Alumni Venture – NextElection
Amit Bansal, PGSEM ’08, is the co-founder and CEO of PressCoin election journalism platform NextElection. He is a digital rights activist and part of advocacy groups demanding transparency and accountability of government departments, thus positively influencing policies around digital ID, biometrics and privacy. He has been involved in consumer and social justice causes over the years. He thrives in a melting pot of engineering, law, ethics and art. Prof Trilochan Sastry’s course on Social Entrepreneurship has had a material impact on his worldview.
(Brief on the venture by Amit Bansal)
Career politicians and elected ministers being publicly rated on a bunch of parameters in real time by large swatches of the electorate, thus impacting them as well the political party and the government they are part of! Does that sound too good to be true?
Well, that’s the future that we at NextElection are creating. A time, in the not so distant future, where we will be able to hold elected officials accountable and create a more transparent view of the political world. A time when empowered citizens, with perseverance, would be able to make “issues” the currency of all political discourse and perhaps even change political outcomes!
The Vision for NextElection
All of us love and hate social networks in equal parts; but there’s no denying they’ve changed the world! How about an unsocial network for politics, where the focus is not on who-said-what-to-whom, but on data driven collaboration by multiple stakeholders working together to make a positive impact on our world.
NextElection is our honest attempt to create a more transparent world, refocused on the issues that impact us as citizens and human beings – jobs, community, family, education, healthcare, the environment, and more. On the platform, issues are the building blocks of conversations, politician ratings, election manifesto mapping, civil society causes and a lot more. Issues that are most important to the majority, in a geographical area, automatically surface and are prioritized. Thus at the level of the city, issues such as road infrastructure, building permits, clean drinking water etc might be prioritized, while at the level of a province it might be employment, business regulations, sharing of natural resources between states, etc.
The platform allows rich visualization of issues on a dashboard as a hierarchy, or cross connected issue stacks, or based on geography etc. Issue dashboards serve to educate & enable all stakeholders (citizens, civil society, practitioners, experts, government and civic agency appointed representatives and elected people’s representatives) to coalesce around issue clusters that can then be cooperatively solved.
Election manifestos and individual politician’s promises are mapped to issues, and voted on by people, thus creating data driven rating scorecards for politicians, policies and politicians that hold infinite promise to remove the veil of secrecy from electioneering. Such scorecards are used to inform & educate the electorate, to aid decision making and vote casting. They are used by political parties and politicians to perform real performance appraisals and to determine in real time the issues that they need to act on to not lose public support, or not be voted out in the next election.
NE creates historical trends (timelines of issues and scorecards) to empower voters before elections such that they are able to vote based on historical quantitative data rather than the most recent appeasement policy of the government. Such trends are also an immense aid for policy making by the agencies of the state.
What’s Cooking Now
We are hard at work on the product development, in order to release an early public beta by end of May. Do check out the teaser website (https://nextelection.com/) which has details and product mockups, as well as our articles on the blog (https://blog.nextelection.com/)
We would love to hear any feedback or suggestions that you may have (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are also looking for a seed round of funding and we would be delighted if any alumni can refer us to any funding agencies.