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'.
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!
Welcome to the new blog!
Hello and welcome everyone! We have been working hard for a while now, and so it gives us great pleasure to present our new website. It is finally ready and so are we! We want to make this blog an important part of WikiStage, and what’s more, we want you to contribute! We would love to hear your stories and your experiences with WikiStage from all over the world. After all, we are the space for global, open debate. Even though WikiStage is a video platform, we praise the written word. All contributions need to be written in English, but don’t let lack of confidence get in the way! We will read and edit everything making sure it is coherent before posting. If writing is your cup of tea, we will be more than happy to welcome you as a regular contributor. Moreover, since we deeply believe that you learn and progress your entire life, we are always open for suggestions. Do not hesitate to contact us if you think you can help us improve. Having said that, let’s get started! Follow us and send your contributions to the email address in the picture!
WikiStage Team Profile: WikiStage Geneva Innovation
Since its first event in 2013, over 50 organisers spanning over 10 countries have volunteered to participate in WikiStage's mission. One of this year's newest organisers is WikiStage Geneva Innovation, founded by Yves Zieba. Participant Valérie Le Gall recalls the first meeting as being warm and relaxed yet professional. A small group of people sipped fair trade coffee from a sponsor "Fix," chatted getting to know one another and discovered how they could get involved. There was an obvious entrepreneurial spirit present at the meeting. "A beautiful energy emerges from the WikiStage Geneva [Innovation] team," said Le Gall. "The collaborative spirit, the presence of multiple skills and openness to the world are the ingredients that will undoubtedly lead WikiStage Geneva [Innovation] to success!" However, the turnout to the first gathering was small, and the team is in need of more key players to help get the ball rolling in Geneva. The team is planning on having its first WikiStage event within the next two months. So if you are in Geneva and want to join in on the action, feel free to join their Facebook group and get in contact with their team!
How can you enable your team to be creative?
Creativity is something we all strive for. It is an element for success in business as well as in other areas of life. Artists are perhaps individuals that feel creative pressure the most since they work tirelessly to craft something beautiful. Since ancient times, they have tried to boost their creativity in various ways, some more respectful than others. But when we move past the individual 'single genius' creativity and more towards the creativity of a team, it becomes complicated. In his talk, Martin Kupp discusses how the collective creativity is a concept exceeding the simple sum of individual creativities. In his own words: 'Complexity is really important, you have to raise complexity, so that is almost overwhelming. Only then people are forced to work together and to really build upon each other, instead of coming up with individual ideas'. Kupp breaks down a simple, yet efficient, formula capable of fostering the creativity of a group consisting of different types of individuals. After watching this video you won’t have any excuse not to make your team a creative machine!
A conversation with Johannes Bittel
When I joined WikiStage over a month ago, I knew very little about the organisation. I had seen an advertisement online that had peaked my interest. But it wasn't until after I met with the team that I wanted to be in on the action. The website was being revamped, and the old blog was being wiped clean. Immediately, I knew how I wanted to be involved with WikiStage. It didn't take long before I found myself caught up in the energy and the enthusiasm as team members worked hard to finish their tasks. It was refreshing and exciting. And in the midst of everything, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Johannes Bittel, founder and president of WikiStage, to learn more about the future direction of WikiStage. Why the new website change? So the website that we had at the beginning of the project was a very simple website that presented the idea of WikiStage and that presented some of our favourite videos. But it wasn't, yet, this video platform or this video social network, if you like, about short talks. And this is what we now finally make come true with this launch of the new website." What's different about the new website? The new website is a true video platform and social media. You can follow the users that you like. You can watch all the videos from one specific event. You can watch, if you are interested in creativity, you can watch all the videos that are tagged about creativity. If you are interested about a recent event, such as Charlie Hebdo that happened in France a couple of weeks ago, then you can watch all the things that people have to say about this event. It's a platform that allows you to respond immediately with immediacy about current events that are in the news with your own talk. Or add videos that you find on the internet about this topic to the platform." How would you say WikiStage is an open platform? There are many ways how people can contribute. The easiest way to interact is simply to go on the website, watch the videos, then you can create an account and leave a comment and join the debate there. You can create playlist and put different videos that belong together in a playlist together. You can follow other users. But then you can get more involved. You can create your own WikiTalks. You can organise your own WikiStage events which aim to record WikiTalks that then go on the platform and produce your own content and contribute to the debate. Or if you are an expert yourself in something and you want to do a WikiTalk, you can record it and upload it to the platform. Or you can get invited to a WikiStage event that one of your friends organises. What do you hope people that participate get out of WikiStage? I hope they would feel a little more empowered and listened to when they have something to contribute on a certain topic. I hope that they discover many interesting things that will broaden their horizons. Many ideas. Many food for thought. Many short, good talks that could entertain them waiting for the bus or when they are doing the dishes. That they can put on a short WikiTalk that could enrich them intellectually in someway. I hope that people make this great experience of inviting others and curating a debate. Organising their own events is a very enriching and a very valuable experience, and I hope that people see themselves as actors and not just as consumers. As active contributors to society and to the knowledge of the world. And not just as people who are clicking, reading and watching but also commenting, contributing and even making a video of themselves. To contribute to something meaningful and bigger than themselves.
Let's get creative!
When it comes to creativity, most assume you have it or you don't. People have this idea that some are just born with it. But according to two WikiStage speakers, creativity takes time and work. Creativity is not a simple eureka moment admits Martin Kupp, associate professor for entrepreneurship at ESCP Europe. At the moment, these ideas might feel like "AH HA" moments, but you have to actively see them through. "Everyone has the creative, creative abilities that it takes to solve these kind of problems and to come up with these new ideas. But you have to work hard," Kupp says. While people tend to describe me as creative, I still have to work hard and dedicate my time. I might have several "sparks of curiosity" as creativity speaker Petronela Zainuddin calls them, but not all of my sparks turn into flames. I admit I have countless unfinished projects floating about because I never gave these sparkles a chance to become flames. I didn't nurture my ideas, and they died out. But why? After listening to both Zainuddin's and Kupp's WikiTalks, I felt inspired. When Zainuddin asked the audience to take an object out of their bags and ask 10 questions, I pulled out my journal. Why do I carry this notebook everywhere? What would happen if a stranger read it? Why did I get it in black? Would I be sad if I lost it? The questions came easily. My journal is the place where I record all my thoughts and ideas. So it was only fitting I picked it. After finishing both WikiTalks, I replayed them so I could jot down notes in my journal. I clung onto every word, and I became aware of what was holding me back. Zainuddin said it is important for one to find a passion to help turn our sparkles into creative flames. Passion. That's what had been missing from my creative endeavors and the reason why I had countless unfinished projects. Passion. That's what's necessary to maintain one's creativity.
WikiStage Coaching Session: the Role of the Internet and Social Entrepreneurships
The Internet has become a major player in our society. With its help, people are able to be involved not just in their community but around the world. On Wednesday June 10, WikiStage MakeSense addressed the role of the Internet through the wonderful words of four amazing speakers: Christian Vanizette, Des Gachons Benjamin, Julien De Sousa, and the beautiful Chloé Chambraud. Topics ranged from one’s civic duties to one’s role models. The evening started with WikiStage’s founder, Johannes Bittel, introducing WikiStage and its goal. The room was filled with beautiful faces from different backgrounds interested in what was being said. I think this shows the diverse group of people that WikiStage attracts. Christian Vanizette, Co-founder of MakeSense team, told us how with the help of the Internet, he and a few friends were able to influence the politician in his home city, Tahiti. They started a blog where they wrote about social issues that caught the attention of the politician and the media. This is how his journey started that ultimately lead him to create MakeSense, a participative platform that helps social entrepreneurs solve problems. Des Gachons Benjamin pointed out that 80 percent of French citizens do not trust their political representative. But he pointed out, "With the help of the Internet, our civic duties are not expressed every five years when we vote, but every day.” Julien De Sousa talked to us about role models and heroes. "Heroes help us better ourselves," he said. "They push us to be better." Chloé Chambraud discussed how to make an enterprise more social since social entrepreneurship gives more value to the work inside the company. She presented three characteristics of a social enterprise: it has to answer social and/or environmental needs, they are the heart of the company and it is free. After hearing the talks, listeners were given the chance to network and converse with the speakers over some delicious fingers foods in a joyful environment.