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 IRIS SUP': Understanding the World
Thanks to technology today, the world feels like a smaller place. Because of this, it's important to understand what's going on in other parts of the world. On Monday May 25, WikiStage IRIS SUP' addressed the importance of understanding the world by hosting 15 speakers to talk on topics ranging from environmental issues to think tanks to international relations. Rachel Marsden, CEO of the leading global strategic communications and political advisory firm Rachel Marsden Associates, asked an interesting question in her talk: "Why is China a humble power?" It almost sounds like an oxymoron, but Marsden brought up interesting points to support her theory. But she warns, "it would be a mistake to equate humble with benign." Other talks discussed the impact of psyops, the relationship between Cuba and the USA after the embargo lift and the influence of think tanks. Mika Mered, CEO of POLARISK Group, brought up a controversial topic about: "Will the Arctic compete with Suez and Panama?" In his talk, Mered informed listeners about the growing number of shipping hubs in the Arctic. It is predicted that by 2035, there will be more than 2000 hubs changing the way we ship items. "You can't fight what's happening in the Arctic, just adapt," he says. At the end the successful two hour event, you left with your mind processing the informative talks that got you thinking about everything happening in the world today!
Business Incubation: WikiStage ENSET Mohammedia
(This article is a contribution from Loubna Terrada, coordinator for WikiStage ENSET Mohammedia's first event May 27) We are all aware that young people today face many difficulties in seeing their ideas through. The fear of failure is present and can prevent projects from being completed. However, it does not negate the fact of wanting to build a brighter future. The support for a new business start-up is a common concern in numerous countries. Recently, Morocco was encouraged to enact public policies that will help increase the number of entrepreneurs and stimulate company growth. Business incubators are included. To speak about incubation means speaking about the accompaniment, about the inspiration and about the help to facilitate the creation of future projects. With this vision in mind, WikiStage ENSET Mohammedia will host an event May 27 under the theme: "Business Incubation: Incubators as tools for entrepreneurship promotion" to show the importance of incubators in encouraging and supporting young, project leaders. Of course, we should all be optimistic when thinking about the future and work hard to see our projects through.
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).
WikiStage HEC SEED International Entrepreneurship Forum
In this day and age, it seems the words "entrepreneur" and "entrepreneurship" are frequently thrown around. But what does it mean to be an entrepreneur? With the help of WikiStage, HEC SEED held an international entrepreneurship forum on April 18 with this question in mind. The event provided eager students the chance to meet, network and find ways to collaborate with startups. WikiStage was one of the participants that wanted to help students find job opportunities with incredible start ups. To kick off the forum, Johannes presented the question, "How to find your startup idea"? Immediately following was an interactive discussion encouraging participants to launch their own startup. There were also several WikiTalks centered around the topic entrepreneurship asking and answering questions from "Why one should become an entrepreneur"? to "How to negotiate a collaboration with your competitors"? to "What is the future of fintech (financial technology)"? Christian Vanizette from MakeSense discussed how to incorporate sustainability into your business model, and WHub explained how to dive into Hong-Kong's startup scene. By providing a unique opportunity to exchange ideas between start-ups and passionate students, this was a fantastic success for HEC SEED's and WikiStage's first entrepreneurship forum!
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!
Storytelling: WikiStage Speaker Workshop (MakeSense)
Not only does WikiStage host WikiTalk events, it also has coaching sessions every Thursday evening for folks wanting to learn how to put together and give an effective speech. The most recent speaker workshop took place at MakeSense on April 9. This was the first coaching session to be held at MakeSense, and it was quite a success. In fact, there were enough people registered that the event had to be held in a bigger room! Five coaches gave their own interpretation of storytelling and offered tips and tricks on how to use a short story when communicating a message. The coaches were Béatrice Doradoux, Claudia Martins José, Stéphane Loiret, Antonio Meza and Vincent Avanzi. After each one spoke, there was a call for an audience member to volunteer and give his/her own talk. Coaches and others in the audience would offer feedback and advice on how the volunteer-speaker can improve. If you are interested in coming out to the next WikiStage coaching session and learn how to improve your own public speaking skills, then feel free to join us this Thursday April 16 at ESCP Europe! We look forward to seeing you there!
WikiStage Panthéon Sorbonne: innovation 2.0
On April 2, WikiStage held its first event at Panthéon Sorbonne. Around 50 people showed up to hear eight different WikiTalks centered around one theme: innovation. The atmosphere was bright and relaxed. Listeners were told to be curious and seek answers. Solutions to any problem can be found, but we need to pay attention to everything around us. The first speaker, Mika Mered, talked about different innovative projects in the Arctic and Antarctic from floating cities to developing tourism. For him, adaptation is key. Oliver Rohou encouraged the audience to not be ashamed about sharing their ideas. As long as you are passionate, no idea is a bad idea. For Jeanne Dussueil, people are the media innovation and anyone can be a decision maker. By using visions from abroad, we can enrich national debates. Through their talks, you can tell each speaker is driven and passionate about their ideas. It's hard not to listen and feel inspired! If you are wanting a little push in being more innovative, keep an eye out for these WikiTalks on the website!
The importance of enthusiasm
(This article is a contribution from Oana Besnea, former PR officer at la Cité universitaire internationale universitaire de Paris.) Us, millennials, are very selective about the way we spend our time. When we attend an event, we want it to be short, energetic, and worth it. I attended a WikiStage event because of the energy and enthusiasm Johannes showed when talking about his project! I first met Johannes in a monthly brunch I used to organise with a team of brilliant students in the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris campus. We invited young individuals from around the world to give a short talk on a project of theirs. It was then that Johannes talked about WikiStage. He reached to every individual in the room, and I knew it was soon going to become global. That’s the secret if you ask me. That’s what the world needs nowadays: people with energy and initiative that make their actions matter.
WikiStage La Paillasse: The voice of the community
On Thursday, March 26, we had the opportunity to meet and to get to know the people behind La Paillasse: a biohacking laboratory co-created by the inspiring team of young researchers, entrepreneurs, inventors, designers and hackers. Fourteen speakers put their innovative ideas into the form of a WikiTalk, each delivering a speech in only three, six or nine minutes. The topics ranged from bioproduction and autonomy to alternatives for polluting properties of chemical pigments to knowledge in the sense of shared good. Some speakers gave their own answers to questions such as, "What to do in order to manage fashion"?, "How collective intelligence could transform energy"?, and "Is Arctic the future of Saint Pierre and Miquelon"? The event was conducted by the irreplaceable Diane Lenne, manager of our WikiStage team. A big thank you to Olivier Michelot who managed to create a unique setting for the speakers, inviting the audience into the magical world of scientific experiements. Soon we will be able to share these talks with you thanks to Cyrille Tassart from the Videaux crew. Stay tuned!
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 recording March 21
On Saturday, the WikiStage team met at ESCP Europe to hold one of its studio recordings. While it was a small gathering, the atmosphere was open and positive. Everyone was chatting amongst each other trying to get to know the person behind the talk. 'It was quite impressive to see people from any kind of background, any kind of studies, jobs that are pitching in three minutes what they have learned from years', said Diane Lenne, WikiStage manager. Lenne, one of 11 speakers, gave her first recorded WikiTalk on the question 'What if you would die tomorrow'? Her excitement and energy helped make her first talk a success. While there wasn't a set theme for the session, the talks were interesting and diverse. Alexandre Maurin discussed 'How to live in the present'?, Pierre Chevelle explained 'How to change the world in two hours'? and Abhinav Agarwal gave his opinion on 'How Shrek is an entrepreneur'? (And yes, that last one is about Shrek from the DreamWorks animated film.) The recordings will be up on the website in the next week giving you the chance to listen and see what sticks in your mind. 'What had been said, it stuck in our minds'. said Lenne. 'We remember it very well, and I can almost repeat all the talks by heart'.