leksandar Lazovski is a young dreamer who wants to make the world a better place for everyone.
Because what is more important than helping each other and building the next superhuman colony on Mars?
“You are the product of your own beliefs and all of the people and information in your life.”
Aleks works as a Corporate Partnerships Specialist at SkopjeLab – the Centre for Innovation of the City of Skopje, which is an Innovation Lab founded in joint partnership between the UNDP and the City of Skopje with the goal of improving the quality of life in Skopje; through truly innovative and well thought-out projects.
He is also the Project Manager & Coordinator of the wonderful TEDxSeptemvriskaSesijaSalon initiative in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia; with more than 18 events organized and a team of 20+ volunteers working with him.
The idea behind the Salon events originates from his personal frustration of not being able to talk about big ideas and global visions and trends in his local community. Aleks decided not to wait for someone else to take initiative, but to instead go with his own gut and solve his own problem.
Seems as the call was right – there is now a huge local TEDx community in Skopje which has discussed topics like Transhumanism and A day in the life of a human colony on Mars, to Social Innovation, Architecture, Gaming: The Social Impact, and so forth.
Aleksandar is one of those people who, you can be sure, will make a great difference in his community in the very near future. In a way, he already has!
We talked to Aleks about his experiences organizing impactful events and his thoughts on Wallery – our social media wall.
What goes into organizing a TEDx event?
A lot of passion.
I’d say that passion, especially in a volunteer context, is critical to making a great event happen. TEDx events have this easily recognizable energy. You need to nurture and grasp it, and this might be the most challenging task of them all.
The second thing would be the purpose. You need to have a clear vision of what you want to do with your event, your initiative, and community, and always have something new and “next month” up your sleeve; this is what keeps people interested – the story is the hook of it all.
It is critical to abide by the rules set up by your license but also have the tenacity to spark creativity within a certain framework.
And last but not least, dedication.
For our events, we have gone to serious lengths to invite and recruit wonderful and professional people and volunteers that aim to reach the max when it comes to proficiency and excellence. Our partners and supporters go in line with our values and we have a keen ability to target and recruit participants just right for each visionary theme we decide to cover!
What inspired you to start organizing TEDx events? It must be quite difficult and busy work!
Sometimes it is quite busy and difficult, yes.
At least in the beginning, when we had to learn a ton of things and introduce ourselves to how things are done in “the big leagues”. Now it’s almost as if we don’t feel it happening.
In our case, events, organization, and logistics have become incredibly smooth, thanks to our volunteers with more than a year of experience in their respective positions. We now challenge our way of organizing things in the smallest of details and ask ourselves questions such as “How can we spark more creativity?”
As for inspiration – I personally was inspired by the wonderful TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson (mainly Do schools kill creativity? and How to escape education’s death valley) and was struck by the wonderful idea of having this incredible speaker and story available to everyone in the world, in a very direct and free manner.
But for most of us, it’s also about the community. We really wanted to talk about grandiose ideas in Skopje, to introduce new trends and concepts and help vibrant people meet each other and discuss.
What is your advice for anyone out there who is considering organizing their own TEDx event?
To just go and do it.
Seriously, with no intention to sound full of myself or like I know it all, my advice is to stop thinking about getting a license or wondering how to go about it; just try it.
Of course, thinking it over is important. Planning, executing and measuring is of incredible importance to your progress but the biggest step forward is simply applying. As in our case and many others, soon after incredible people will follow and join your team, you’ll learn a ton of new things, techniques, and methods and if your vision, story, and passion are genuine – you’ll find the resources to pull it all off.
Have you ever organized events other than TEDx? How do TEDx events differ from other events?
There have been quite a few events we’ve had the pleasure of organizing throughout the years amongst which a couple of conferences, hackathons, regional workshops, climate challenges as #OdTebeZavisi, etc.
True, in a way they differ from the TEDx concept but they also have some things in common. In my short TEDx experience, I’d say that the main difference is in the way people and participants associate themselves with the TED/TEDx logo and brand. They seem to quickly get into this “thinking tank”, ready to embark on a battle of minds, visions, and thoughts on the future.
They seem to be more open to new suggestions and facts and feel more flamboyant in the way they express themselves. It’s hard to explain – I call it the TEDx effect.
How did you find Wallery?
We’ve had the luck of finding Wallery both through social media (your Facebook page) but also in the suggested partners part of the TED website; where they have put you as a sort of an initiative/business that looks towards helping project such as ours.
And boy, were we lucky to write that first email; to now have a great partner in delivering a wonderful and novelty-like experience to our guests!
What would you say are your favorite things about our social media wall?
If I have to choose some favorite things about Wallery than the list would look something like this:
How do your event guests react to/interact with Wallery?
The interaction is wonderful!
We set up a special hashtag with the help of the team from Wallery and the participants get to tweet about their momentary experience, their thoughts or questions; both from home or from the event.
This helps us improve our reach on social media, as well as general interaction, but also helps us leave no questions unanswered.
We use Wallery to streamline this all in real-time and people love to both see some interesting tweets and goofy images to the side – or to just zone out from the main event for a second and take a moment to reflect while looking at an interesting tweet.
The Wallery social media wall is one of the most commented aspects of the event and people generally ask about the provider and give positive feedback on it during the break or after the event.
That’s amazing! So, what would you say is the most important thing our Wallery social media wall adds to your events?
The option for the visitors and participants to voice their opinion; no matter what it is.
It is critical to get feedback even when it’s not the most positive one. More often than not people at social and public gatherings would refrain from giving instant feedback or suggestions and would afterward resort to spreading the negative word by mouth-marketing; something that severely damages both your current and future events and the reputation of your organizing team and initiative.
The public integration of Wallery as a social media wall you can display at your event helps us get instant and public feedback on which we can quickly act upon.
Whether that’s a chair being uncomfortable, the moderator being too loud or just a question that seems important to ask but there are too many raised hands in the air, we are there to read and sort it right away.
You’ve used other social media wall solutions before Wallery. What made you switch to Wallery? What does Wallery offer that makes it better than other social media wall solutions?
As I said before, the Wallery team is very good at creating and having a friendly attitude towards their customers. We almost feel like we are a family.
It seems like any question or issue is met with an “Okay, let’s fix this together!” attitude instead of a more negative approach we’ve gotten in the past from other general service providers.
Also, the product and service design of Wallery, its integration and ease of use are unparallel to any other social media wall we’ve used before. There are simply no comparison between Wallery and another, similar, solution.
Thank you so much for the kind words! To wrap it all up, tell us a bit about your future plans regarding TEDx, or any other events you plan to be working on.
Well, we are planning on increasing our local TEDx community through recruiting more volunteers next and having some open calls and park/coffee/hang-out events in order to invite our community to give us suggestions about topics and ideas they would like to discuss in 2018.
Additionally, we plan to apply for a new license and organize at least 6 TEDxSalon events in 2018, as well as apply for a TEDx Conference for 2018 with up to 100 participants.
We are really happy with the progress so far but feel as though the community and the team need a new challenge now!