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Minutes | Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC) Meeting

Published on 1 February 2016

OEC Attendees: Rinalia Abdul Rahim – Chair, Wolfgang Kleinwachter, Markus Kummer, Bruno Lanvin, Ray Plzak and Kuo-Wei Wu

Other Board Member Attendees: Lito Ibarra, Mike Silber and Lousewies Van der Laan

Executive and Staff Attendees: Susanna Bennett, Megan Bishop, Steve Crocker, Samantha Eisner, Larisa Gurnick, Robert Hoggarth, Margie Milam, Laena Rahim, Amy Stathos and Shawn White


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

The Meeting was called to order at 5:50 p.m. local time in Dublin, Ireland.

  1. Agenda – The Chair established the agenda for the meeting and gave an overview of items to be discussed.
  2. Approval of Minutes – The OEC approved the minutes of its 28 September 2015 meeting as presented.
  3. Review of Open Action Items – The Chair noted that all open action items will be addressed on the agenda.
  4. Holistic Assessment of ICANN Structures – The OEC initiated its discussion on the effectiveness of ICANN's review processes and explored whether there was a need to conduct holistic reviews of ICANN from time to time, in addition to the narrower reviews of specific structures (e.g., the SO/ACs) that are conducted today. OEC members shared their perspectives on the limitations of the current processes and the possible benefits of conducting a holistic review. It was noted that  "meta" aspects could be examined by identifying structural and knowledge gaps as well as a possible means of addressing the gaps effectively:
    • Structural Gaps: Can the current architecture of ICANN accommodate its emerging and future needs?

    • Knowledge Gaps: Is there sufficient expertise and knowledge within the existing structures to provide advice to the Board in areas of strategic importance to ICANN such as (a) Internet Governance, (b) Economic and Identifier Market Evolution, (c) Human Rights? What other key areas of expertise/knowledge are missing and need to be factored?

    The OEC noted that it may be difficult to achieve a holistic review, but that there may be ways of exploring specific issue or core values, from a holistic standpoint, so that each organization would be analyzed against the same criteria, and that a structure's performance could be measured and tracked over time. Instead of having one mega review of the organization of the ICANN structure as a whole, ICANN could use the opportunity of the organizational reviews that are currently ongoing and aggregate components from those reviews to be consolidated to try to gain a more holistic view.

    If ICANN were to take this approach, the next step forward is to identify the effectiveness of each of the organizational reviews, and thereafter to identify certain components which are desired to be exemplary of the ICANN characteristics, such as alignment with the core values of the organization. The OEC further noted that we would need to ascertain the frequency of the holistic review under this approach.

    In brief, the OEC concurred that this topic merits additional consideration and discussion at the next OEC meeting.     

    • Action Item:

      • Staff to circulate a summary of the discussion to the OEC to enable the OEC to have an additional discussion at the next OEC meeting in February 2016.  This will provide clarity to the OEC to enable it to proceed with a more actionable timeframe.

  5. Review Framework – Staff proposed the following steps and phases for the implementation of the Review Framework:

      Phase 1: Systematization of Reviews, based on current mandates

    1. Document the process of conducting Reviews, based on current practices and lessons learned from recent Reviews
    2. Incorporate applicable and relevant standards derived from industry best practices and standards, such as Project Management (Project Management Institute) and Organizational Excellence (EFQM Excellence Model
    3. Socialize and implement systemization
    4. Phase 2: Future of Reviews in the post-transition ICANN

    5. In alignment with the direction of CCWG-Accountability and other related proposals impacting Reviews, identify key questions for consideration of the future of Reviews as a significant accountability mechanism
    6. OEC discussion
    7. Develop next steps as appropriate

    The OEC agreed on the proposed phased approach for the implementation of the Review Framework.

    • Action Item:

      • Staff to circulate Ray Plzak's paper in connection with the review framework to the OEC, for their information.

  6. GNSO Review Update – The Final Report on the organizational review of the GNSO was delivered by Westlake Governance (the independent examiner) on 15 September 2015. Staff updated the OEC that the GNSO Review Working Party has initiated work to begin the process of carrying out the feasibility assessment. The GNSO Review Working Party will meet on Monday to continue their work. They have deployed a survey tool to assist them in organizing the different perspectives on the usefulness and feasibility and prioritization of each of the recommendations.

    In light of the work that the GNSO Review Working Party is undertaking to provide feedback to the OEC on feasibility of implementation of all recommendations and specific feedback on Recommendation 23, the OEC will meet in February 2016 to consider its recommendations to the Board with regards to the GNSO review report.

  7. At-Large Advisory Committee Review – Staff presented an overview of the Review scope and evaluation criteria, in preparation for the competitive bidding process to commence in January 2016. These components will also be discussed with the At-Large Review Working Party to collect their views and feedback.

    By way of background, review of the At-Large structure is due and planning has begun.  A Working Party has been established to serve as a liaison throughout the review, chaired by Holly Raiche. Self-assessment and fine-tuning review methodology/data collection for suitability to At-Large's organization is currently ongoing, in addition to the preparation for the launch of the competitive bidding process.

    In terms of the selection of an independent examiner, the selection criteria will be published.  The OEC agreed that there should be a limit to how many reviews a particular organization can conduct inside of one cycle i.e. two reviews in one cycle; and is also dependent upon the quality of their work.

    Staff provided an update on the phases and estimated timing of the At-Large review as follows:

    • Self-Assessment and Planning – Jul - Oct 2015

    • Competitive Bidding to Select Independent Examiner – Nov 2015 - March 2016

    • Conduct Review – April – December 2016

    • Plan Implementation and Implement Improvements – Jan 2017 - TBD

  8. Processes for Conducting Effective Reviews - In light of the OEC's responsibilities for the review and oversight of policies, processes, and procedures that relate to organizational reviews, the OEC is well positioned to share with the Board best practices and lessons learned from conducting effective reviews (e.g. the GNSO review).

    Staff circulated the revised Lessons Learned from Recent Reviews, based on the OEC's feedback. In this regard, the OEC made a recommendation for Staff to design a document to share these lessons with the Board.

    • Action Items:

      • Staff to prepare a document to share with the Board in relation to the Lessons Learned from Recent Reviews

      • Staff to share the abovementioned document with the GDD team.

  9. Staff Status Report on Implementation Experience with Board Process for Review of Community Charter Amendment – Staff briefed the OEC on staff experience and community feedback in relation to the implementation of the community charter amendment approval process and ideas for streamlining the process to improve its efficiency.

    It has been two years since the process for the board review of amendments to community charters were put in place. Currently, there are 6 ongoing board review of amendments to community charters, either in planning or actively being discussed within the community.

    The OEC made a recommendation for Staff to formulate a checklist to ensure that due process is adhered to in this process.

    • Action Items:

      • Staff to prepare a document for the OEC's consideration.

      • Ray Plzak to spend approximately 30 minutes with the OEC via telephone conference to provide a briefing on community reviews.

  10. The Chair called the meeting to a close at 7:03 p.m. local time (Dublin, Ireland).

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."