SXSW Panel: Rebooting Iceland – Crowdsourcing Innovation in Uncertain Times

SXSW Panel: Rebooting Iceland – Crowdsourcing Innovation in Uncertain Times

This week I’m going to be taking notes in SXSW talks by way of my blog. Here’s some brief notes from:

Rebooting Iceland: Crowdsourcing Innovation in Uncertain Times

From New York Times – Jon Gnarr of the Best Party


In the US, social media innovators are changing the way people work and play. In Iceland, these innovators may offer the best hope of rescuing an entire nation. Iceland emerged in the 1990s as a financial powerhouse after a thousand years on the sidelines of global history. Icelanders became one of the world’s wealthiest and happiest nations. In 2008, three of its banks collapsed, sending the national economy into a tailspin and shattering the people’s trust in government and industry. The government was quickly replaced by one promising transparency and reforms, while a protest party headed by a comedian took control of the Reykjavik city council. This new cast of politicians is not alone in their efforts to move Iceland out from under the economic cloud. Members of the country’s tech and entrepreneurial sector, which saw explosive growth in the lead-up to the collapse, have emerged as leaders in grassroots efforts to set Iceland on a sustainable path. In 2009, a loosely-organized group calling themselves the Anthill convened a “National Assembly” of 1,500 citizens. The day-long event, based on Agile methods and crowdsourcing theory, resulted in a coherent set of values, vision and ideas. A second National Assembly was held in 2010 as a preparatory step in the development of a new national constiution. Inspired by open-source processes and leaning heavily on social media technologies, these citizens are rapidly prototyping new forms of democracy utilizing the web and open innovation.

Heida Helgadottir CEO Best Party

  • Best Party formed in 2009
  • Founder of the party is now the mayor of Reykjavik – also a comedian and actor
  • Best Party started initially as a protest to the current political situation, and transformed into a serious political force.
  • Developed concept of “Sustainable Transparency” – trust the process and believe that what you’re doing is the right thing
  • In forming the Best Party political campaign, the group aimed to set it up their way
  • Aimed to shine a light on the entire political situation by using SATIRE and comedy, instead of the more traditional methods


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