I answered these questions at the very end.They do not reflect my response because the governance NOI and questions made a lot of assumptions about what the right next step is, namely spinning up a steering group even when there is no shared language or understanding among the community of identified stakeholders. Without this, collaboration will be impossible and the group will struggle politically with “language” and questions about its “authority”, and likely fail. It is essential to take a few more months to strategically weave the community, facilitate a lot of map making, much sharing of ideas and visions,and by January it will be quite clear what the form of governance should be, because it will be clear what problems need to be solved and how the community of stakeholders wants to work together effectively to build an Identity Ecosystem. The methods outlined in the Insight for Governance section above stshould be used in an ongoing way to bring feedback into the system.
1.1. Given the Guiding Principles outlined in the Strategy, what should be the structure of the steering group? What structures can support the technical, policy, legal, and operational aspects of the Identity Ecosystem without stifling innovation?
Answered on Page 41: Structure of the Steering Group
A systems approach must be taken, using methodologies for structure and process that are holistic and adaptive over time. They must provide insight into the overall function and health of the ecosystem and give people who are leading organizations within the ecosystem a clear picture of where to intervene, how to adjust their behavior/actions relative to the players and for the overall good of the system. It must support new innovation while at the same time addressing new security threats and risks, and be adaptive to social and cultural changes.
Answered on Page 46
If the purpose of the group is to hold space for the broad range of stakeholders to share insights then it will be a far less “political” body. It is important to have a body that is diverse, but the mandate to listen and respond to the overall ecosystem makes it not “about” the members having the power to decide how to steer for all the stakeholders of the ecosystem because they were elected as their “representatives”, but rather their mandate is to convene periodic stakeholder conversations with well-tested proven methodologies and to act on the recommendations and insights they generate.
Answered on Page 47
The power held by the steering group is real, but limited by the conversational context of its operations. The ability of any one entity in the ecosystem to skew outcomes is limited by the equalizing and randomizing factors put in place. In the system as set up, there is FAR more motivation to seek solutions that integrate one’s own needs with those of others than there is to seek solutions that benefit oneself at the expense of others.
1.2. Are there broad, multi-sector examples of governance structures that match the scale of the steering group? If so, what makes them successful or unsuccessful? What challenges do they face? Answered on Page 39: Effective Information Sharing
Identity Commons was originally founded in 2001 by Owen Davis and Andrew Nelson to foster a user-centric identity layer of the web that the people “owned”. In 2007 the communities that gathered at the Internet Identity Workshop retained the purpose and principles of Identity Commons but transitioned to become a 501(c)6 organization linking and connecting efforts across a range of different communities and organizations. Groups working on issues touching on user-centric identity did not have to leave their respective standards body or academic institution in order to join. Totally independent organizations could also join, and groups that had not yet formed their own organization or subsection of another organization could also join.
Identity Commons focuses on information sharing and playing a loose coordinating role as a form of providing relevant information to groups, to support informing their governance and decision-making relative to other groups, communities and organizations. It has a purpose and 7 principles that provide guidance for its community governance.
Above all else, they share a purpose; this links them together across their diverse approaches and foci. There is a subtlety to these principles and how they helps groups collaborate and share. The transparency principle is not about opening all information of all groups , but rather asking groups to be clear about how they operate and work, to be transparent about the level of transparency. Groups fill out a “charter”, meaning they answer some key questions about what they do, why they do it, what they do and how they do it (their governance, and transparency level). Because all groups do this in the same format, it is easy to compare and understand the function of groups and the role or purpose they play.
Open information sharing like Identity Commons aspires to provide is a public good but essential for ecosystem health. Identity Commons has always had a vision of supporting the collection and aggregation of RSS news feeds from groups and relevant efforts. It also does share some information about events focused on key issues across the groups. There is a community call once a month where the stewards of each group share an update about their past and upcoming activity.
To date this organization has been led by volunteers and what funding has come in has been very small contributions from the main community event, the Internet Identity Workshop. This has limited its ability to fully build out the technical infrastructure and people resources needed to curate this flow of information. To date it has been challenging to find funding mechanisms for organization networks and forms like that allow them to thrive and fully for fill their purpose.
The NSTIC national program office should consider how information sharing networks systems like this are robust enough to support the level of information sharing and coordination needed for a thriving ecosystem. It may be that the program office can fulfill this role, particularly if also hosting the stakeholder wiki/list. Collecting and aggregating and organizing information flowing to and from these organizations is not governance, but a key public-good role appropriate for government to play in facilitating the emergence of an ecosystem.
Another Answer not in the response above:
The Internet Identity Workshop is an excellent example of distributed community governance. The community that attends is very aligned around a common purpose making identity technologies that work for people. The event is the center of innovation around user-centric identity. New ideas are floated there and common problems identified, analyzed and then solutions proposed, refined, often taken to appropriate standards bodies. Code is built and interoperability achieved. Real problems are solved it; is a self-organizing system where good ideas have space to surface, and because of the public open nature, all who have concerns can share them and have them addressed. It is governed in a peer-to-peer way by the people who attend. Anyone can post a session, and then people choose which sessions to go to or not. Ideas and technologies that get momentum coming out of the event do so because of their merit, their ability to solve problems. The community has learned a lot about how to work together effectively and the relationships among the people provide a human fabric of trust that speeds innovation.
1.3. Are there functions of the steering group listed in this Notice that should not be part of the steering group’s activities? Please explain why they are not essential components of Identity Ecosystem Governance.
According to the NOI, the steering group has many different responsibilities that seem to conflicting (see page 17). The group must focus first on creating consensus amongst diverse stakeholder groups on the nature of the ecosystem, both how it is now and key aspects of the a future vision that are agreed upon and can be worked towards.
1.4. Are there functions that the steering group must have that are not listed in this notice? How do your suggested governance structures allow for inclusion of these additional functions?
The steering group should be holding space to support emergence of the ecosystem. The precise role and function of the group will become clear in time as it engages the stakeholders. Both developing shared language and understanding along while mapping a consensus map of the ecosystem. , Stakeholder engagement with World Cafe, Open Space Technology and Creative Insight Councils twill make it clear how the steering group can best serve the emergence of the Identity Ecosystem.
1.5. To what extent does the steering group need to support different sectors differently?
If the initial consensus process is done with many different industries participating both “as a sector” and in multi-sector meetings, then the answer will emerge from those processes.
1.6. How can the steering group effectively set its own policies for all Identity Ecosystem participants without risking conflict with rules set in regulated industries? To what extent can the government mitigate risks associated with this complexity?
The answer to this question is best dealt with by community of stakeholders using the processes outlined in this response. The community of stakeholders this affects will be able to navigate through this problem if given the chance with the right process and facilitation.
1.7. To what extent can each of the Guiding Principles of the Strategy–interoperability, security, privacy and ease of use—be supported without risking “pull through”1 regulation from regulated participants in the Identity Ecosystem?
The answer to this question is best dealt with by community of stakeholders using the processes outlined in this response. The community of stakeholders this affects will be able to navigate through this problem if given the chance with the right process and facilitation.
1.8. What are the most important characteristics (e.g., standards and technical capabilities, rulemaking authority, representational structure, etc.) of the steering group?
Are you trying to support an truly diverse Identity Ecosystem emerging, or build a command and control structure for verified identities?
If you just want the latter, then let the private sector have at it with the “captain of the ship” who will “steer” industry in the right direction. This will lead to a very unbalanced system and strong negative public reaction.
To support the emergence of an ecosystem using structures and processes that are proven to enable self organizing, co-intelligent systems as outlined in the above document are what is needed to cultivate a diverse ecosystem.
Technical standards are made at technical standards bodies very well today this should continue in the future
1.9. How should the government be involved in the steering group at steady state? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different levels of government involvement?
The government will have an ongoing role to act as an advocate for consumers. It should be supporting the ongoing engagement with people about how the system is serving them. The advantage to using the methods outlined in the Insight for Governance section is that people from various levels of government can participate in the process.
Steering Group Initiation
In its role of supporting the private sector’s leadership of the Identity Ecosystem, the government’s aim is to accelerate establishment of a steering group that will uphold the Guiding Principles of the Strategy. The government thus seeks comment on the ways in which it can be a catalyst to the establishment of the steering group.
The government should focus its convening power to developed shared language and understanding among stakeholder groups.
2.1. How does the functioning of the steering group relate to the method by which it was initiated? Does the scope of authority depend on the method? What examples are there from each of the broad categories above or from other methods? What are the advantages or disadvantages of different methods? Answered on Page 41
This question leaps to forming a steering group before what is being “steered” is clear to those who have a stake in they system and before they are given time/space to figure out how it should be stewarded.
Understanding the current system(s) is a key first step to understanding how to spin up, to initiate systems to “steer” towards greater interoperability and more coherence across a broad range of identity providers, attribute providers, relying parties and other diverse players while meeting the needs of individuals to manage their context and presentation of self (personae).
Polarity Management and Value Network Mapping and Analysis are two processes I use in my workshop design and facilitation practice. These methods can foster consensus about the current state of the proposed systems that should converge into an ecosystem. participating Stakeholder groups will gain insight into the “goal”: the eventual structure and quality of a thriving Identity Ecosystem. This shared vision will allow many organizations to take their own action appropriate for them based on shared systems insight, and need not involve checking in with the “steering group” to see if they are going the right way.
The steering group by convening these systems level mapping efforts for all to see can “steer” towards the goal without necessarily needing a “steering group” to take that action.
Value Network Mapping and Analysis can address these kinds of questions:
- How do the systems that are envisioned to work together in a broader ecosystem articulated in NSTIC work today?
- What are their roles in these systems?
- How does value flow between roles in the system?
- Do these roles and value flows look very different in different industry sectors?
- What would be needed to make non-interoperable systems more interoperable?
- Is the picture of value flow in a larger, more interoperable ecosystem sustainable?
Polarity Management can address these kinds of questions:
What are the inherent tensions present when doing identity management for people and organizations?
How are these tensions managed today and how could they be effectively managed on a systems level within an identity ecosystem?
2.2. While the steering group will ultimately be private sector-led regardless of how it is established, to what extent does government leadership of the group’s initial phase increase or decrease the likelihood of the Strategy’s success? Answered on Page 47
If government leads by convening conversations of stakeholders rather than by designing the steering group, the creativity and relevance of those conversations will determine NSTIC’s success.
2.3. How can the government be most effective in accelerating the development and ultimate success of the Identity Ecosystem? Answered on Page 47
The NSTIC NPO should, as soon as possible, host a space online where all known/participating stakeholders who want to be listed can be listed.
The starting point for this could be the list that came out of the MIT workshop and the Wikipedia book could be a starting point for their basic information. There should be a simple standard set of information on each organization, including how they see themselves as a stakeholder in NSTIC, what they hope to contribute to it, what they are most concerned about, and what they want to collaborate with other stakeholders on. There might be a matchmaking role that the NSTIC NPO could play, proactively introducing stakeholders to one another so that potentially synergistic collaboration is enabled.
Supporting the stakeholder groups in learning more about one another is very important. One way to do that would be via a 2-3x weekly podcast, perhaps increasing it to a frequency sufficient to interview all known stakeholders.
All major industry conferences that are related to the industry or focus of the organization should be listed on a calendar that has some sophisticated search with queries on cities, dates and industry. This will help with cross-pollination which is essential right now for the proactive development of shared language and understanding.
There should also be a way for people who are actively working to collaborate to find one another both online and off. NSTIC can use the list of all the conferences in all industries that are significantly touched by NSTIC as a starting point to encourage/enable “meet-ups” amongst professionals to connect around NSTIC.
- Having a way for people going to a conference to find other interested people on your site, and from there self-organize.
- Contact the program organizer and see when it works to have a meet-up and get it on the program even if Jeremy isn’t going.
- Give people who want to have a BOF at a conference a package of study materials for professionals that the leader can hand out, following with a discussion. Jeremy could also make a video inviting people to participate.
- Encourage cross-pollination between industries. One way might be to pick a conference in a particular city. Organize the professionals from within the conference and the local interested professionals from a broader range of industries to meet up (perhaps for dinner).
If this sort of informal connecting, socialization and learning is happening, then there should be a way for interested professionals to report back from the meeting, post notes, record a video, send in a diagram. This could create some interesting cross-stakeholder conversations.
Socialization of NSTIC in IT professional communities is very important right now, because they are going to need to know something about this when it becomes time to socialize NSTIC with the public. They also can be a pool of not-directly-involved stakeholders to be tapped to participate in things like the Community Insight Council.
By quickly convening stakeholders in the mapping processes and in parallel, hosting-well designed, adequately inclusive, and wisdom-generating conversations using the methods outlined in this section. It must ensure that the charter that creates the steering group does not just articulate how it is formed, but also that it must convene regular meaningful stakeholder engagement processes to ensure broad public confidence, legitimacy, and ultimately trust in the Identity Ecosystem.
2.4. Do certain methods of establishing the steering group create greater risks to the Guiding Principles? What measures can best mitigate those risks? What role can the government play to help to ensure the Guiding Principles are upheld?
Failure to engage all parties in productive conversations will endanger the Guiding Principles, because all the interacting factors will not be sufficiently taken into account, increasing the chance that blind spots and biases will shape the outcomes.
2.5. What types of arrangements would allow for both an initial government role and, if initially led by the government, a transition to private sector leadership in the steering group? If possible, please give examples of such arrangements and their positive and negative attributes. Answered on Page 48
Government-convened conversations will enable a transition to private sector leadership, making sure that this includes an institutionalized principle of inclusion that reduces the chances any sector will unduly bias the evolution of the ecosystem.
Representation of Stakeholders in the Steering Group
3.1. What should the make-up of the steering group look like? What is the best way to engage organizations playing each role in the Identity Ecosystem, including individuals?
As I said in the above response the most important take away is defining the role of the steering group to be one of stewarding and holding space for the broader range of stakeholders to feed back into the system and take action based on their recommendations. With this structure, the group itself does not “hold power” and the organizations and individuals playing a role in the ecosystem participate in those processes.
3.2. How should interested entities that do not directly participate in the Identity Ecosystem receive representation in the steering group?
The most important take away is defining the role of the steering group to be one of stewarding and holding space for the broader range of stakeholders to feed back into the system and take action based on their recommendations. With this structure, the group itself does not “hold power” and the organizations and individuals playing a role in the ecosystem participate in those processes.
3.3. What does balanced representation mean and how can it be achieved? What steps can be taken guard against disproportionate influence over policy formulation?
Of course, the number of sectors, organizations and reps could be adjusted in a variety of ways. My effort was to limit the size of the steering committee to increase its efficiency, while making it hard for adversarial power centers to battle and dominate, due to the open nonlinear (and thus hard to control) elements I’ve injected into the voting process and the subsequent conversational protocols.
The power held by the steering group is real, but limited by the conversational context of its operations. The ability of any one entity in the ecosystem to skew outcomes is limited by the equalizing and randomizing factors put in place. In the system as specified here, there is far more motivation to seek solutions that integrate one’s own needs with those of others than there is to seek solutions that benefit oneself at the expense of others.
I think these are better questions to ask and they are on page 44
How does the steering group incorporate a broad range of stakeholder perspectives? In particular, how does it incorporate the perspectives of regular people from very diverse backgrounds and life stages who are doing transactions in the Identity Ecosystem as it evolves?
How is legitimacy earned from the many organized stakeholder “groups”? but also from regular people?
Legitimacy of the NSTIC steering group will emerge when a broad range of stakeholders, even those with “opposing” views, are following recommendations and working together towards the development of a coherent Identity Ecosystem. How can this happen? What processes could significantly increase the likelihood of this emergent property of legitimacy emerges?
The answer lies in not having the members of the “steering group” itself (using a combination of their points of view) be the origin of the “steering”. It should be a group that serves as a steward of and coordinator of proven systemic dialogue processes that regularly engage a wide range of stakeholders. The steering group takes action and makes recommendations based on the clarity and wisdom surfaced via regular, systematized stakeholder engagement online and offline. This section outlines a proposal of how this could work.
3.4 Should there be a fee for representatives in the steering group? Are there appropriate tiered systems for fees that will prevent “pricing out” organizations, including individuals?
The steering group should be funded by the government and by companies in the ecosystem. Individuals and nonprofits should be active participants in the community.
3.5. Other than fees, are there other means to maintain a governance body in the long term? If possible, please give examples of existing structures and their positive and negative attributes. One could charge nominal fees to recover costs at participatory events.
3.6 Should all members have the same voting rights on all issues, or should voting rights be adjusted to favor those most impacted by a decision? Answered on Page 36
Voting is not really the right process to get consensus. Instead we can ask: are there ways to understand and know system health that support self-regulating, distributed decision making by a range of stakeholders to achieve the goal of making an ecosystem with the qualities articulated in NSTIC real?
How is the Steering Group Composed?
If the purpose of the group is to hold space for the broad range of stakeholders to share insights, then it will be a far less “political body”. It is important to have a body that is diverse, but the mandate to listen and respond to the overall ecosystem makes it not “about” the members having the power to decide how to steer for all the stakeholders of the ecosystem because they were elected as their “representatives”, but rather their mandate is to convene periodic stakeholder conversations with well tested proven methodologies and to act on the recommendations and insights they generate.
The power held by the steering group is real, but limited by the conversational context of its operations. The ability of any one entity in the ecosystem to skew outcomes is limited by the equalizing and randomizing factors I’ve put in place. In the system as set up, there is far more motivation to seek solutions that integrate one’s own needs with those of others than there is to seek solutions that benefit oneself at the expense of others.
3.7. How can appropriately broad representation within the steering group be ensured? To what extent and in what ways must the Federal government, as well as State, local, tribal, territorial, and foreign governments be involved at the outset?
The suggested structures and processes in this response can be very inclusive of a broad range of stakeholders, including running sessions about the issues faced in ecosystem evolution by state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.
4.1. How should the structure of the steering group address international perspectives, standards, policies, best practices, etc?
The suggested structures and processes in this response can be very inclusive of the international community of stakeholders, including running sessions about the issues faced in ecosystem evolution in other countries.
4.2. How should the steering group coordinate with other international entities (e.g., standards and policy development organizations, trade organizations, foreign governments)? Yes. Standards should be developed in the appropriate international standards bodies.
4.3. On what international entities should the steering group focus its attention and activities? IETF, W3C and OASIS.
4.4. How should the steering group maximize the Identity Ecosystem’s interoperability internationally? It should use international standards.
4.5. What is the Federal government’s role in promoting international cooperation within the Identity Ecosystem?
It should be a leader in convening the necessary community engagement to develop shared language and understanding leading to cooperation. If it does this, then share maps of the ecosystem landscape of challenges and opportunities reflected in the role/value and polarity maps. These will naturally lead to increased potential for collaboration because there will be a shared picture on which to build effective cooperation.
This post is from pages 57-66 of Kaliya’s NSTIC Governance NOI Response – please see this page for the overview and links to the rest of the posts. Here is a link to the PDF.
This is the section before: Structure of the Steering Group
This is the section after: Planetwork Link Tank