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.
Our team at WikiStage has identified 3 core values for this project. Here they are: Ideas for Change The purpose of WikiStage is to “Ideas for Change”. We think that is important to share new and bold ideas to change our societies and improve the status quo. WikiStage is an open and global community to share Ideas for Change. Community We believe that a great way to ignite the spark of curiosity is to bring people together to discover fascinating questions. This can happen with a community online, yet, we know that nothing can ever replace people meeting each other in real life. WikiStage events are there to connect you with those people around you who ask those questions that matter to you. Openness We are proud to carry the word “Wiki” in our name because it represents more than just a technical term. Wiki stands for openness and the democratisation of knowledge. The WikiStage is your stage. What counts for us is not the notoriety of the speaker, but the quality of the answer. A WikiStage event can be organised by everybody who respects our quality standards and the public has free access to the videos online.
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: 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”.
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!
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!
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: 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!“