08 Jul 2021

Opportunities of Open Source

By Olivia Wasson

Open source is traditionally understood as source code that is publicly accessible for others to use, modify and share. Tech for good, and this understanding of open source software, go hand-in-hand as it democratises who has the ability to create sophisticated tech products, and how it’s being used and reproduced in the world. A great recent example of this, is the story of 16 year old Archer, who developed an app to help his non-verbal sister communicate. 

However, some organisations have reimagined open source beyond the context of software and code. By making open source a core part of their principles, they show how we can, and should, have a more open mindset in broader areas of work – specifically organisational strategy and collaboration. 

CHAYN and CAST are two examples of such organisations, and in our June London Tech for Good meetups, we were lucky enough to be joined by two representatives from each company, for a two-part series on open source.


Naomi Alexander Naidoo is the movement builder at CHAYN.

During part one of our open source meetups, Naomi spoke about how being an open source organisation means going beyond your technology. At CHAYN, being an open organisation is central to everything they do, this means: open tech, open content and open learning for the wider ecosystems. This saves resources and helps them service others beyond their target audience. It also helps them create the internet they believe in, an open feminist internet. The CHAYN blog is a great place to read about their projects around the globe, and see how they are practically implementing open source in all their work. You can watch Naomi’s presentation below and see her slides here



Chris Thorpe is the Head of Technology for CAST.

Chris joined part two of our open source meetups, and gave us a quick history lesson around key developments in open source, particularly in science. This past year, more than any other, we can really appreciate how much we all benefit from open science as the speed of the COVID vaccine development demonstrated. Chris then talked about how the charity sector can also benefit from open source. He made the case that there are almost always wonderful unintended consequences from making things open, provided they are available, sustainable, documented and organised. You can watch Chris’s talk in full below and see his slides here.



This piece originally appeared in the Tech for Good Highlights. Subscribe to it here for more tech for good news and opportunities. 

Follow Naomi and Chris on Twitter.