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Minutes | Board Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) Meeting 14 October 2021

OEC Attendees: Avri Doria – Chair, Becky Burr, Lito Ibarra, Patricio Poblete and Matthew Shears

OEC Apologies: Danko Jevtovic

Other Board Attendees: Manal Ismail and Akinori Maemura

Executive and Staff Attendees: Xavier Calvez (SVP, Planning and Chief Financial Officer), Franco Carrasco (Board Operations Specialist), Steve Conte (Director, IROS Operations), Samantha Eisner (Deputy General Counsel), Negar Farzinnia (Director, Implementation Operations), Larisa Gurnick (VP, Review Support & Accountability), Laena Rahim (Regional Counsel, APAC), Pamela Smith (Senior Coordinator, Review Support & Accountability) and Theresa Swinehart (SVP, Global Domains and Strategy)

The following is a summary of discussions, decisions, and actions identified:

The Meeting was called to order at 17:00 UTC.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.

  2. Review of Open Action Items and Watched Action Items – The OEC noted that some of the "Open Action Items" will be discussed at the current meeting, there are several action items which will be followed up in time for the next OEC meeting, and there are also other action items which will require more time to complete.

  3. Communication Plan Pertaining to Reviews – At the OEC's previous meeting on 21 September 2021, the OEC emphasized the importance of improving community engagement to demonstrate the challenges that ICANN organization and/or the Board are facing (how and what should be prioritized and measured against the resources that are available). The wide range of participants in the ICANN community with different levels of involvement has resulted in a need for the community to have a comprehensive view of reviews.

    ICANN org provided a brief update on the communication plan, in relation to the progress toward a roadmap for designing and reporting on all aspects of reviews, to help the community understand the status of the review work, prioritization work and timing of implementation of recommendations. The objective of the communication plan is to provide the overview status of the reviews and cross-community working groups in a comprehensive manner, and to demonstrate the overall cycle of a review. Given the complexity and inter-dependencies between reviews and various topics, developing a suitable mechanism requires a significant effort and active engagement with the community - to redesign reviews to improve the effectiveness and outcomes of reviews, to focus on continuous process improvement and to facilitate the continuous evolution of ICANN's multistakeholder model.

    ICANN org elaborated that the reviews timeline will be impacted by various factors and drivers which will lead towards the need to redesign reviews, such as the following:

    • Board approved ATRT3 recommendations to reform Specific and Organizational Reviews:
      • Evolution of the Organizational Reviews into a Continuous Improvement Program;
      • Creation of a new community-led review (Holistic Review); and
      • New cadence of reviews.
    • Lessons learned from the concluded Specific and Organizational Reviews.

    Upon being briefed by ICANN org on the proposed communication plan, some observations and feedback from the OEC include:

    • The OEC commented that there remains a fundamental lack of understanding by the community in relation to the potential timelines in terms of prioritization. Therefore, clearer communication is required to address the need for visibility and transparency in this area.
    • The OEC reiterated the usefulness of the work being carried out by ICANN org on the communication plan; and the importance of having active engagement with the community to ensure that they have visibility of each phase of a review process, including any impediments in a specific phase of a review.
    • The OEC suggested some enhancements to the communication plan (e.g., to include the relevant dates to indicate specific milestones, such as, the date of when a review started, the date of when the latest phase of review was completed; and to include a projected timeline for when implementation of recommendations would be completed).
    • Responding to a query from the OEC in relation to the prolonged duration needed to develop the prioritization framework, ICANN org clarified that resource constraint is not an issue from ICANN org's perspective. It is critical for the community to have input into the prioritization framework and into the process of prioritizing recommendations via the planned pilot. The extended time required for prioritizing of recommendations and designing and implementing improvements is driven in part by the bandwidth constraints and the community's ability to align on these important areas of work. ICANN org specified some scenarios where interaction and dependencies on the community's responsiveness resulted in a slower than anticipated progress toward prioritization framework.

    The OEC agreed to continue its discussion on this topic at its future meetings, and ICANN org will keep the OEC abreast of further developments on this topic.

  4. Observations and insights from a departing OEC member – Lito Ibarra shared some of his observations and insights as a departing OEC member, including:

    Reviews and recommendations:

    • To consider separating the identification of problems and issues that may be improved from recommendations.
    • To consider the possibility for other parties, starting with the group under revision, to propose alternative solutions, either modifying the ones included in the final report or proposing new ones.
    • The Board should have the ability to accept recommendations partially, and propose alternate wording to the proposals that may be accepted, in order to discuss them with the Review Team.
    • Categorization of recommendations can be a good practice, instead of limiting to "approved" and "rejected".


    • In terms of the prioritization process, input on prioritization of recommendations from a Review Team should be taken into consideration. Once the methodology and process for prioritization of recommendations have been defined, tested and refined, they may be applied to reviews, and be included in the Operating Standards.

    Board Caucus Groups and the OEC:

    • To continue having at least one OEC member in each Board Caucus Group for reviews, who will provide a periodic report to the OEC.

    Implementation of recommendations:

    • To consider a possible audit of the level of implementation of prior recommendations several months before the next scheduled review.

    Holistic review and continuous improvement:

    • There is a need to define the scope, process, participants, periodicity and other aspects.
    • In relation to continuous improvement, to consider defining a process that includes a periodic call for improvements from ICANN org and the community (e.g., twice a year).

    Board effectiveness and performance:

    • With respect to the Board's operational priorities (Board Operational Priority 4.2.4), the OEC may consider leading the process, and sharing the results with the Board Governance Committee, taking into consideration the OEC's role and oversight of Organizational Reviews.

    Lito expressed his appreciation to the Chair for her leadership of the OEC, and ICANN org for their continuous support and team collaboration demonstrated throughout his term as an OEC member. The Chair expressed her appreciation to Lito for his contribution to the OEC.

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 26 October 2021