ICANN Announcements

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Strategic Planning Update

28 January 2013

Thank you for your continued interest and support of the ICANN strategic development process. We are energized by the productive dialogue that took place at ICANN45 in Toronto and are making plans for the next phase of strategy development.

The purpose of this announcement is to provide an update on the strategic plan work conducted thus far and to outline the new approach to strategy introduced during the Toronto meeting.

Recent executive changes give ICANN the opportunity to reinvent our vision and how we think about strategy. Considering the effects of the evolution of Internet operations, services and use, the introduction of new gTLDs, and the challenges to our multi-stakeholder model, this opportunity comes at an ideal time. In order to dedicate appropriate attention and focus to the formulation of ICANN strategy for the next five years, we propose to kick-off the planning process in June 2013. This delayed start will enable a more thorough preparation of the planning activities, a well-planned timeline to ensure full engagement of the Board and key stakeholders, and the formulation of the five-year strategy in time for the annual planning cycle for the fiscal year starting on July 2014 (the annual planning cycle typically begins in October).

2012-2015 Strategic Plan will remain intact for 2013

ICANN will continue to operate under the Board-approved 2012-2015 Strategic Plan as it begins the work of implementing a more strategic approach to planning for the next five years. The objectives and goals that the ICANN team is working on now stem from the current Strategic Plan and are closely integrated into the Operating Plan and Budget cycle in progress for the fiscal year which will begin on 1 July 2013.

Discussions at the ICANN meeting in Toronto in October 2012 and subsequent input confirmed that community stakeholders recognize the importance of a new strategic approach and support the idea of operating under the current Strategic Plan until the new plan can be developed. The new plan will be developed with leadership from the Board and CEO and participation from the stakeholder community. ICANN will not take any further steps on the Draft 2013 – 2016 Strategic Plan.

During the 2013 planning cycle, we noted several changes in environment that have an impact on ICANN's strategic objectives. These factors have been analyzed and will be considered in the development of the 2013 Operating Plan and Budget and ongoing strategic planning, along with community comments and feedback. Some examples include:

  • Internationalization - ICANN will work with the community to define principles to help guide ICANN's internationalization. This work will include steps to enhance: global engagement of stakeholders; integration of global and regional responsibility; clear communications; and government relationships internationally.
  • Demand for training, capability building and new governance structures - The expansion in TLD operators resulting from the new gTLD program is expected to increase the demand for training and capability building, as well as the possibility that new structures may be needed to accommodate the needs of a broader and more diverse group of stakeholders. The significantly larger number of gTLDs also is prompting an updated definition of ICANN's role relative to "consumer trust."

Next phase of ICANN strategy

The proposed strategy structure will cover five years and will include an enduring and aspirational vision, a statement of purpose or mission, and overarching objectives. It will be tightly coupled to ICANN's future Operating Plan and Budget.

ICANN's plan for moving from strategy to execution involves a clearly defined strategy and key indicators; a management plan with goals and objectives; and an Operating Plan and Budget which supports the strategy, objectives and goals. Capacity and resource analysis will be undertaken in order to evaluate potential projects based on strategic alignment, prior to commencement of work. The Operating Plan and Budget will include metrics and specific accountabilities to ensure that progress is being measured, monitored and evaluated on a regular basis.

Next Phase of ICANN Strategy

Detailed information about the timeline, the process and community participation will be shared at a later time.

We thank the community for its ongoing engagement and participation. The comments and feedback provided by stakeholders will be incorporated in the strategy development, as we move forward.

Public comments and community feedback is available here.