Elon University

Imagining the Future Internet – Pre-conference Collaborative Leadership Exchange

ISOC 20th Anniversary LogoBrief session description:

Sunday, April 22, 2012 – The pre-conference leadership event was aimed at developing techniques for working with various constituencies in advancing Internet evolution in a positive way. Among the planned topics of discussion were: Leading from the grassroots; unique traits of Internet leadership; identifying your personal leadership style; bringing attention to issues that are vital to the future of the Internet.

      Details of the session:

      “Everyone’s voice matters,” with these words Allen Gunn, “Gunner,” the executive director of Aspiration, started the Collaborative Leadership Exchange at the Global INET 2012 conference.

      To prove this point the 60 or so participants started the session by introducing themselves, stating where they are from and in one word saying how they feel. Included were some veteran leaders of the Internet Society (ISOC).

      “I must say I am of a generation where I learned to use the Internet, but I still believe there is a strong value of seeing people face-to-face,” said Walda Roseman, COO of ISOC. “When I am among you I am reminded what we are all about here. What we are all about is bringing the world together through the Internet, through interaction, through connection and through a shared sense of mission.”

      This session was aimed at helping participants to grow to be much more than just basic users, consumers of the Internet, to assist and inspire them in becoming Internet creators, and to create a place to share dialogue between people who have the same interest and passion.

      Leadership Panel Interview“What I think we have an opportunity to do here is to prove to each other that we are of the same community,” Roseman said. “We see differences where we are, but we want to break down the walls and build unbroken connections.” She added she hoped the session would help participants create a network for the mission of advancing the Internet.

      “What I definitely look for is more connections and people who have opinions that are different from mine,” said Michael Bach, director of corporate Internet technology governance at Siemens and a participant at the session.

      While session leader Gunn presented a brief agenda at the start, he said he left most of it unscripted so that the session could be scripted by the passion of the room – the “unconference” format. The only guidelines presented were those of a spirit of respect and inclusion for the room.

      “The currency of today is questions,” Gunn said.

      The first activity was created to spark debate. Panelists were required to make a short statement about the Internet and then participants were required to indicate whether they agree, disagree or are somewhere in the middle. They did so by standing in a particular spot in the room to indicate their “vote.”

      The different opinions in the room were represented with the people’s reaction the very first statement: We need regulation in the Internet.

      “I think regulation stifles creativity,” said one participant.

      This remark was quickly followed by a differing opinion.

      Leadership Panel Discussion Group Photo“If you want to foster creativity, you have to foster how to diffuse creativity,” said another participant.

      The other statements discussed to spark further debate were:

      • New gTLDs will cause confusion for Internet users.
      • The cloud is safe.
      • Piracy acts are confusing and scaring Internet users.
      • Stability is more important than freedom.
      • The Internet Society is the only independent organization to come to and learn to be trained on IPv6.
      • Every country should have a national, non-governmental body to govern the Internet.

      When one workshop participant said stability is more important than freedom, all but three of the participants disagreed. “I am Egyptian, and I now feel more stable, more secure and more free,” said one.

      Leadership Panel Discussion ISOC The participants created the agenda for the rest of the session with all of the attendees coming up with topics they wanted to be discuss during breakout sessions. Everyone was asked to take part in a “mosh pit of the minds” where they were able to read and organize all of the ideas.

      Attendees picked themes for the breakout sessions and an attendee led each session. The earliest breakout session themes were: digital preservation, privacy, development responsibilities, ISOC chapter roles, IPv6 and the next generation and strategic listening.

      The later breakout sessions include: E-learning, women in ICT, critical Internet resources, the definition of the Internet, the digital divide, business models for free media content, the DNS system and blocking Internet copy.

      “People have to start thinking about themselves as change agents and I think this kind of session that fosters this and makes people come up with their own opinions is important,” Bach said.

      Roseman told the participants their responses will inform what those at the Internet Society do. With participants from all over the world including Pakistan, Romania, Turkey, Thailand, Senegal and New Zealand discussing the Internet, the conversation will be felt beyond any one organization.

      Notes from the afternoon breakouts, are expected to be posted here later.

      – Reporter: Rebecca Smith

      Return to home page for Imagining the Internet’s
      coverage of the Global INET Conference 2012
      Imagining the Internet Home
      Internet Society Home Page

      Twitter Logo A selection of Twitter Reports from this ISOC 20th event:

      Leadership Discussion Group Interested in Leadership? Check out ISOC’s Next Generation Leaders Programme  #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      Beijing Normal University has its own Asia Pacific Internet Leadership Program #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      Leadership types, Wall Street Journal style  #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      The Next Gen Leaders program educates young adults on key issues and their role in the future #ISOC 20 #GlobalINET

      @GbengaSesan: The Collaborative Leadership Exchange prelude is happening now at the @internetsociety #GlobalINET. Follow discussions via #ISOCCLX

      Martin Levy @mahtin: It’s #ISOCCLX (Collaborative Leadership Exchange) day at #GlobaINET conference!

      #ISOCCLX about to get started. No laptops allowed, just conversation in a giant circle. >50 participants ready to go. #GlobalInet #ISOC 20

      Among the countries represented at #ISOCCLX: Pakistan, Romania, Turkey, Thailand, Senegal, New Zealand and many more #GlobalInet #ISOC 20

      Walda Roseman, ISOC COO: “What we’re all about is bringing the world together through the Internet…” #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet #ISOCCLX

      #ISOCCLX agenda: Short plenary, interactive fun, agenda brainstorm, interactive breakout, lunch then small-group disc. #GlobalInet #ISOC 20

      Drawing at end of #ISOCCLX for a mountable camera. According to CISCO, soon 90% of all Web traffic will be video. #ISOC 20

      Who’s that guy leading the #ISOCCLX? It’s Allen Gunn “Gunner,” exec director of Aspiration, an NGO  #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      Activity at #ISOCCLX: Personal opinion spectrum on group-generated statements. Stand on the tape line based on your opinion #ISOC 20

      Statement 1: We need regulation in the Internet. No one totally agrees, many disagree “Regulation stifles creativity” #ISOC 20 #ISOCCLX

      2nd statement: New gTLD’s will cause confusion for Internet users, equal distribution between agree/disagree #ISOCCLX #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      3rd statement: The cloud is safe. Almost all disagree! #ISOCCLX #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      4th statement: Piracy acts are confusing and scaring Internet users. Almost all agree #ISOCCLX #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      5th statement: Stability is more important than freedom. 1 in agreement: “If your mind is not stable, you are not free” #ISOCCLX #ISOC 20

      6th statement: The ISOC is ONLY independent organization to learn from about IPv6. Near total disagreement. #ISOCCLX #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      7th statement: Every country should have a national non-gov body to govern Internet: evenly split opinions. #ISOCCLX #ISOC 20 #GlobalInet

      The multimedia reporting team for Imagining the Internet at the Internet Society’s 20th Anniversary Global INET Conference included the following Elon University students, faculty, staff and friends: Jacquie Adams, Dan Anderson, Janna Anderson, Kacie Anderson, Nicole Chadwick, Jeff Flitter, Addie Haney, Brandon Marshall, Brian Meyer, Caitlin O’Donnell, Rachel Southmayd and Rebecca Smith.