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Open Source conference comes to Wellington this August
Posted on 4-Aug-2016 10:32. | Tags Filed under: News.

Openness and transparency are changing the world - including business, government, and democracy - and New Zealanders have the opportunity to spend two days learning from global leaders about how this country could benefit. 


The second annual Open Source Open Society conference in Wellington is a rare event that brings together 400 people from every sector of society - especially business, Government, tech, and community advocacy. They’ll rip the lid off New Zealand and the planet’s toughest problems and get stuck in, using “open” technology principles. 


Some of the big issues up for discussion at this year’s event include how transparency can create better business models, how the internet can change our democracy, how data can be made more human (and what the privacy implications are), how journalism can be supported in an open world, and how teams can work better together in a collaborative, open environment. 


The phrase “open source” connotes coding and technology, but its true definition goes much wider. Among the high profile speakers visiting New Zealand for the event are: 


  • Audrey Tang, the renowned Taiwanese civic hacker
  • Executive Director of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Digital Service, Eric Hysen.
  • Prominent technology, internet, and media commentator Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus (attending remotely).
  • Australian community leader for open government, Pia Waugh.
  • US hacker and expert on using tech for activism, Evan Henshaw-Plath, also part of the team behind the birth and rise of Twitter.
  • Australian sharing economy expert, Darren Sharp. 

They’re accompanied by practical workshops with some of New Zealand’s finest minds in open source. 


Attendees from across the business, technology, government, startup, media, and education sectors will come away with practical ideas from global leaders on how technology and open ways of working can transform their work, organisation and society. In reality, every business in 2016 is a tech business, and OS//OS is a way to upskill to meet the challenges of an increasingly open world. 


“Globally, we see open government and business unlocking economic and social benefit for countries - and it’s important to talk about the challenges too,” said conference co-director Anthony Cabraal. “New Zealand’s got huge untapped potential for our Government and business sectors to be more open, and we risk getting left behind if we don’t explore it together.” 


“The possibilities are limitless. For example, one of our guests, Audrey Tang, used open source principles to get community and Government input to regulate Uber. Drivers and passengers were consulted using online and offline processes to create a framework of policy that was then ratified. These tools are great for bringing together different worlds and harnessing the power of participatory democracy.” 


OS//OS is held on Monday 22 August and Tuesday 23 August, at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre.


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