Making ID/Social Web Products Better

This Friday I am going to be co-facilitating a day of learning and exchange about Innovation, Design and Serious Games Exchange this Friday in San Francisco. I would like to invite you all to participate. It will be an open space style unconfernece – with attendees creating the agenda – it is open to all.

Last September I took a training with the founder of Innovation Games Luke Hohmman (to be a game facilitator) and it was amazing set of fun “games” to play with the users/customers of one’s products. Quite different then a focus group in terms of the kind of information that you get about how to shape/design your products. (wikipedia article – details all 12 games and information about selecting the appropriate game)

I know what you are asking how is playing games going to help with my products, workplace or process. I wondered this too….her is a simple example.

I explained one of them (Buy a Feature) this way at the Online Community Unconference – say you have a next generation set of features to build for your product – you have 10 potential features but only time to build a few of them – how do you prioritize/decide about which ones to put in the next release?
Buy a Feature is a game you can play o do this (and it is both online and face to face)
You bring in 10 current customers together and give them each $200 of play money. You give each of your features a cost totaling $3000-$4000 (one might be $100 (really easy to build) $500 (harder/more time) etc.) They must amongst them selves figure out how to spend their $2000 to by a limited set of the 10 features. You could play this with several sets of customers and then gather information about what they want. It helps you make decisions about what to build AND it is fun for them to play the game of “buying” the features they want.
The conference is not limited to “just” innovation games but also includes other design and “serious” games.

  • Design games: Offering collaborative design activities within a game format improves idea generation and communication among stakeholders. By shifting focus to the game, power relations and other factors that might hamper idea generation, are downplayed
  • Serious games: Ranging from theater improvisation to interactive games technology within non-entertainment sectors, serious games have uses in education, government, health, military, science, corporate training, first responders, and social change

You don’t have to be an expert to attend – if you are just exploring these things we invite you along.

There have been a few companies in the identity space that have used these tools – I just can’t say who.

I am also happy to talk with folks if they are interested in using games to innovate and do better product design in the identity and social web space.

Here is the book if you are interested in learning more.

“Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play” (Luke Hohmann)

Surfacing back into Cyberspace at Building 43 today

Basically this post is to say I am “back” – I have a bit more time on my hands this summer to pay attention to Cyberspace and want to give attention to expressing my thoughts and ideas in text online again. I am inspired by this mention by Scoble around the launch of  Building 43 that is happening today. I thought it was an actual physical space when I got the invitation. Turns out it is a website that Robert Scoble is leading. It is focused on what he calls the 2010 web and others call Web 3.0.

Here’s another way to put it. When you look at Techmeme and see all the tech bloggers yammering on about the latest cool things, the way they were this week about Facebook’s new URLs that are coming out tomorrow, or Apple’s new iPhone, do they look backward and think about the average businessperson? Not in my experience. We don’t have an industry conversation about how to actually use all this cool stuff to improve lives, make businesses stronger and closer to their customers, and have some fun.

A few people here and there are trying. I watch what Chris Messina, David Recordon, Marc Canter, Joseph Smarr, Kaliya Hamlin, and a group of others are trying to do by pushing a more open web. Those are the kinds of efforts that inspire me and are inspiring Building43. Can we build on what they are trying to do and take it to main street?

This actually impresses me cause I thought Scoble had just become an internet micro-celebrety for its own sake. I look forward to contributing to the conversation about the future of what is becoming a very social web where peoples identity online matters deeply.

Here is where I have been since my last post.

Since Social Web Foo Camp and posting the 80% complete article about communities context and online life. I haven’t blogged. I have been very busy though.

Immediately following I attended the “identity day” at RSA on Monday April 20th –  talks were given from the front of the room for a day. Liberty Alliance put the day together along with the Information Card Foundation- The Kantara Initiative was “launched”. I am not clear that the format of the day actually provided greater understanding by those outside our community that are confused by all the activity.

The exciting thing that happened leading up to this day was the launch of the new Information Card Foundation Website – I gave some feedback that was included in the core language and messaging. It has great Flash animation explaining the cards along with featured projects including the GSA Demo.

RSA was fun – I didn’t spend to much time in sessions mostly talking to people in the community. I led a peer-to-peer session on Business Models for Claims Based Identity. A good group attended however the room layout was cold and stale. (I will be writing about it on my unconference blog shortly).

Penguin Day followed on April 25th. This is a super fun day facilitated by Allen Gunn focused on Non-Profits and Open Source. I learned more about TikiWiki as a content management system (I am considering it as the platform for She’s Geeky). I also was impressed by how much CiviCRM had improved. I also talked to a college registrar very interested in how information card technology might play a roll in getting them out of paper based management of student records and certification.

The Nonprofit Technology Conference followed – they had a large exhibit hall and I talked to many of the vendors there about OpenID and Information Cards – about 1/2 had heard about OpenID and almost none about Information Cards. It was great to talk to my friends in the industry (I have been attending this conference since 2004). Social Actions is progressing and is creating a way to aggregate action information for social good.

I flew to NYC to facilitate the Creative Unconference on May 7-8 put on by the One Club for Art and Copy collaborating with the Society for Digital Agencies.  This was during Creative Week. The One Club gives out bronze, sliver and gold pencil’s – some of the most prestigious awards in the advertising business. They attended their interactive awards on Friday night – I brought Robert Tolmach along as a guest and he told me about his new project – Class Wish.

I went to DC and spent the day at the Sex 2.0 conference at the intersection of social media, feminism and sexuality. I was particularly interested in how this community was thinking thinking about and dealing identity online and off. Many people had names they went by within the community that were different from their “every day” names. Several presenters talked about having two facebook profiles (one for their sex life and one for regular life) I pointed out that this against facebook policy and they were surprised – it seemed very natural to have two persona’s. Other presenters talked about being fully “out” completely linking their sex life.

I attended the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology Women of Vision Awards. It was a very inspiring evening. Padmashree Warrior the CTO of Cisco was the key note speaker – she was super inspiring and gave ideas about how to connect to the community 2.0 audience.

I spoke at Community 2.0 about identity technologies. I covered OpenID, OAuth and Information Cards and at the end mentioned project VRM for those who were very forward looking. It was a relatively small conference and I spent a lot of time preparing for the talk with my speech coach. My issue has been having to much to say – I can talk about identity for hours and in great detail. Lura helped me figure out what to say. I did a good job clearly communicating and had several people say they enjoyed my talk and it gave them some practical information not just social media guru hype.

I went to the first day of the VRM workshop and was totally impressed by the quality of projects and companies working in the space. Several attendees didn’t know about IIW and a few signed up to attend.

The Internet Identity Workshop was AMAZING. We had the same number of attendees as we usually do. I am going to write some more posts about the event soon. The next IIW is November 3-5 in Mountain View.

I went to the Maker Faire on Sunday the 31st of May – it was fun to see all the stuff people are making. I also got a LiveScribe Pen. I will be using it for diagrams on this blog in the coming months.

June 1 was CommunityOne where i saw Jono Bacon talk about Community there were 10 people to see him speak in an auditorium that held 1000.

I flew to Boston and met with Fabio Carara of the Venice Project Center and Venice 2.0 – they are considering how to leverage 20 years worth of geo-data. We are discussing building a community including a few unconferences.

I had dinner with Mary Ruddy and we continued progress on Identity Commons infrastructure – particularly our new blog/website.

I facilitated the Mass Technology Leadership Council Spring Meeting that asked the question “What is the future of Software and the Internet” I lead a session on identity – they asked good questions and were impressed by all the activity in the space.

I flew to San Francisco – to make it back for the 2nd Scala Lift Off. Scala is a programming language – some describe as Java++, Lift is a web framework. This is a great programming language community with an healthy online community life. I work supporting them in community building when the meet face-to-face.

Yesterday I was working with Forum One facilitating the 4th Online Community Unconference. This is a great community of online community managers (the folks who moderate online community), platform providers (software providers) and hosts (companies that have online communities). I presented a session about OpenID, OAuth and Information Cards – I even got a bottle of wine during the closing from one of the attendees thanking me for the quality of information that I shared.

Today it is the Building 43 party at Tech Crunch and next week is SemWeb in San Jose – I will likely make it to the Personal Democracy Forum. The next “identity” event is Burton Group Catalyst at the end of July in San Diego.

I look forward engaging in this medium again with a post every few days.

Why now with the Data Sharing Workshop/Summit?

Link to the Data Sharing Workshop and Summit.

There is a lot of energy right now around different ideas on how to share data across social media sites. Based on current discussions on the dataportabiltity.org lists and other places, it is clear that a range of potential standards and approaches are emerging.

The energy feels a lot like it did when Phil, Doc and I called the first Internet Identity Workshop – at that time there was a cluster of people thinking about and working on different technologies around user-centric identity. We had been meeting other conferences, but we had not spent time together to really hear different proposed approaches. They all had similar ideas. We recognized this and realized that if we brought them together, it would lead to the emergence of shared understanding and interesting alignments.

At IIW 1 the first day involved participants presenting their different approaches to user-centric identity. The second day was open space – an organized way to support critical conversations that emerged out from listening to all the presentations the day before. It was on that day that the serious conversation between Brad Fitzpatrick & David Recordon’s OpenID(1), Johannes Earnst’s LID, Drummond Reed’s xri/inames all had a conversation that lead to a commitment to meet up a month later and that conversation became Yadis – a group that was joined by SXIP a few months later and then a few months later this was all folded in and became OpenIDv2.

Another outcome of the Internet Identity Workshop has not matured yet but it is coming along. The card selector metaphor, interfaces and client code to do it are starting to be tested and deployed. The cooperate between Kim Cameron and his Microsoft team with IBM and the Higgins & Bandit open source projects has been fostered at these events. The OSIS (Open Source Identity System) Project and Concordia projects are both doing workshops interoperability testing at the forthcoming RSA conference. OSIS has over 200 test in their Interop. The range of actors (standards efforts, open source projects, commercial projects and companies) collaborating is impressive.

Phil, Doc and I didn’t know that these would be an “outcomes” of the event and certainly did not have it as a “goal.” What we did know was that by getting people together to share their ideas, technology approaches and standards, some good would happen – that is, collaboration, synergy and actual investment in and diffusion of user-centric technologies. We also chose a format with open space that left an open playing field – we were not deciding who got to talk, about what or when. This explicitly neutral unpolitical way of organizing also facilitated the collaborative environment.

My goal for the 2nd Data Sharing Summit is to bring together participants from

1) the large companies with 10s of millions of users like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, MySpace, Facebook, AOL, Amazon, eBay etc.

2) Small and Medium sized ‘web 2.0′ sites like LinkedIn, RapLeaf, Eventful, Dopplr, Linquia, Dabble, 30Boxes, Magnolia the whole range of Web 2.0 startups that are focused on services for people that involves peoples data.

3) The Standards Guys (Both adhoc and formal) Those putting forward a range of different approaches being proposed for managing the personal data/social network problem. This includes people from the user-centric identity efforts, semantic web standards and tools,

4) Social/Legal/Policy Implications Those thinking about and addressing the social and legal implications of the emerging technologies.

Bringing this range of people together will be key ingredient to getting this gathering be fruitful – I know because of who they are and the passion they have for the topic it will be. I am not going to define ahead of time “what the fruit looks like”

My hope is that there are some similar approaches that can discover each other “now” rather then a year from now when they are ‘going to market’ and decide to cooperate and merge efforts sooner rather then later (like happened with OpenID).

I asked two colleagues who will be attending what he thought the goals were:
* To establish shared consensus about the meaning of data sharing and portability for Internet users.
* To articulate a roadmap for how this can be achieved (and for determining “when we are there”).
* To understand what parts of this roadmap are technical and which are business/social/political/legal.
* To understand which technologies are available and which are emerging to achieve the roadmap.
* To determine how to move forward on the business/social/political/legal challenges.
* get disparate orgs ot work together
* get consensus on standards – and feedback
* identify missing standards
* get testing and compatibility labs -set up!
* and from an evangelistic POV – get Opt-In include din all systems

I think all of these will move forward in the format of Open Space and the collective participation and discernment at the beginning middle and end of the conference.
You can add goals here.

When I think about this gathering the big questions include:
* how do people link their information together across platforms with different services?
* how are permissions managed?
* what are the policies that apply?
* what standards exist?
* what code / frameworks are available to do this?
* what does it mean when my blog is the center of my network?
* is there a standard way to update presence?
* how do the identity tools (openID, oAuth, card selectors, data linking) apply?
* how do semantic web frameworks apply?

I hope to create a high-level professional community that is very engaged with these issues because they want to empower their users to have a copy of their data, to be aware of how it is used and to be able to use their data in interesting ways.

I also hope that a community will emerge that will work together, compete over different options and in the end solve the challenging set of problems that need to be addressed to get data sharing to work.

BayCHI talk coming together

I am talking tomorrow at BayCHI along with giving the folks a taste of unconference process.

First I will do picture filled “tour” of unconfernce processes and patterns for about 1/2 an hour and then answering some questions.

The irony of being asked to speak about designing unconferences is not lost on me because conferences have experts or distinguished speakers share their knowledge broadcast style to an audience. I decided that it would only be appropriate to do what happens at unconferences tap into the knowledge is in the room because the BayCHI community has been to many 100’s of events, conferences, workshops, meetings. They know more collectively then I do.

We will use the discovery process of Appreciative Inquiry to share the knowledge in the room about effective and inspiring process at conferences.

The audience will divide up into dyads and answer these questions:
Think of a time in your entire conference going experience, when have you felt most alive, most inspired and most proud. What was it that made it a high point? Please tell that story. Follow up question What seemed particularly effective or innovative?

Then we will gather in small groups of 6-10:
First tell each others story to the others in the group.
2. Merge lists of key qualities and circumstances of peak (un)conference going experiences.
3. Pick from this list the top two elements.

Then with the whole audience will hear from each group the key elements they found in their group.

BJ a Dialogue Mapper will capture the whole audience participation. I will collect the papers that have the merged list of each of the groups and will post them likely on the dCamp wiki.

Talking at BayCHI on Unconference Design May 9

I am going to be talking at BayCHI on unconference design next month on May 9. It will be fun to share what I have learned from my years of conference attendance and recent foray into helping produce and facilitated unconferences like the Internet Identity Workshop and Mashup Camp.

I went to BayCHI on Tuesday to get a sense of the crowd. T hey had great questions for the Social Search companies there. Pandora, Live365, Netflix, Digg and Del.icio.us.

The funniest part of the evening was when the Digg guy was like ‘way back in the Web 1.5 days’ and the live365 guy goes ‘you mean in November’ – everyone cracked up.

It reminded me of a comment that was made in a conversation with Doc and Mary Referring to an event… in ‘internet time’ that was three years ago (but really it was a year in solar time).