A Call for Change at the CCG

Heather Vescent
5 min readMay 27, 2020

Below is my self-nomination for one of three Co-Chairs of the Credentials Community Group at the W3C. Anyone can be a member of the group. Only members can vote in the upcoming election. I hope you will choose me to help take this community — and our work — to the next level. I would be joining Kim Hamilton Duffy and Wayne Chang as the three Co-Chairs.

After much deliberation and conversation with multiple colleagues, I have decided to be the change I want to see in this community.

For your consideration, I nominating myself, Heather Vescent, for the 2 year seat (Seat B).

As co-lead of the CCG, I promise to include diverse perspectives, including the broad expertise of many lurkers on the list and I hope to attract new participants that can strengthen the quality and integrity of our work. I will work to make existing technical discussions appropriately accessible beyond the technical audience. I will support the exploration of new topics to move forward our understanding of identity technology.

I am the Founder of my strategic intelligence firm, The Purple Tornado. I pride myself in data backed independent research since 2006. Previously, I spent over a decade building and launching more than 50 internet technology products in Silicon Valley and beyond.

I also have a M.S. in Strategic Foresight and have been a practicing futurist for a decade. That means I don’t just follow trends, but understand the second and third order impact in numerous categories to understand unintended consequences of technology on society, economics, geo-politics and more. I excel at navigating the possible and working to bring ideas into reality that will truly solve problems and positively impact humanity.

I’ll Bring Real Strategic Planning

I know how to define out what needs to get done (goals) and get it done (process) — on time, on budget and with excellence. Oh, and as a futurist I’m pretty good at strategic planning. I showed a little of my research and strategic planning skills when I lead the 2018 CCG year in review survey. With the help of Karn Verma, we developed the survey, analyzed and presented our findings to the community. I had hoped that the results of the survey (data) would have driven the strategic planning of the CCG. I plan to pick up this idea (and lead it if my co-heads like) to develop a 1–2–5 year plan along with a process for revisiting/revising it with data backed research. As part of the strategic plan, I would hope we can look at the landscape of players in this field — and identify and understand where and how we can work together so as to not duplicate work to further strengthen the technology we are working to create.

My Current Identity Interests

From a topic area, I am interested in furthering the understanding of:

  • The role of NPEs (non-person entities like IoT devices and legal entities) and the relationship between NPEs and humans in verifying identity to increase trust in global transactions
  • Data sharing models, specifically in regards to supply chain challenges
  • Understanding the possibilities of connecting SSI style data sharing with processed data for ML models/algos to support clinical trials, Industry 4.0 and 8 other use cases I have identified.

I Get it Done

I am a prolific producer in the identity space, having acquired funding, producing and delivering:

  • The first SSI intro book released to date (which involved 5 global collaborators). I personally oversaw every step of the development of this book, from writing, editing, reviewing, hiring/managing the designer who made those awesome diagrams, and putting it online/on Amazon/not to mention various Biz Dev activities.
  • 3 DHS funded original research reports specifically addressing digital identity concerns of importance to this community: Market Gaps in Legal and IoT Identity, The Security of Voter Data Systems, and Digital Identity on the Supply Chain. There are use cases of importance buried in each of these reports. I was the Principle Investigator (PI) for this award and personally oversaw, directed, researched, analyzed, wrote, and managed the delivery and release. (You can download them here: https://thepurpletornado.com/reports/). Thank you Anil John for the opportunity to be of service!
  • The IIW documentary and 5 short company focused videos. I brought a film crew and interviewed over 30 people at an IIW a few years ago. Then I worked with an editor to make interview selects from over 60 hours of footage, make various revisions, go through an approval process, before finalizing and releasing the mini-documentary.
  • I have done research, writing, books, and papers in the security space. I’m currently finishing up a book on Spies and Espionage which has interesting implications for the digital identity space (that I think would be interesting to consider from a National Intelligence perspective.)
  • And way back in the day, I worked for SWIFT on the Digital Asset Grid, which envisioned something that is very similar to what the technology we’re building today. I made a short film about that too.

I currently participate in the Hyperledger Supply Chain SIG. I previously consulted for and conducted strategic planning for companies in the SSI community. I joined the CCG several years ago to get more involved in the standards process — I have had mixed experiences to date which has given me direct knowledge of things that can be improved. Rather than complain, I would rather act to make change.

My work focuses on making traditionally “insidery” material accessible to a broader audience — with the goal of broader technology adoption. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people opine about how they wished they had user friendly/public facing accessible writing about what we’re trying to build.

I look forward to creating the structure for focused, deliverable, usable technology that improves the lives of billions of people, while supporting leadership of my awesome co-chairs.

It’s time for a breath of fresh air. Thank you for your consideration for CCG Co-Chair, Seat B.



Heather Vescent

President, The Purple Tornado, a strategic intelligence company tracking the future.