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Continuous Improvement

Strategic context for our work

ICANN's strategic objective of advancing organizational, technological and operational excellence means that we need to improve the skillsets, processes, and technologies through which we operate to deliver services to the ICANN Community and the public. We seek to develop a greater ability to meet the speed and scale of innovation happening around us and deliver with excellence in everything we do.

Overall approach

The operating plans we develop and execute have key elements focused on evaluating what we achieve against what we planned. We identify both the strengths and areas for improvement in our execution. We use the EFQM Excellence Model to provide an overall framework for our continuous improvements efforts. EFQM is recognized globally as the guardian of a premier excellence model and award process.

The EFQM Excellence Model provides mechanisms for the holistic assessment of an organization. These assessments help us improve the way we work, so that we can deliver better results. ICANN also uses other mechanisms to make sure it continuously improves in specific areas. Examples include the frameworks used for reviewing ICANN's execution of the IANA functions, the framework for other IT systems, and the audit used for financial management.

Setting targets and measuring performance

Continuous improvement relies on continuous assessment and effective assessment relies on timely, reliable and accurate results that are appropriately scoped and segmented. Through our Five-Year Operating Plan [PDF, 480 KB] and annual Operating Plans and Budgets we set out the performance targets we try to reach. We measure our actual performance indicators and report on them through our public Dashboard.

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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."