In the beginning, there was Death By PowerPoint. And then there was TED, a series of conferences that managed to be entertaining and enjoyable, and showed the world that presentations can be more effective when they are short, well-prepared and intentionally interesting.
Now there is Wiki Stage, a new non-profit initiative to promote education through events and online videos, and I’m extremely honoured to be speaking at the very first Wiki Stage event, at ESCP Europe in Paris on March 30th 2013, and proud that Ideas on Stage is partnering with Wiki Stage to ensure that all the talks are top-quality, just as we have with so many TEDx events in the last three years.
Rather than explain what I think Wiki Stage is, here’s an interview I did with Johannes Bittel, founder and president of Wiki Stage, so you can hear it directly from him.
So Johannes, what is Wiki Stage?
Events and Videos – that’s what we do. We want people to have a fantastic time while learning something! By mixing experts with artists on stage and combining this with plenty of networking opportunities, we want to create a fun learning environment around a Wiki Stage. But the best way to find out is to actually experience it! We are organising the first of these events very soon, on March 30 at ESCP Europe around Internet, Jazz, Economy, Theatre…
But a great show with 6 or 12-minute talks and performances is only part of the story. The vision behind this event on March 30 is that you and me can create a new Wiki Project, a video encyclopedia, that can bring knowledge on stage and let people learn through videos.
How did you come up with the idea?
I often asked myself “Why does Wikipedia not exist in video?” Video is so powerful for delivering a message and often it would be much easier to watch a video than to read a text. Popular websites, such as YouTube, prove that the technology is already there. This could help so many people, but we don’t yet have a quality video library online.
We are a bunch of energetic volunteers, who believe that this would be a better world if knowledge was more accessible. If experts would present their insights on a stage with energy and passion, their message could reach and impact so many people. This is true especially for those among us to whom the simple act of reading a book or encyclopaedia article is not intuitive, because they may not have had the privilege of the education they deserve. This is why our dream is to bring Wikipedia on stage! If many volunteers bring remarkable people on a Wiki Stage, film them and share this knowledge in video online, then we could learn and be impacted by our experts in way more profound ways than we can with written text today.
How is Wiki Stage different from TED?
Once a year, the TED event in California gathers a group of very influential people to spread ideas on Technology, Entertainment and Design. That is very different from our vision for Wiki Stage – we want to create a stage for you! Instead of spreading ideas from a few to many, with Wiki Stage, we believe that many should share with many, and we aim to have Wiki Talks in many languages, and not just have most talks in English. You, or the experts and artists you know, have something to bring to the world – and that is why we offer the Wiki Stage to you as organiser, speaker or as a guest in the audience who wants to enjoy a great show! It is very important to us to keep the prices for Wiki Stage events at an accessible level and to make it easy for people to get a license.
You’re still a big TED fan though, right?
Yes, I’ve been watching the talks for many years now and whenever I can, I attend TED or TEDx events. Just a few weeks ago, I was at one of their events in California. I love what they do.
What is your vision for Wiki Stage?
“All the world’s a stage” is a Shakespeare quote that I love. Imagine how much fun it would be if many people in universities, libraries, museums, theatres or other institutions that are dedicated to learning, art and culture would set up their own Wiki Stage. There are so many remarkable people around us and we would give them the attention they deserve to share their experiences with us and through video with everybody over the internet – I believe this could change the world.
This is a non-profit organisation. Where does the money come from?
If a public institution or a for-profit company decided that they wanted to create a video encyclopaedia, the costs for that could easily amount to millions of euros. Whoever takes on this challenge would need to pay experts, studios, cameras, editors, etc., etc. – which means that it would not be financially viable to provide the videos online for free. If, however, volunteers decide to do it not for profit, then it can work. Each event organiser covers his costs thanks to sponsors and ticket sales and everybody involved is working together in a Wiki Spirit of collaboration towards creating a video library of knowledge. The best way for you to support this project is to buy your ticket to a Wiki Stage event. And why wait? There’s your chance to experience a great show and an unforgettable afternoon on March 30 at ESCP Europe in Paris!
Apart from Wiki Stage ESCP, are there other events planned?
We are a very young project, born just a couple of months ago – yet, I am thrilled to see that students at ESSEC, Centrale, Cité Universitaire and Sorbonne are already planning to organise their own Wiki Stage events. It’s easy for people to make their own event and people are starting to contact us about this – it’s exciting! Last week I received an email from somebody in Casablanca…😉
Get your ticket for the Wiki Stage world premiere on March 30 at WikiStage.org
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