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Minutes | Meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Board (SPC) | 27 July 2023

SPC Attendees: Matthew Shears – Chair, Becky Burr, Avri Doria, James Galvin, Wes Hardaker and Christian Kaufmann

SPC Apologies: Maarten Botterman, Edmon Chung and Sajid Rahman

Observers: Patricio Poblete and Katrina Sataki

Executive and Staff Attendees: Xavier Calvez (SVP, Planning and Chief Financial Officer), Franco Carrasco (Board Operations Specialist), Sally Costerton (Sr. Advisor to President & SVP, Global Stakeholder Engagement and Interim President & CEO), Samantha Eisner (Deputy General Counsel) and Becky Nash (VP, Planning)


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

The meeting was called to order at 15:00 UTC.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. Review of SPC Workplan and Meeting Cadence - A brief summary of the SPC's workplan was reviewed, which sets out the SPC's scope of responsibilities and relevant timelines for performance of its work. ICANN org and the Chair will monitor the workplan on a regular basis, to ascertain whether it requires any further modifications (e.g., additional meetings to be scheduled for the SPC).
  3. Review and Discussion on the Proposed process and timeline for the Development of the FY26-30 Strategic Plan – ICANN org provided an overview on the planning and development of the FY26-30 Strategic Plan, including the proposed approach, process, roles and responsibilities, and the proposed timeline for the SPC to discuss and provide input.

    ICANN org highlighted that ICANN is starting the process to develop a proposed approach and process to deliver the FY26-30 Strategic Plan no later than March 2025. The ICANN Bylaws (Section 22.5) mandates a five-year strategic plan for each five fiscal year period, and a five-year operating plan for each fiscal year. Starting 1 July 2025, a Five-Year Strategic Plan has to be in effect. The SPC is responsible for initiating and leading the strategic planning process for ICANN on behalf of the Board. ICANN org will consider the SPC's input to continue developing the FY26-30 strategic planning process.

    Five-year Strategic Plan Planning Deliverables:

    The objective of this agenda item is to focus on the ICANN Five-Year FY26-30 Strategic Plan and the ICANN Five-Year FY26-30 Operating Plan as these two plans will provide fundamental input into the development of other plans.

    The below plans should be adopted no later than May 2025 to allow sufficient time for the Empowered Community Process to conclude prior to the start of FY26, so that the plans can go into effect at the start of the fiscal year (assuming no rejection petition is pending):

    • The ICANN FY26-30 Strategic Plan
    • The ICANNFY26-40 Five Year Operating and Financial Plan
    • ICANN FY26 Operating Plan and Budget
    • IANA FY26 Operating Plan and Budget

    Strategic Planning Overview

    ICANN org elaborated on the various stages of work that is being proposed for "strategic planning" –which is the process of discussing and learning from what we are doing now to enhance what we are going to do no next. This phase would include various steps e.g., an environmental scan, strategy formulation, tactics formulation and action planning.

    • Environmental Scan Proposal:

      In relation to the "environmental scan" stage, the Chair commented that it provides an opportunity for the SPC to assess whether the current strategic objectives and priorities have evolved/ are still relevant. The data from FY25 Strategic Outlook identification sessions will form part of the input to inform discussion and formulation of strategy. Additionally, several public sessions are recommended to give additional opportunities for community members to participate in the environmental scan (similar to the strategic outlook trend identification sessions with a focus on a five-year horizon).

      ICANN org recommends using techniques, such as PESTLE analysis when hosting public sessions - this would allow participants to examine the political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental factors.

      The Chair noted that the SPC is encouraged to take an expansive and forward-looking approach to this exercise to ensure that the participants utilize the relevant techniques to consider the "external environmental factors" beyond the six-month horizon. "Internal environmental factors" can be considered as the ICANN ecosystem (reputation, leadership, people, process, structure, complexity, culture, competitive advantages, etc.). When conducting the internal environmental scan, participants will be asked to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the ICANN Multistakeholder Model and its ecosystem. The proposal is to hold sessions with the ICANN Board, ICANN org and include these internal factors in the public sessions with the community for transparency and input.

      The SPC commented that the environment scan proposal should be presented as a prompt to the community, and it should not be restrictive in any way. The SPC emphasized the importance engaging the community in a meaningful way; to seeking input in a transparent and open manner.

      A plan to engage the ecosystem stakeholder groups will be proposed:

      • Consultations with RSOs, RIRs, IETF, W3C and ISOC, etc.
      • The proposal includes outreach to experts beyond the ecosystem, as advised.

      Suggested consultations could be via panelists, interviews, working sessions and/or webinars. An engagement plan will be developed in collaboration with the SPC, the Executive team and subject matter experts. Sally Costerton reiterated the importance of focusing on the "gaps" in the input that is required and the most efficient process of obtaining input in a transparent manner.

    • Strategy Formulation Proposal:

      Following the analysis of the Environmental Scan, the Board will formulate the strategies (a SWOT analysis is recommended to discuss, brainstorm and formulate strategies). The objective is to brainstorm ideas, find linkage between the internal and external environmental factors, to reduce/avoid threats, take advantage of opportunities, leverage strengths, and remove weaknesses.

      Upon brainstorming of the strategies, the Board will discuss and evaluate objectives and priority strategies. Multiple work sessions (starting in January 2024) for the SPC and for the Board is recommended. A communications plan will ensure that the community will receive updates of the Board strategy formulation to have the opportunity to provide feedback.

      ICANN org will formulate various methods for participants to provide feedback to ensure that it caters to the diversity of interests and abilities within the community, and the general public.

    • Tactics Formulation Proposal:

      This stage will be conducted upon the completion of the strategy formulation by the Board. The Executive Team will discuss and formulate the tactics, which is the input to the Operating Plan development – brainstorm paths to achieving the goal, and discuss order and arrangement of the actions. During this phase, the Executive Team will brainstorm ways/paths from the "current state" to the "desired future state". The community will receive updates on the tactics formulation output to have the opportunity to provide feedback.

      Relating to this phase, the Chair noted that the Board should also be given an opportunity to provide input on the tactics formulation proposal; and this should be appropriately reflected in the process.

      Discussion: Key Planning Assumptions:

      Completion Time: The plan should be adopted no later than May 2025 to allow sufficient time for the Empowered Community process to conclude prior to the start of FY26. The proposed timeline is to have the Board consider plan adoption in Jan/Feb 2025.

      Consultations: Ensure wide and diverse consultations among the ICANN ecosystem and general Internet community. The plan is for the SPC and the full Board to have frequent communication and engagement opportunities with the community and the public.

      Development: The Five-year (FY26-30) Strategic Plan and Operating Plan development processes are integrated with one public comment proceeding. The FY21-25 Strategic Plan will be utilized and considered as baseline for the next FY26-30 Strategic Plan.

      The Chair raised a potential concern about having a joint public comment proceeding for the Strategic Plan and the Operating Plan – it will culminate into a particularly lengthy public comment process with substantial material to be reviewed. The SPC will continue to discuss and evaluate this point. The Chair also noted that it is essential to keep the community informed of the proposed timelines and developments.

      Proposed Timeline

      The proposed project length is approximately 20 months. The SCP is responsible for initiating and leading the strategic planning process for ICANN on behalf of the Board. ICANN org will support the SPC with regular meeting cadence to obtain direction, and discuss community feedback during the process.

      Key participation for the full Board is suggested as eight months over four key periods:

      • Environmental Scan – Sept/Oct 2023
      • Strategy Formulation – Jan/Feb 2024
      • Plan Review – May/June 2024
      • Plan Consideration and Adoption – Jan/Feb 2025

      Frequent updates to the community will be done throughout the process as key elements of the Strategic Plan are developed.

      Key participation for the Community is five months over three key periods:

      • Environmental Scan – Sept/Oct 2023
      • Public Comments – June/August 2024
      • Empowered Community – Feb/March 2025
      • Blogs and updates via sessions at ICANN meetings and virtual webinars will be available throughout the process of the Strategic Plan Development.

      In terms of launching the project, the Chair observed that the earliest opportunity to present the project overview to the Board is at the upcoming September Board Workshop. Next steps:

      • Introduction and proposal for endorsement from the SPC to the Board;
      • Board's first environmental scan; and
      • Webinar to introduce the proposed timeline (latest at the prep week for ICANN78).

      The Chair reiterated the necessity to keep the momentum and provide regular communications with the community during the time frame of September-October 2023 to June-August 2024 timeframe.

      For purposes of clarity, the Chair suggested that the timeline for August-November 2023 be further clarified to include the specific activities that need to take place within that timeline to give a clearer view of the proposed timeline to the community.

      ICANN org will provide more details with the SPC in due course on this topic.

      • Action item:
        • ICANN org to work with the Chair to finalize the proposed timeline for the development of the FY26-30 Strategic Plan.
  4. Any Other Business

    • Board Strategy Session Report Out: Strategic Objective – ICANN Governance – The SPC to provide any input/feedback on the summary document on the Governance session which took place at the Board workshop in January 2023 in Los Angeles.
    • Revised SPC Charter – The Chair to circulate a revised draft SPC Charter to the SPC shortly, for the SPC's input and feedback.

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 10 November 2023