4H/ Sharing a Systems Leadership Strategy to Catalyze an Identity Ecosystem

From IIW
Jump to: navigation, search

Sharing Systems Leadership


Thursday 4H

Convener: Kaliya

Notes-taker(s): Kaliya


Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:


Kaliya presented about a detailed report she has written to articulate how to engage in systems leadership in identity systems. 

This is the introduction. Kaliya is working on a revised short version of the over 100 page report. If you would like to read it please contact her kaliya (at) identitywoman.net 

Today’s systems for digital identity are frustrating for people, businesses, civil society and governments. This report outlines at three phased, systems leadership approach, that the federal government can use to catalyze transformational change in identity systems. At this critical time the government cannot shirk its responsibility to ensure that these systems actually work and improve. As they are functioning today these systems are vectors of cybersecurity vulnerability. In addition the Homeland Security Enterprise depends on a smooth functioning scalable set of IdM and privacy systems. The government must nurture change to help the systems we all interact with daily become more efficient and more secure.

There is no single "answer" to solve the challenge of identity, there is only process that present a paths to get there. Starting with a pre-determined outcome will guarantee failure. While one can't have a pre-determined outcome, one can start with a clear intention, such as, The new/resulting system work better for everyone. Precise clarity about potential solutions and helpful actions the government can take within the communities of diverse stakeholders will only come in time and with the cultivation of strong networked relationships. 

There is a real opportunity to take a leadership approach based on systems "Systems Leadership”. An article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Dawn of System Leadership, co-authored by Peter Senge articulates three core capabilities that systems leaders develop in order to foster collective leadership. The author found this article after the report was basically complete and discovered that the three core capabilities it outlines map directly to the phases of this report. The first is the ability to see the larger system. The second capability involves fostering reflection and more generative conversations. The third centers on shifting the collective focus from reactive problem solving to co-creating the future.  

If one starts with a small yet diverse representative group and then nurtures a community of stakeholders who understand each other and are motivated to work together by shared concern about the issues and challenges, the effort is likely to succeed. So the way in which the government seeks to catalyze change in this field is important. This is both because of the broad nature of identity affects literally everything and the sensitivity of the general public to government involvement in identity systems.

The report includes details on how a government agency can take a three phased approach to relate to people and build relationships and the processes and methods that might be used in each. Before getting to the details of the phases the report provides a review of complex systems and the reasons why identity itself is complex.


Phase One focuses on primarily on Naming and Reframing the challenges while identifying and inviting stakeholders to participate. As it progresses some sense-making (understanding the system) will be done by the stakeholders through the development of a series of field guides of key concepts. By the end of this Phase a core stakeholder group will have formed and will be in alignment about the challenges/issues and how to proceed to Phase Two.

Phase Two focuses on more intensive community building amongst stakeholder communities while they work together to figure out how the systems work today as they begin exploring visions/possibility of how it could work in the future. This would include uncovering

  • What key elements are missing?
  • What do people really care about relative to privacy stances of the actual available technology options?
  • What do businesses need to support confidence in documents (physical and digital)?
  • What regulations might need changes or updates to support new digital systems?
  • What new laws would help create and enhance the functioning of the overall identity system and protect all of its stakeholders?

There are a lot of challenging questions and a wide range of stakeholder's who hold different perspectives and world views. Phase Two offers a variety of potential Mapping methods and related processes for gaining collective insight and taking collective action. This Phase will build collective will for joint stakeholder action to work together in improving the system.

Phase Three focuses on intensive collaborative action to catalyze system changes and co-create the future. It builds on Phase Two and many of the collective action methods will be appropriate to do the work of this phase. The Conclusion gives an overview of the document, shares research questions that arise from it and recommends initial steps to begin implementing the vision outlined in this report.