We talked to Nora Wolloch, Exec. Manager of WSA, a unique awards system, selecting and promoting local digital innovation to improve society and here is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nora Wolloch: We are very privileged, having enough space, Internet bandwidth and devices to manage homeoffice, homeschooling and our life.
But obviously, we miss travelling, meeting friends, and our normal life.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined WSA.
Nora Wolloch: For many years I worked as a production manager for international theatre festivals.
I always liked working with different stakeholders, creative people and in an international environment.
The topic of digital solutions improving society was an extremely interesting opportunity for my career and I joined WSA in 2010.
How does WSA innovate?
Nora Wolloch: WSA is a learning project since 2003. WSA´s global award competition was created for the UN WSIS 2003 and has been evolving and growing a global community and inspiring our partners and members ever since.
Every year WSA selects and promotes the most innovative digital solutions that contribute to the achievement of the UN SDGs and showcases the global diversity of relevant content from 187 UN member states.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Nora Wolloch: We had to cancel or redesign a lot of events, but fortunately the Europe for Citizens Program was extended for one more year so that brought some stability and we managed to come up with interesting online event formats as well. Given the global community we are conducting here, online meetings are nothing new to these people.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Nora Wolloch: No.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Nora Wolloch: It was an intense period with all the rescheduling, re-inventing and keeping on track with our partners, but these are partners, not pure customers, so we have a collaborative approach to all difficulties. Regarding your question about the digital tools: yes, we identified weak spots in our IT and had to find new solutions. Also, we decided to remake our whole Corporate Design during 2020 and rolled that out with a new website and everything. The community was happy and amazed to see that.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Nora Wolloch: Apart from the E4C operating grant by the European Commission. WSA participated in the Austrian governments pandemic plan and that eased some problems, too.
In addition, we received some grant funding through the local, regional and federal government.
Your final thoughts?
Nora Wolloch: We saw many amazing solutions to tackle that crisis and its consequences coming up in our network. Today digitalization has whole different importance than 2 years ago and we think that is something to build on. We showcase the power of the digital tool to help and support society in our global award and a recently created Stories Collection on our website.
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