Die Welt des Pariser Klimaabkommens. Le Monde après l'Accord de Paris sur le Climat.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.