to the next point.   2. Your theme needs to be chosen wisely Depending on the theme of your WikiStage event a company is more or less likely to be your partner. Why? Because some companies don’t like to be involved in politics, for example, an industrial company has nothing to do in an event that’s aimed for agriculture and so on... So chose wisely, and target companies that share the same values as the theme you want to work on.   3. Teamwork You can’t possibly do everything alone, trust your teammates and associate them to your decisions as hard as it can be for us to not be in control... it’s for the better. As a project manager you can’t be in charge of everything, so make one of your team members responsible for sponsoring part. The time is limited and if you can’t give your full trust to the team, the event won’t happen! One of the mistakes I made was that I relied too much on myself at first. Listening to your teammates and exposing your problems to them might help you have a better chance of getting a sponsor. For example: I had approached a company without any contact while one of my teammates knew someone in there. If I had shared with my teammates this info I would have gained lots of time. So - share your thoughts and listen to your team more often. The communication between all team members is really important. In the end, what is crucial is that during the process of getting sponsors and partners you need a maximum of contacts and the best network.   4. Your sponsoring document is your ID! If you want to have an interview for an eventual sponsoring, your sponsoring document needs to be the best, not just good, the absolute best! It has to contain all the information about what you achieved as a team before, your event, why you are organizing it, when, where etc... all information needed for sponsors to understand better the context of your event.   5. Always choose a direct contact with the company Most of the companies will start by asking you to send your sponsoring folder (like I said it’s your ID) but sometimes it happens that they ask directly for an interview.  Never refuse that! If you can get in touch with one person from the company directly, you are more likely to get something from them.   6. Be honest about your intentions, problems, strengths, and weaknesses The relationship between a sponsor and a young team trying to make an event like WikiStage is bound to fail if it starts by lies. No company will ask you to be the perfect team and to have everything ready... what they see in you is potential and talent and they want to help by any means not only money. Just be honest, be ambitious, and be tenacious because you are going to fail multiple times before getting your first partner. Be patient - good work often takes times.   I prefer sharing my mistakes with you - the future organizers of WikiStage, hoping that you won’t do the same when the times comes:   - Never go unprepared to an interview with a company. If they see that you are not in control of your subject, you have nearly 0% chances of succeeding - Be sure to have the means necessary to receive the money, goods, or any support the company might accept to give you. One of the few mistakes we made as a team was to reach out to companies that agreed to support us, but in the end, we couldn’t receive that help because we didn’t have a bank account for example. So, try to see the limitations that you have, and find solutions to overcome it as quickly as possible. - Organizing an event = making a plan: I can hear you from my place saying: I have everything in control don’t worry... Yeah, I know, but write it down and expose it to your team. You can plan everything in your head but your solutions may not be the best and another point of views are always welcome. In addition to that, sponsors won’t read your mind, they want to see your plans black on white, written in a perfect, clear and easy to understand language. W.R.I.T.E. I.T. D.O.W.N.! - This one is quite difficult... it may vary depending on your region/country but as hard as it may be, you have to affirm yourself as the Chief/Leader/Manager (depending on your personality) and even if it displeases some people (or others don’t consider you as such) you have to keep going on and make the project the priority and make things move. As a WikiStage Project Manager you may have to lead teams like mine, which had about 60 people, so be patient and try hearing out everybody and solve the interpersonal issues. Depending on the situation you may have to take the decision of dropping a partner for the benefit of the other, so don’t be scared and take the best decision you can think of. Egos are not something you should care about, your goal as an individual and as a team is to make the conference a reality, and decisions need to be taken. - Last but not the least, don’t forget that it is supposed to be FUN! You are friends, you are a team, you’re in a process of learning how to work as a whole not as individuals. If you can sell yourself as a team, it will be easier to get sponsors.   As silly as my advice may appear, they are quite effective. And here’s why:   • During our edition of WikiStage HEC Algiers, more than 50% of our contacts came from our team members, more than 50% was set up thanks to the same team members, and the final sponsors were all with us because of same those team members • We were taken seriously because we had a plan, a vision, and a document to attest of what we were aiming for • We never lied nor gave promises we couldn’t accomplish • Even if we had conflicts, we always put the event before anything else • Problems always happen, but it’s how you deal with them that changes everything • Trust your team and let them take responsibility (even when it means not taking credits for something you did) nobody will be remembered as THE ORGANIZER, but THE TEAM will be remembered as the best   Organizing an event is not like solving a math problem, you will all have a different result even if you follow the same steps. So be patient, try finding the right solutions and don’t waste time blaming people. As for me, you can contact me whenever you want if needed.   Once again, thank you for being part of the great WikiStage family and good luck! May the force be with you!

My experience as a WikiStage Jijel organizer

 In the year 2017, I was just a normal university student.  The highest of my dreams was to get good marks and spend my summer by watching series and going to the beach.       Only one year after, I found myself among the organizing team of the best cultural event in Jijel – the WikiStage. My inspiration to join a WikiStage Community came from other WikiStage events, such as WikiStage Algiers and WikiStage Batna in Algeria, and other events like WikiStage Paris and WikiStage Cairo outside of Algeria.      Since that day, the hard work has started, lack of sleep has come, and the stress got his pick… We got so many neglections, so much ignorance, and so much criticism. But all those obstacles didn’t stop us and didn’t put us down. Those negative sides just made us stronger! The support of our community gave us one more reason to give all our best to make this event happen. We wanted to show them who we are and what the WikiStage really is. The big day was on September 1st, 2018. The day we have been waiting and working hard for - the WikiStage Jijel event day. "Stories Worth Telling" was the theme of our conference. The organizing team started the preparations in the Culture House at 8 AM. The whole team was divided into few smaller teams: team for the check-in, the team for controlling the technical work, the team for organizing the coffee break etc.  At 11 AM, we opened the gate to welcome the audience. We were so surprised when we saw the crowd! We have expected 450, but there were 600 participants, which was a great success for us. The check-in was well organized, the audience was very respectful and was following the instructions. The speakers came on time, as well as the photographers. At 12 PM, as it was planned, the event has begun. The animator started with the opening ceremony and gave the audience extra energy and excitement before the speakers’ WikiTalks.     Everything was according to the program: we had 6 speeches, 2 debates, a coffee break, and a musical performance.    The WikiTalks overcame our expectations.  The speakers gave us a great amount of inspiration and motivation by sharing with us their "stories worth telling". We closed our event with a raffle in which we got eight lucky winners!

The Power of Saying YES to a WikiStage Talk Request!

In 2013 I have taught a Public Speaking course at the Teacher Education College in Southern Algeria. The class was an opportunity for me to help learners be outspoken and use communicative skills for social change. One of the topics that I discussed with my students was the importance of saying “no”. At that time, I was inciting them to say no to tyranny and oppression and also to learn to say no when they are not ready to commit. Often, out of shyness or complacency, we say yes to everything and then under-deliver what we promised.   After that, I left to finish my doctorate at Syracuse University in the US. Towards the end of my stay, I was approached by one of my bright students telling me how transformative “learning to say no" was to her. She said: "I am going to say no to an opportunity that was waiting for me and my team". I said: "Wait!” I changed my mind. After a lot of pondering I discovered that I was wrong. I told her: “Say yes!” Because I came to realize we live in a world with shrinking opportunities. After her apparent confusion, she said: "Sounds great! And by the way, we are organizing a WikiStage event in Djelfa and we would love if you can come and talk". I immediately said “no”. I could see clearly that she was very confused because she was certain I was going to walk the talk and say “yes”. She told me: “First you teach us to say no, now you are telling me to say yes and when I ask you, you say no.” Out of embarrassment and in an effort to be the role model I should be, I said yes and embroiled myself into podium panic!   It took me a long time to choose my title. I wanted a positive topic to navigate the ocean of despair and negativity that I think prevails among Algerian youth scene after the frustrations of the Arab awakening. I wanted a topic that speaks to the audience that shares with me the same impoverished background. The talk location was just 50 km from my birthplace. I was born and raised in a region in Algeria with a lot of poverty, despair, school drop-outs, and deteriorating infrastructure. I wanted to share my success story with one idea that seemed to be the basis for all my breakthroughs.   After a lot of hesitation, I had the “eureka” moment! “The Power of Saying Yes” is a big idea. Fast-forward to the day of the presentation, I talked about how saying yes to helping people, saying yes to opportunities and engagement boomeranged in my life and enriched my CV without initially intending it, diversified my background and led me to where I am today - an education specialist and project manager in leading international institutes. My main cry was: “Say YES, do good things, they will come back and haunt you in a positive way.” When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook, he did not think of creating a company. I watched him say in one of the interviews: "I was convinced that someone will someday build something like Facebook for the world, but not me". He thought that it would be a company that already had thousands of engineers. He spoke about all the social pressures that he had. But saying yes led him to be a billionaire, and most importantly a game-changer in the 21st century. I concluded my talk by emphasizing the importance of relationships and how treating people with respect and kindness will also boomerang in a very serendipitous way. The last slide was a quote that really changed my life. Mark Twain once said: "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe Harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”   When young activists do this, they’ll have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Only the sky will be the limit!

How to find speakers for your event?

Finding someone who can connect with your audience, be it an entrepreneur, a scientist, an artist, a community leader or a local hero is essential. WikiTalks are at the very heart of WikiStage and it is extremely important to find the right speakers for your event. Before you start, here are two questions to ask yourself:   Who is my audience? Think of what issues or concerns they want to address, what problems they would want to be solved, or what is their passion?   What do you want from your speaker? Decide what you expect them to bring to your event, and how they are going to help you achieve your goals. Is it to motivate, educate or entertain your audience?     When you define answers to these two questions, you are ready to start. Here are some tips on how to find matching speakers for your WikiStage event:    1. Use your own network Your colleagues and friends may be able to refer you to a speaker that they have personally seen in action or they personally know. Also, you could find expert speakers by connecting with organizations and clubs in your field.   2.  Use the Internet Start with searching through your LinkedIn network of mutual contacts, YouTube and other social media. Seek out professionals who are developing content that is being read and shared by readers online.   3. Check your local university Professors can be ideal speakers because they are skilled communicators and educators. Also, many universities have a speakers bureau that connects conferences and event organizers like you with professionals interested in speaking opportunities.   4.  Look to nonprofits in your area Leaders in NGO are often very active in the community and are likely to share their experience. Consider a local nonprofit as a potential resource for a speaker.   5. Attendee feedback Always keep the desires of attendees in mind. Collect attendee feedback to see if they can recommend a speaker they are interested in hearing from.   As an event organizer, you are well aware of the role that speakers can play in the success of your event. Event organizers often tell us that they find it more difficult to find women speakers. Nevertheless, we think is worth the extra effort to look for great female speakers. A good mix and balance is a very enriching ingredient in every WikiStage conference. If you get a line-up of who can deliver excellent content to your audience, then you’re likely to have a very successful event. 

How to find sponsors for your event?

Even though finding sponsors is just one piece to the event puzzle, it’s vital for your event. For many event organizers, potential sponsors are hard to find. Providing sponsorship involves a lot of hustle compared to other organizational initiatives. But this doesn’t have always to be so difficult. Follow this 4-step guide that will help you find sponsors, and build smart relationships with them, one step at a time:                                             1.   Build a list of potential sponsors   The first step is to create a list of sponsors. Here you should think about - who could be interested to support your event?   When researching potential sponsors, start with your personal network. Then find out who has sponsored similar events in your city in the past and which companies would be interested to be presented to your audience. Contact the companies from your list to ask who makes sponsorship decisions, so that your proposal goes to the right person. As you build your list, create a spreadsheet to keep track of your outreach progress.     2.   Make the first contact online   The first email you will send to potential sponsors should be concise and to the point. Let them know why you chose to reach out to them specifically, and most important - give them the answer to the question: why should they sponsor your event?   Provide them with the next information:   -Your event’s mission or cause (what differentiates your event from others) -Your event’s audience (show how many people a sponsor could reach and what defines your audience) - How they will benefit (on-stage announcements, logo placements, website marketing, email marketing, social media/press mentions, etc.)   At the end of the email request for a short meeting, so you can work together to customize your proposal.   3.    Follow up with those who didn’t respond   It’s important to remain consistent and maintain close contact, especially when you don’t hear back from your leads right away. Simple statements that require a short feedback work the best here. Sometimes your prospects simply don’t like what you’re offering. Try to provide as many alternatives as possible, whether it’s about the channel of communication, your sponsorship package, or any other important aspects of the pitch.   4.   Measure ROI data and present it to the sponsors after the event    After the event is finished, be prepared to supply each of your sponsors with evidence that you fulfilled your commitments to them. This can be done by: - taking photos - uploading WikiTalk videos on the YouTube Channel and sharing links with sponsors - monitoring media coverage - headcount - social media mentions - attendee data collected (satisfaction, pre/post awareness, etc.) - unique website visitors   or any other evidence that proves your event was successful.   Securing event sponsors is never an easy task, but with the right resources and strategy, this can be much simpler and more enjoyable than you expect. The secret to how to get event sponsors is to understand their needs and be flexible enough to meet them. And in the end, your main goal is to organize an exceptional event that people will enjoy and talk about!

How to choose the name for your WikiStage event?

WikiStage Stanford, WikiStage Berlin, WikiStage HEC Alger, WikiStage New Cairo - These are only some of the WikiStage Event Names of past WikiStage Conferences. If you are planning to organize a WikiStage Event yourself you probably wonder: how will I call my WikiStage event?   Since our first event in 2013, we have grown into a network of more than 100 event organizers in 15 countries. Currently, we have 60 upcoming events all around the world, and this number is increasing rapidly!   That's why a very important detail for us is the exact name of your license. Every WikiStage event is identified by its license name, for example: “WikiStage Stanford” or “WikiStage Maison de l’Europe de Paris”.    The number of licenses that we give out every week is growing fast, and it often happens that there is more than one event in the same city. Because of this, we have established a set of principles for event names, so that your audience and speakers can best identify the nature of your event and who is organizing it.   For this reason, for example, it is not possible to obtain very large and broad license names, such as “WikiStage Italy” (name of a country) or “WikiStage Alps” (name of a large region) neither for generic topics, such as “WikiStage Medicine” or “WikiStage Marketing”.  We also don't give out licenses for too short names with only 2 or 3 letters, like an acronym - there needs to be an additional word to make it more specific.    Sometimes we even receive several applications for the same event name. If two people apply for, say, "WikiStage Paris", it's first come first serve. If we have already given out the license for a name, we can't give it to somebody else anymore. However, it is possible that you organise a WikiStage event in the same city where another WikiStage event already exists - what you need to do is chose a license name that is clearly different from the existing one in your city.   We would like your license name to reflect either: - the name of your association, organization, university or company - The name of the area within the city - with large cities: the name of your district, a monument or a parc that symbolizes your district - the name of the location where the event is held, for example: Oslo library, or Théâtre de Châtelet. We would like to find a name together with you that more specifically represents who you are and where you will be organizing the event. We would like you to choose and be happy with your license name.   By choosing the right name for your WikiStage event you will make it clear to your audience, speakers and sponsors who you are and which city or organization you represent. We hope that with these rules we can allow many people to contribute to share fresh ideas and change the world - one event at a time.

Your WikiTalk on Wikipedia

This weekend, we entered into an official partnership which turns WikiStage into a real-world stage for Wikipedia. We are often asked: what is our link with Wikipedia and why did we chose the name “WikiStage” in the first place? Sharing knowledge openly is in our DNA and with Wikipedia, we share the ambition to create a vast pool of knowledge, to democratise, to decentralise and to encourage as many people as possible to collaboratively share so that we all can benefit from our collective wisdom. This is why we called our stage “Wiki”. Wikipedia is mostly text and our format at WikiStage are videos. At WikiStage Conferences, independent organisers record videos of the WikiTalks of the speakers. We publish these videos on YouTube, embed them into the WikiStage.org platform and share them on Twitter Facebook. This way, we can offer a broad and global reach to the videos filmed by local WikiStage Event organisers. As videos increasingly gain in importance, Wikipedia is encouraging efforts to bring more and more videos to its encyclopedia and other Wiki-Projects. This is where WikiStage is the perfect match: we produce videos of experts sharing ideas and knowledge at every WikiStage event - and now we will make our videos available to the media database behind Wikipedia: the Wikimedia Commons. This is the essence of our partnership agreement with Wikimedia France. For our speakers this is fantastic news: with a bit of luck, your talk could be on Wikipedia! Wikipedia requires videos which are uploaded to have an open license: Creative Commons CC BY SA. This license allows users to use the videos freely as long as the source is credited and the newly created video is shared under the same open license. We encourage all WikiStage speakers to log in to www.wikistage.org and grant us permission to use their video with this “Wikipedia-ready” license. For Event Organisers: this is one more reason to chose WikiStage as format for your event! Equally, for speakers, this is an extra encouragement to give your best in your WikiTalk! WikiStage becomes a stage for Wikipedia.

WikiStage - how is it unique?

WikiStage is a non-profit Wiki Project of event organisers who create a free library of educational videos. How is this different from Wikipedia, YouTube, TED and open university lectures? At the heart of WikiStage are WikiTalks, where experts address one specific question in 3, 6 or 9 minutes. These WikiTalks are recorded at WikiStage events and uploaded as short educational clips to the free video library of WikiStage online.    Wiki Spirit and Wiki Project We love the spirit in which Wikipedia editors engage and contribute to what has become the largest encyclopaedia on the planet. This “Wiki Spirit”, which causes people to collaborate to create this vast text-based library, inspired our choice to associate our project with the Wiki brand. With WikiStage, we want to build a “Wiki Project” where people work together in a similar spirit.   How is a WikiTalk different from a Wikipedia article? Besides the obvious difference of text vs. video, the content of a WikiTalk can be very different from a Wikipedia article. While Wikipedia lets its articles be edited by a great number of people, a WikiTalk is given by one expert who is responsible for his content.  Diversity is created at WikiStage when one particular question is addressed by different experts in several WikiTalks. For this reason, we do not expect our speakers to simply cite factual information but to bring otherwise dry knowledge to life and to make it relevant and accessible. At times, what counts is not just the content of a message, but also who delivers it, and how.   A common format for educational videos At WikiStage, we love the freedom that video platforms, such as YouTube, provide to the user. Unlike traditional TV, people are now empowered to create their own content and to watch what they are interested in whenever they need it. However, we do not consider a commercial video platform to be a Wiki Project. For this, the content is too diverse and the users do not work together towards a common objective. What we propose to establish with WikiStage is a library of educational videos where users can expect a consistent format and quality content.   How is it different to TED? While TED has one main event and all TEDx events are only small satellites, we at WikiStage understand that each new organiser makes our community stronger and a stronger community can give greater visibility to each organiser. WikiStage is shaped by a creative community of idealists who can create better events by adapting to their local situation and by allowing their teams to be creative.   Ideas for Change We are a non-profit association created by students in Paris. Our bottom-up organisation is supported by grassroot-style volunteers who believe in our potential impact for free education.  Our objective is not to spread ideas from a few to many, but to share them from many to many. WikiStage is not about selecting only the top 1% of the talks that may change the world, but our aim is to create a searchable video library of intriguing questions through a Wiki Project that invites you to contribute. This is why we offer not just the format of big events; we propose the additional format: WikiStage Café. We strive to make it easy for you to become an event organiser and instead of imposing a large catalogue of rules, we trust and support you when you decide to enrich our collective puzzle with your piece of knowledge.   Curiosity vs teaching Universities are a great place to host WikiStage events. This raises the question of how WikiStage is different from traditional conferences or open online courses. We know that at times, professors and conference speakers tend to get into a speaking or teaching routine that focuses more on giving you the information or the answers rather than to arouse your interest for the question. At WikiStage events, we work to create an environment that encourages the expert to use the short time of a WikiTalk to help the audience understand why he is passionate about his subject and why his question should matter to us. “Ideas for Change” expresses our ambition that new generation of innovators share new and bold ideas to change our societies and improve the status quo.  The objective of a WikiTalk is to create an open and global community to share Ideas for Change.

How to become WikiStage Event Organiser?

You like the idea of organising your own WikiStage event? We love that and we would like to help you to get started. Here’s how you get the license to organise your own event and some tips on what is important to make your event fly.   1) Know why you want to organise it Get informed; read the information on this website and decide if you share our vision and values. There are many reasons why you may want to organise your own event. Here are some examples: You… … experienced the magic of a WikiStage event yourself and want to create this experience for your friends and colleagues … share our believe that learning can and should be fun and curiosity deserves to be celebrated … are passionate about something and would like to bring like-minded people together … can think of a number of remarkable people whose knowledge deserves a greater audience … would like to add your piece to the puzzle and help share the knowledge of the world …want to join a growing international community of event organisers …like the entrepreneurial experience you gain by organising your own high-quality event. Or maybe you just do it to let the people you know have a great time and see a smile on their face. In contrast, if you want to do it to pursue your own agenda, such as promoting your company, product, political party, religion or world-view, then WikiStage is not for you. At WikiStage, we celebrate a diversity of perspectives with an open-minded, fact-based approach. The dogmatic and unquestioned postulation of one truth is not compatible with our understanding of “curiosity”. We equally discourage you from becoming a WikiStage organiser if you only do it to earn money from sponsors and the ticket sales or if your only motivation is to put WikiStage on your CV.   2) How to organise it WikiStage events are different from traditional conferences, talks or lectures and before you apply for a license, it is useful to get an idea of what organising a WikiStage entails.   The WikiStage formula There is no complicated rule book for WikiStage organisers, yet, some core features of WikiStage events are essential and constitute the unique WikiStage experience. Among them are that each WikiTalk answers one specific question only and lasts either 3, 6 or 9 minutes. The Stage is designed and all talks and performances are filmed by the organiser, who edits and uploads them to the WikiStage YouTube channel. All speakers are asked to prepare and rehearse their talk and to sign an agreement for the right to their images. WikiTalks communicate knowledge and insights and no advertising or promotion is allowed on a WikiStage. A WikiTalk is not a panel discussion or a debate and much of the magic of WikiStage events comes from the alternation of expert talks with music performances or other artists. Think of creative ways to let the audience and speakers experience an unforgettable atmosphere at your event. In short, don’t just organise another conference, but celebrate curiosity!   Theme and speakers All WikiStage events do have a theme. Which theme you chose mainly depends on whether your event will be interdisciplinary or focus on one particular field. For interdisciplinary events, a theme, such as “Make the Difference” might be the right choice. If you focus on one subject area, your theme might me: “Energy for the future”. One of the core values of WikiStage is openness. In this spirit, organisers are encouraged to invite speakers from various backgrounds who can offer different perspectives. Speakers are never paid to speak Feel free to organise your event in your language.   Location, design and sponsors Great locations are universities, theatres, libraries or museums. WikiStage events can also happen in a café, open air or in traditional conference locations. What is important is to create a special atmosphere: design a WikiStage and pay attention to details. Your creativity is the only limit when it comes to designing badges, an event brochure or serving snacks and drinks. We encourage you to win the support of partners and to raise money for your event from sponsors. Yet, no sponsor can have his logo on stage during a WikiTalk and no sponsor can deliver a WikiTalk at your event. As organiser, you are in charge and always stay independent.   Attendees and marketing Communicate about your event and invite your community to participate. Create a website or blog as well as social media accounts with your particular event name. If you are the organiser of “WikiStage Stanford”, make sure people understand which WikiStage event you are representing by always using that specific name. You can publish your event in newsletters and event agendas. Find media partners to gain visibility and invite bloggers and journalists. Keep the ticket price affordable but make sure you cover the costs of your event.   3) Apply for a license To ensure quality, each WikiStage event organiser needs to have a license which grants you the right to use the WikiStage brand for your event. Do not start organising your event before you obtained a license for it. To apply for the license, go to the link: https://podio.com/webforms/10088863/728698 and write what you want to do. Tell us why, where, and when you would like to organise your WikiStage event. Help us understand who you are and how you want to go about organising it. Let us know if you already have a potential location, theme, speakers or sponsors in mind. Also, think about which name you want to give to your event. If you are organising an event in Venice, you might want to apply for the “WikiStage Venice” license. If you organise your event in the Oslo Library, then apply for “WikiStage Library of Oslo”.

"I didn't expect that people in so many countries would organise WikiStage events"

There are hundreds of volunteers world-wide in over 10 countries organsising WikiStage conferences. As I type this, there are 20 event teams currently preparing their next WikiStage event and 4 of them are happening in the next 4 weeks. How did we get here? As students, we were inspired by the TED Talks that we watched online. Together with some friends we decided that we want to organise a TEDx Conference at our university. That's when we realised that we, students with no money, are not really supposed to do this: the requirement to be eligible to apply for organising such an event was to pay 6.000$ plus travel expenses for a 4,5 day conference (exceptions are small events with less than 100 people). Today these conferences cost 10.000$ or even 25.000$. Who can afford this? Students certainly not. Who is the target group when you ask for such outrageous amounts of money? We quickly realised that we need a format not just for the rich but for the young generation! As German exchange student, I studied at one of these Grande Ecoles in Paris and together with some of my friends, we decided to create an event platform to empower students and young people to organise great conferences with short talks that would be filmed so that that the videos can be shared online. Our ideal was Wikipedia - a free library of knowledge, a collaborative platform for everybody. So, we called our conference: "WikiStage" and the speaker's talks "WikiTalks". The idea quickly caught on. Friends who saw what we were doing at my university, ESCP Europe, liked it and brought the idea to other universities in Paris: The Sorbonne, SciencesPo, HEC Paris, ESSEC and Centrale Paris. Then others abroad started it as well and soon we saw WikiStage events in Stanford as well as in Africa. One day, even the World Bank decided to use our format for their conference. That's when we realised: we are on to something here. I sometimes ask myself: why have so many people chosen to organise a WikiStage Conference or to use the WikiStage and WikiTalk brands for their event? The obvious reason would be: because it's free and you benefit from the reputation of a positive upcoming brand and a network that supports you. When one WikiStage organiser needs help, others are happy to give advice to new organisers and when videos of one event are published, the others often watch and share them. This is how we attained more than 100.000 combined followers on our Social Media Channels and hundreds of thousands of views on our videos. However, I believe the main reason is a different one. This young generation is intrinsically motivated to share new ideas, to support bold visions for the future and to give a stage to those who can best articulate them. WikiStage and our mission to share "Ideas for Change" embodies this spirit and I can only speak for myself when I say that I'm grateful to be a part of this!

Ideas for Change - a new generation is changing the game

Whose ideas are we discussing in our public discourse? Yours? To find out, simply look at the topics that are being discussed: Switch on the TV and you'll see that our public debates are dominated with talks about government institutions, controversies about political leaders, debates about taxes, military spending and immigration. Who gets excited about this? Of course, these are very important topics in a democracy but are they the only ones? Where are the visions for the future? Where are new ideas? Of course we need to talk about how to administrate our society, but it's a very limited debate if we only talk about administration - we need to talk more about innovation! The dominance of administration topics over innovation in our media landscape reveals who is in charge: the previous generation, not the next one. Look at Talk Shows and conferences: The same old faces are invited over and over. Everybody knows exactly what they will say already and you can easily watch for hours without learning anything new - without taking away any stimulating idea or vision. All that happens is the same old patterns of the same old arguments reapeating themselves endlessly. In countries that rely on brains and innovation rather than natural ressources, we need to give more space to a new generation with bold and unheard of ideas. This young generation of the world grew up with a sense of the possibilites of the digital age. In contrast to their parents, they grew up with the internet and social media and they are determined to be the ones who will use these technologies to shape a more desirable next century. This young generation might not be in power and might not have the ressources but they are the startup entrepreneurs and the innovators of tomorrow. Our aging societies are well advised to gives us more space and a stronger voice! When I graduated from university in Paris, I could feel this change of the Zeitgeist when I saw where my classmates wanted to go for their first job. While the majority of graduates in the past was looking to work for the big institutions and prestigious employers, my friends oriented themselves towards innovation hubs, digital companies, and some ventured entrepreneurship themselves. It was in this spirit that WikiStage evolved as an event format and a platform created and curated by young people to give a stage to bold new ideas and to meet the innovators of tomorrow. WikiStage is our way to empower this next generation to share their "Ideas for Change" and to enrich our public debates with this badly needed fresh perspective. Since then, students and organisations in over 10 countries have used the WikiStage platform for their events and we can't wait to see where the journey will take us next!