Identity is the future building block of IT systems. Most of the new technologies and paradigms, that Gartner & Co. tell us will completely change the way we work, is solely based on the work of digital identities.
It is not IT systems that create successes of social collaboration media such as Facebook, Wikipedia, or even Google Search, rather it is the identities working hard to create and maintain the content that people use them for. It becomes a self-perpetuating effect. Even the key ingredient in the succes of Google Search with it's vast index of content is not the content itself, but the links within the content that people choose to create.
There are probably many things that Google and Microsoft don't want to collaborate on, but individuals from both would probably like to collaborate on a captivating descriptions of instant messaging on Wikipedia. Existing corporate boundaries do not allow this, but new platforms are helping to create these cross-cutting groups. The notion of IT systems is wholly inadequate to describe the complexes that is Google, Facebook, or MySpace. Allowing people to collaborate across established cultural and social boundaries bring them together in solving problems, common to the newly established groups' focal point.
Not only are common social groups recombined, but they are also enabled to build upon the work of each other, greatly improving productivity and the speed of innovation, e.g. completely rewriting the rules of developing new systems and capitalizing on data. Facebook and MySpace are great examples of how billion dollar businesses can be created on the basis of a [many] digital identitiy used to recombine data of and about the people behind, e.g. linking pictures on Flickr to the identities of the people in them.
The one common element of the plethora of new services (Ziki.com, MakeMeSustainable, OpenID.net) and technologies (Skype, CardSpace, Instant Messenger/Presence, ) that are being developed, is their focus on identity and how to enable collaboration in new and better ways, and often about new things.
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