INTERVIEWS

The Founder of WSA: The Winners Benefit from a Lifelong Partnership

Peter Bruck, WSA

We have informed you about a global technology competition in the past when Slovak COrvus became the winner of its category. In May, we also published a newly open call to participate in the competition. You still have time to send you application to our national expert, Mr Vladimír Burčík, and be nominated on the global level. The deadline is tomorrow.

If you are still not sure whether the contest is a good fit for you, we asked Mr Peter Bruck, the WSA organizer, several questions that might help you decide.

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Peter, what is the story of International Center for New Media which is the main organizer of the World Summit Awards and which you are the president of?

The ICNM – International Center for New Media – is a non-profit association, based in Salzburg, Austria. It was founded me and is specialized in networking throughout Europe and all over the world. ICNM focuses on the use of digital technologies, social entrepreneurship and creative content (“Digital Creativity improving Society”). It also offers educational programs to young people. ICNM stands out with its special emphasis on the evaluation, promotion and showcasing of best practice in digital projects improving society.

How did World Summit Awards come to life? What is the background of the contest?

Responding to the global challenge of the Information Society and the UN Agenda, the government of the Republic of Austria decided to initiate a member states activity on creative e-Content for the Word Summit Conference.

The government decided to mandate the International Center for New Media and me as its honorary chairman to launch the World Summit Award in order to present to the global UN family of states and all delegates to the World Summit the richness and diversity of creative use of ICTs.

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was introduced by UN Security General Kofi Annan and the first WSA winners were awarded in 2003 at the WSIS in Geneva under the patronage of Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission and the Federal Chancellor of Austria, Wolfgang Schüssel.

World Summit Awards
World Summit Awards

Why did you decide to launch the contest? What is the goal? How much do you think WSA is fulfilling its goal? How has it evolved over the course of many years since it was launched?

WSA aims at the Selection and promotion of cut edge digital innovation with local relevance, content depth and user value from all UN member states, contribute to the Agenda of UN WSIS and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by showcasing creative use of digital innovation.

By fostering knowledge exchange, offering platforms of inspiration and enhancing a worldwide multi-stakeholder network, WSA has become a unique quality seal for digital innovation with impact on society.

Since its founding, WSA has grown immensely and still does every year, manifold events, a steadily growing network and many local WSA initiatives show the success of WSA.

Can we talk numbers a bit? How many countries do participate in the contest? How many teams do participate? How many judges do you have?

To date more than 178 countries are actively involved, making the World Summit Awards a global hub for everyone who values the crucial importance of local content to make today’s information society more inclusive. There are over 120 Jurors currently, with a steadily growing pool. Every year there are about 600 to 1000 participants in the WSA, about 400 of them are nominated as national best practices by WSA national experts.

What is the organization of the contest – the main goals, who can apply, who and how judges the projects, what categories are there?

WSA is a nomination based award system. To apply you need to be nominated by either a WSA National Expert as the best national digital application in one of the 8 categories. Each country can only nominate one project/solution per category. Nominations to the international WSA are possible through national contests and national expert panel selection.

The WSA Jury process is a  strictly democratic and transparent system to guarantee a fair and diverse  selection of worldwide digital innovation. Once a project is nominated for the World Summit Awards it has to pass several stages of evaluation and assessment before it can become a WSA Winner and maybe even a Global Champion.

World Summit Awards
World Summit Awards

Why is it interesting for teams to apply, what they can gain through the World Summit Awards?

The World Summit Awards are a non-monetary award system with a focus on sustainable knowledge transfer through a worldwide network. This means that winners benefit not from a one time financial reward, but a lifelong partnership and integration.

How do you select the projects? What are the criteria?

WSA has 5 Technical Criteria and 2 Strategic Criteria to evaluate projects. The national pre-selection follows also the criteria of the impact in the diverse environments locally.

5 Technical Criteria are as follows: content – quality and comprehensiveness, functionality – ease of use, user experience, appropriate interactivity, design – navigation / orientation and visual appeal, technology – state of the art in technology and quality of technical realization, and innovation – originality and newness to targeted users, Business model society and market. The two strategic criteria are impact – local impact / impact on society and global/ un value.

What fields do you see a great potential in? What are some of the most promising areas from your point of view?

All developments are depending on the respective local environment, and hence the focus and aim of the WSA holds valid – to showcase the diverse digital innovation with societal impact and to foster a worldwide knowledge exchange.

Before a global nomination, projects need to pass the national round. Sometimes these national rounds lack publicity and potential participants do not even know about the contest. What do you think are the best ways to promote the contest on the national level? Can you give some examples?

In general, it is of importance to build up a WSA national expert panel locally, which consists of different stake-holders. By this, it is insured that the outreach will reach many levels of potential participants. Also, involving the media can be a successful way of getting attention, many experts use online blogs and platforms for spreading the word. WSA office is always happy to support with advice and marketing material.

Where do you expect the World Summit Awards will evolve into in the future?

WSA will certainly always grow with the developments on the digital innovation field, its categories, calls and events always reflect the latest trends. Moreover, WSA will stay what it has become in it’s 14 years of history, a unique quality seal and diverse global network.


Photos provided by the respondent.

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