Sustaining Digital Public Goods

Headshot of Heath ArensenSustaining digital public goods: Open-source applications used by governments and organizations to achieve social good objectives
Presentation by Heath Arensen

2020 CROSS Research Symposium Keynote

Friday, October 9, 2020


Abstract: Creating a class of open-source applications, digital public goods, that can be used by national governments and social good organizations, comes with unique considerations for sustainability. The UN system, together with the international development community and governments, are increasingly embracing open source licensing to avoid vendor lock-in, enable global adoption, while allowing local actors to innovate.  This session will focus on the learnings and recommendations for how to sustain digital public goods and how these lessons can be applied to other open-source for government and social good projects. 

Bio: Heath is the Director of Sustainability at the UN Foundation’s Digital Impact Alliance’s Open Source Center which supports Digital Public Goods (DPGs) through business and community governance advisory services, access to volunteer mentoring programs, grants for critical infrastructure development, and outreach.  Heath is a global nomad with an itch for entrepreneurship, having spent more than fifteen years founding and scaling tech-driven startups in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He thrives at the intersection of technology and social good, with experience in founding startups, in impact investing and in product incubation.  Understanding the unique challenges of building and managing digital projects in emerging markets, Heath brings diverse expertise in business strategy and technology. (Twitter: @Heath Arensen)