The WikiStage Berlin Café event happened in a small cozy café in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg not far from Mauerpark.
The French Embassy in Germany initiated this conference on the city of tomorrow to inspire and show examples on how tomorrow's cities could look like.
The Anticafé Session was the very first WikIStage Session, coordinated by the president of WikiStage, Johannes Bittel. It gathered 80 people around the theme of "time".
Speaking at a virtual conference poses different challenges than speaking at in-person events. What are the secrets of great virtual presentations?
As teenager, I spent many hours listening to this German rock band called "Die Ärzte” and in one of their songs, the main theme goes something like this:
“It is not your fault that the world is as it is, yet, it would be your fault if it stays that way”.
It is enough to watch the news any given day, or simply to pay attention to the less fortunate around you to realise that there is a lot of suffering, hatred and injustice in the world. Change is desperately needed.
When Obama ran his 2008 campaign on “Change”, he made a very clear case that, obviously, he wasn’t talking about “negative change”. When initiatives, such as Change.org chose their name, it was clear to them that nobody would misunderstand their intentions and think: “They may want to change the world for the worse”. When we say change, we mean positive change.
“Time is neutral"
There is one speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., called “The American Dream”. It is a little less known than his famous “I have a dream” speech but to me it is even more powerful and I admire it. In his plea against racial injustice, he makes the point that time won’t bring about justice by itself. Time is neutral. What is needed to bring about the desired change is that people stand for what they believe in and actively make it happen.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
If change doesn’t occur naturally over time, then individuals have to make it happen. Somebody has to decide: This has to change! Things can’t go on like that. Somebody has to assemble the courage to stand up and say: I will do things differently. I think something else is possible and I’m willing to commit myself. I am willing to take responsibility. This, to me, is the definition of leadership. You don’t need to be a world leader or a celebrity to show leadership. Incredibly important changes happen in the small details of every day life. How much kindness do we show to the people around us? Are we making the groups we come in contact with a little better
Leaders for Change
No change ever happens without this kind of leadership. Change is an abstract concept and if we want to make it actionable and be serious about it, we have to pay attention to people, because they are the agents of change. Every one of us can and should strive to be a “Leader for Change”.
Why WikiStage as a network for change?
As video platform and network of conference organisers, what we can do is to celebrate Leaders for Change and give their ideas and initiatives a stage. Our hope is that by directing the spotlight on those who decide to publicly speak out about their ideas and convictions, others will get inspired and feel empowered to bring about change themselves.
We connect leaders and ideas in the real world at WikiStage events and online on the WikiStage.org video platform. Visitors of the website can see the best talks of a speaker on his or her profile as well as the other videos that have been recorded at our conferences. We attribute each video to a larger debate with a hashtag, for example #ClimateChange or #HumanRights and allow users to upvote their favourite videos for every cause.
The “Wiki” in WikiStage
When visitors upvote videos for a debate, they collectively decide about the best ideas and contributions on any given topic. Thanks to your vote, the best videos rise to the top of the wall of that debate. It is the community who ultimately decides what inspires them and whose ideas deserve to get the most attention. Thanks to other user’s votes, we all now have a way to quickly learn about the most important contributions on the issues. Simply by watching the top rated videos, we can learn about different perspectives from the brightest minds who spoke in public about the issue.
We can do more than just “vote"
Similar to our democratic process, some will simply vote and some will want to shape the debate more actively. There are many forums and social media websites on the internet where anybody can share anything. At WikiStage, we have chosen our format: we connect people at real life events and share the ideas on our platform with videos. If you want to become an active part in one of our debates, we invite you to become an independent WikiStage Conference organiser and to give a stage to those people who you believe deserve to be heard. After you obtain our license through our website, our non-profit organisation will guide and advise you to help you create a meaningful event with valuable contributions - and the best thing: the license is completely free.
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:
… 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 this 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”.
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.
Die Französische Botschaft gemeinsam mit Wikistage eine Konferenz zum Thema „Die Stadt von Morgen“.
More than 16 experts and artist perform for 6 or 12 minutes to celebrate the theme of Curiosity.