Two weekends ago I was in Austin Texas for the 4th National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Conference. They hold their conference every 2 years and I have attended that last two. What was surprising this time was I actually found identity projects in the wild. I met Lou and Wayne (Lou is wearing black so he is from NY – Wayne is wearing the uniform from DC a suit ad tie.)
Lou is working on CivicID (a project of Gateway to gov)- they do 3rd party constituent validation. The plan right now is to issue OpenID’s that can be used on different services. Because they get third party validation the idea is that legislators will listen to electronic communication more because they know it is from actual constituents. I asked if they would be issuing claims based information cards and he said yes they would get to that.
Wayne is working on the OPen Forum Foundation their first Project is to address communication difficulties between:
* Constituents: Are you happy with your ability to communicate with your elected officials and the people who make the decisions about your world?
* Government decision-makers and staff: Are you able to handle the inflow of emails, faxes, and phone calls from constituents and respond in the way that you would like?
* Advocacy Groups: Do you find it easy to express the voice of your members to their elected officials in a way that gets heard and is productive?
Two years ago I was at NCDD talking to the online deliberation guys explaining identity – this time there were several projects that all were aware of it at least.
Practical Evolution - this has gone through several evolutions and is being used in Australia.
DeepDebate.org a project lead by Lucas Ciof is working on a system to help dive into different
Idealogue Inc. by Noam Shore is also doing online tools for civic engagement.
It was quite exciting to see all this activity Tim Erickson has a post on his blog with videos about three of them.
I had dinner both Friday and Saturday night with the tech guys – (Yes the first night I was the only woman at dinner and the second night one of two) I am hoping several of these guys come to IIW and share what they are working on.
Today I am headed to the Open Sustainability Network Camp and tomorrow to Bioneers (a conference I have been attending since 1999). I am hoping that I will be pleasantly surprised at both to find people doing interesting identity projects in the field.
I came to this field from a civil society perspective via my work with Planetwork. This does not mean however that I am anti-business or don’t care about the needs of large enterprises in this space. In the last several years I have come to appreciate how fundamentally essential their role is in making any of the original idealistic “user-centric” vision articulated in places like the ASN Paper happen. I also don’t think that business alone can get this layer to happen and without civil society engagement or uses it will take much longer. It is most definitely a both-and situation rather then an either-or.
I have often chosen to speak to the civil society perspective when I am in the community. There are already so many people who work at large enterprises and thinking about the business models. Perhaps this was a mistake because it may not be obvious how much I care about the business side of things. I CARE about it AND it is not all that matters. I am hoping in the next while to invite more people working day to day in the nonprofit, social and environmentally responsible business sector, advocacy groups and others to become more involved in the identity community. My finding of the projects at NCDD doing identity shows there is now a wider understanding of the use for identity and people beginning to experiment with application.