In partnership with BONEVET, Kosovo’s leading non-profit Makerspace, Crowdsourcing Week Summit Gjakova in October 1, 2015 will bring crowdsourcing and the crowd economy to center stage in Kosovo. Local and international speakers will gather in Gjakova for this one-day conference to share how crowdsourcing is reshaping industries and transforming organizations today.
As one of the media partners of the summit in Gjakova, we had the chance to talk with Epi Ludvik Nekaj the Founder & CEO of Crowdsourcing Week and the main engine behind the Summit coming up this year in Gjakova, Kosovo. In 2008, he created Ludvik + Partners – one of New York’s hottest boutique virtual ad agencies built on a 100% crowdsourcing model. Epirot is one of the pioneers in the crowdsourcing ad space, an industry expert and thought the leader in entertainment advertising – including public relations, event production, experiential marketing, consumer advertising and digital marketing.
What is Crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a crowd or group for a common goal – often innovation, problem-solving, or efficiency. Crowdsourcing can take place on many different levels and across various industries. Thanks to our growing connectivity, it is now easier than ever for individuals to collectively contribute — whether with ideas, time, expertise, or funds — to a project or cause. This collective mobilization is crowdsourcing.
This phenomenon can provide organizations with access to new ideas and solutions, deeper consumer engagement, opportunities for co-creation, optimization of tasks, and reduced costs. The Internet and social media have brought organizations closer to their stakeholders, laying the groundwork for new ways of collaborating and creating value together like never before.
Crowdsourcing touches across all social and business interactions. It is changing the way we work, hire, research, make and market. Governments are applying crowdsourcing to empower citizens and give a greater voice to the people. In science and health care, crowdsourcing can democratize problem-solving and accelerate innovation. With education, it has the potential to revolutionize the system, just as crowdfunding is currently challenging traditional banking and investing processes.
They call you the Pioneer of the Crowdsourcing Ad Space, what does it mean?
At that time, I was running my own advertising agency called Ludvik + Partners and we applied crowdsourcing techniques and worked with crowd platforms on the creative and content side of it. The idea for something bigger took seed when Ludvik+Partners and Collective Bias organized the event, How Crowdsourcing is Changing the Advertising Business during Internet Week in 2011.
We understood that engagement and knowledge transfer in this space could help organizations overcome their shortcomings and create real stakeholder value. The rest is history. Crowdsourcing Week was founded in 2012 and since then produced three flagship global conferences, organized crowdsourcing summits across three continents, and built excitement around a global movement.
How did you get involved with crowdsourcing?
I came across crowdsourcing concept for the first time in early 2008 and begin to harness the power of the crowd. The term crowdsourcing was coined by writer Jeff Howe in the June 2006 issue of Wired magazine. He was referring to loose networks made possible by new technologies that may consist of both amateurs and professionals joined to solve a problem.
While these are often ad hoc groups, ours has taken crowdsourcing to what is believed as the next level. We are not an ad hoc group but a committed network of hundreds of experienced and highly talented art directors, creatives and account representatives from across the country. We’ve even got some eager beginners to round out the more experienced hands.
What’s the story and concept of Crowdsourcing Week?
Besides our mission to be committed to helping organizations transition into a more open, connected, and socially productive society our goal is to unleash the opportunities that exist today among 1% and distributed to 99%.
What has been your involvement in Kosovo so far?
Kosovo is my birthplace and in the past 2 years, I visited Kosovo as often as I could while Europe & Asia has been the main focus for Crowdsourcing Week. Uranik Begu from ICK is a childhood friend and he found that it is beneficial to entrepreneurship community in Kosovo to bring the concept of crowdsourcing closer. My contribution on series of crowdsourcing presentation at ICK leads me to Valmir Mustafa and Vllaznim Xhiha whom I am very honored to be working on the first edition of CSW Summit in Gjakova.
Why Gjakova for the Summit? What’s the Crowdsourcing Summit about?
In partnership with BONEVET, Kosovo’s leading non-profit Makerspace, Crowdsourcing Week Summit Gjakova will bring crowdsourcing and the crowd economy to center stage in Kosovo. Local and international speakers will gather in Gjakova for this one-day conference to share how crowdsourcing is reshaping industries and transforming organizations today.
Participants will listen from 10+ crowdsourcing industry experts and practitioners proving how crowdsourcing and the crowd economy can truly reinvigorate cities, accelerate entrepreneurship and engage citizens and local communities. The summit will be an interactive day of learning and case-studies for entrepreneurs, cities, governments, and communities to understand the opportunities within the crowd economy, and a meaningful conversation about how it can specifically be applied in Gjakova.
What is expected in Gjakova?
This one-day summit will have local and international crowdsourcing practitioners and influencers from Italy, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland, and Luxembourg to share how the crowd economy can empower the citizens (especially the youth) and accelerate entrepreneurship among start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Attendees at the Kosovo summit can expect to gain fresh insights and disruptive business paradigms from these 10+ top-notch speakers and learn how crowdsourcing can be applied in the local perspective to empower the youth, accelerate entrepreneurship, and connect Kosovo to the global crowd community.
Why should people attend?
I think many people around the world are still using the internet as they are using the TV. I call it passive internet, an internet of download mindset. People who will attend this Summit will have an opportunity to turn their switch on and immerse themselves onto the internet of upload. There is massive opportunities that exist today on the internet and yet people are still using it only to connect and get information and not for productivity.
What are we expecting from Epi in the future?
The future is bright for everyone who chooses to immerse himself in the crowdsourcing world. We are at the stage of super early adopters and that means there is a great room for innovators to embark on this journey. it’s just a matter of how far you see it. we are bringing the future closer to as many people around the world and I’m very excited that Vllaznim Xhiha and BONEVET has decided to bring this to Gjakova, a city willing to become once again an economic power of Kosovo so the future entrepreneurs from Gjakova can be equipped and utilize the power of crowdsourcing. I strongly believe on BONEVET’s mission and willing to support Vllaznim for many years to come. I also look forward to hearing from my friend Kushtrim Xhakli the latest on Digital Kosovo project, Mayor Mimoza Kusari on the governance perspective, Altin Ukshini from Prishtina Hackerspace and other innovators.