[KI-LC] Kantara Leadership Retreat - Summary Report to BoT and LC

Joni Brennan joni at ieee-isto.org
Tue Aug 13 11:28:15 CDT 2013

Hello BoT and LC,

Last week, several people met in Vancouver, WA at the ForgeRock offices to
discuss the next steps for Kantara to grow as an organization.  Many thanks
go to Ken Dagg, Heather Flanagan, Allan Foster, Lucy Lynch, Eve Maler, and
Pete Palmer for their thoughtful participation, and a special thanks to
Colin Wallis for his remote participation on the first day.  A special
thank you to Allan Foster and ForgeRock for hosting the event.

While past Kantara meetings have focused on the output of specific work
groups, the purpose of this meeting was to focus on Kantara itself, its
structure, ability to grow, and ability to market itself as a leader in the
identity and credential assurance space.  Day one (and part of day two)
examined the question of "Why does Kantara exist?"  The expectation was
that if we could clearly articulate "why?", the "What does Kantara do?" and
"How does Kantara do it?" would flow reasonably from that point.  This
turned out to be an excellent exercise to bring us all to the same page of
understanding and expectation regarding the organization.  While the
conversation has not finished, our final word-smithing for the meeting
settled on:

       "Kantara exists to define rules of engagement for operators of
online services, enabling high-value, privacy-preserving identity and

Participants agreed that some more work on the Why statement is probably in
order, but left that for a future discussion.

Part of our exercise in coming to "why?" focused on the "HUVE" concept:
what makes us Hard to copy, Unique, Valuable, and Embedded (i.e., hard
_not_ to use) ?   We also evaluated Kantara as if we were an outside group
considering Kantara as a home for its work, based on Reputation, Support,
Governance, IPR regime, Barriers to entry, Liaison opportunities, and
Sustainability/Business viability.  In all of these evaluations, we
realized that we had to look at Kantara through three very
different lenses: Kantara as a whole, Kantara specifically as a service
operator offering services to its clients, and Kantara as a home for
innovation.  One takeaway from these examinations is that Kantara, in its
openness and drive towards cohesion and interoperability, is fairly unique
in the assurance and accreditation space; we are just starting to see the
tip of the iceberg of organizations that want to become a Credential
Service Provider.

During the meeting, three points became clear:

1. Kantara is a very lean organization, whether we considered the
Accreditation side or as the Innovation side of the Work and Discussion
Groups.  While the lean structure has worked in the early market and we are
not a dot com going crazy, we need to support the organization and prepare
for growth by bringing in more resources (e.g., additional staff, focused
group participation, more Members).

2. In order to bring in more resources, Kantara needs a clearer marketing
message than what we've used with the Early Adopters.  We need a marketing
message that will work with the Early Majority of organizations demanding
interoperability in the credential space.

3. Work and Discussion Groups, while sponsored, formed and operated by
individuals who participate in Kantara, have lacked a clear focus on
delivering value, especially in their ongoing operations, to the
shared mission and vision of Kantara Members and Subscribers.

Each of the above points decomposes in to specific action items.  In order
to support the expected growth of the organization, we need to consider our
accreditation program as a service operator, and run it accordingly.  This
means leveraging a service development manager to facilitate the CSP
application process and make sure the organization's needs are clearly

For a better marketing message, Kantara needs to be clear on what we offer
to organizations.  This means a cleaner website with the benefits of
membership and participation clearly listed and more detailed information
easier to find.  This also means (and here we borrow the Creative Commons
license layer description (see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/))
creating a Human Readable IAF in addition to the Legal Code-style IAF that
currently exists.

As for the Innovation side of the house, the Work and Discussion Groups
should be focused on outputs and research that will specifically support
Kantara's overall mission.  This means that each Work Group should have an
active charter with clear outputs and timelines that are tracked and
reported upon, each Discussion Group should have an active charter with
clearly defined topics, and all Work and Discussion Groups will review and
renew their charter annually with LC approval.

I look forward to advancing specific plans with the BoT and LC to put
actions to this summary. If there are questions or comments in advance
please do not hesitate to contact me.

Last - BUT NOT LEAST - a very special thanks to my right hand team
mate, Heather Flanagan, for her vital support on-site culminating in
the development of this summary report. Again, many thanks to the
participants that brought us this far, and a thanks in advance to the rest
of you that will help take this work even farther.

Joni Brennan,

Executive Director
Kantara Initiative

Joni Brennan
Kantara Initiative | Executive Director
voice:+1 732-226-4223
email: joni @ kantarainitiative.org

Building Trusted Identity Ecosystems - It takes a village!
Slides: http://bit.ly/ki-june-2013
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