17–19 October 2016: Conference & Tutorials
19–20 October 2016: Training
London, UK

Something New: Building an open source political party

James Smith (Something New)
16:55–17:35 Tuesday, 18/10/2016
Open government
Location: Blenheim Room Level: Non-technical
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)

What you'll learn

  • Understand the history and development of the Something New party, the practical lessons learned from the 2015 elections, and the way ahead for open source democracy


In 2013, the OpenPolitics project was founded to build a political party manifesto using open source collaboration ideas and tools. In 2014, one of the founders, James Smith, decided to run for election on the manifesto in the 2015 general election.

Over the next year, a new party was formed based on the open manifesto and dedicated to open ideas. Not only was the manifesto open source, but all the candidate and financial data was released as open data, in a practical effort to show how politics can be more open. During 2015, four candidates stood for various elections, including two for MP.

James Smith explores the history and development of the party, the practical lessons learned from the 2015 elections, and the way ahead for open source democracy. This is the beginning of a journey of open source politics—not the politics of the digital issues or the Internet but a new way of overhauling our entire democratic system. From citizen panels to direct democracy, there are a lot of ways we can improve decision making at a societal level. Something New believes that we need to build new political choices that understand that future and that aren’t wedded to the politics of the industrial revolution.

Photo of James Smith

James Smith

Something New

A software engineer, technologist, and activist, James Smith has been working with open source ideas for his entire career and is particularly interested in how they create a better future for everyone through open collaboration. James is currently head of labs at the Open Data Institute and formed a startup political party, Something New.