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Minutes | Board Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) Meeting

SPC Attendees: Matthew Shears – Chair, Becky Burr, Edmon Chung, Avri Doria, James Galvin, Danko Jevtović and Tripti Sinha

SPC Apologies: León Sánchez

Observers: Manal Ismail and Katrina Sataki

Executive and Staff Attendees: Xavier Calvez (SVP, Planning and Chief Financial Officer), Franco Carrasco (Board Operations Specialist), Sally Newell Cohen (SVP, Global Communications and Language Services), Samantha Eisner (Deputy General Counsel), Vinciane Koenigsfeld (VP, Board Operations), Becky Nash (VP, Planning) 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 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 - ICANN organization provided a summary of the SPC's workplan, which sets out the SPC's scope of responsibilities and the relevant timelines. ICANN org highlighted that the Board's strategic outlook trends process exercise will take place during the Board Workshop in March 2022. Further, it is anticipated that the SPC will conduct several preparatory meetings in April 2022 to get ready for the ongoing mid-cycle evaluation for the Board strategy sessions and the review of the SPC's charter. ICANN org and the Chair will monitor the workplan on a regular basis, to ascertain whether it requires any further modifications (as necessary), to encapsulate the SPC's additional responsibilities.
  3. Board Prioritization Session Process –

    1. Follow up actions (Prioritizing FY22-FY23 Board Decisions - which was held during the January Board Workshop):

      1. Approach to Prioritization – ICANN org provided an overview of the Board workplan which has been organized into four types of work, all of which need to be planned for:

        • Bandwidth spent on required organizational compliance work as per Bylaws and regulatory responsibilities;
        • Board Operational Priorities;
        • Contingency time/flexibility needed for unplanned activities that arise and cannot be avoided; and
        • Bandwidth available for prioritized activities (work to be prioritized are upcoming decisions with varying levels of urgency and importance).
      2. Updated Prioritization Methodology and Matrix – The matrix has been updated to account for four levels of priority for activities applicable to prioritize:

        • P1 = Important/Urgent = Highest priority
        • P2 = Important/ Less Urgent
        • P3 = Less Important/ Urgent
        • P4 = Less Important/ Less Urgent = Lowest priority

        P0 = Activities which are not applicable to prioritization:

        • Bylaws mandated and regulatory activities not applicable to prioritization, though they are included in the workplan.
        • Specific actions that have an anticipated/ scheduled due date. These are not applicable to prioritization but are included in the workplan.

        The SPC noted that there may be a conflict between the different levels of priority (e.g., "urgent/less important" and "important/less urgent"). ICANN org clarified that the methodology aims to ensure that the Board has the opportunity to be more strategic in its workplan, when considering the different levels of priority for the activities applicable to be prioritized. ICANN org further explained that the approach takes into account the entire workplan, together with the strategic work/projects that are looking to be prioritized, in order to ascertain which activities should begin first.

        Responding to a query from the SPC, ICANN org explained that the workplan contemplates all the resources and/or bandwidth, and the list of activities is a subset of the workplan. From a prioritization facilitation standpoint, the SPC agreed that the resourcing should be separated from the prioritization process.

      3. Revisions to the Prioritization Worksheet – ICANN org presented revisions to the worksheet and noted:

        • ICANN org emphasized that the prioritization worksheet is not a work schedule analysis, it is an input to preparing a full projection of level of work and detailed plans.
        • The labels of the list of activities applicable to prioritization were updated to reflect the specific activity and step needed for a topic.

        ICANN org shared the approach to be considered when prioritizing:

        • Prioritization technique
        • Eligibility
        • Evaluating urgency
        • Evaluating importance

        The SPC commented that there is a need to formulate a framework for prioritization in the broader ecosystem to fit into the Strategic Plan; and to consider whether the prioritization exercise will be impacted by the community's prioritization exercise. ICANN org clarified that ultimately, it would be prudent to have one integrated planning process where the relevant inputs are considered. At this juncture, as the Board is carrying out its prioritization exercise for Board activities, it is essential for the Board to have appropriate visibility of the community's priorities – this would enable the Board to consider the impact of the community's priorities into the Board's prioritization exercise. The Chair noted that such longer-term steps discussion (on how to make prioritization for the Board a sustainable process) will be discussed at the next SPC meeting.

      4. Discussion on Additional Steps in Prioritizing – ICANN org highlighted some additional steps to be incorporated in the prioritization exercise. After prioritizing according to urgency and importance, additional attributes could be considered, such as:

        • level of effort to address bandwidth and time required to address;
        • relevance to the Strategic Plan (degree to which the activity contributes materially to meeting the goals of strategic plan); and
        • Contribution to furthering ICANN's mission (degree to which the activity contributes to further ICANN's mission).
    2. Revised Prioritization Worksheet:

      ICANN org updated the SPC on the revised prioritization matrix and showed a comparison between the initial approach and the revised simplified approach.

      The SPC discussed the sections within the worksheet which remain incomplete, owing to time constraints during the Board prioritization session in January. ICANN org assisted the SPC through incorporation of discussion points and/or comments on the revised prioritization worksheet.

      • Action Item:

        • Due to time constraints, the SPC agreed to continue their work on the revised prioritization worksheet. ICANN org to assist the Chair to consolidate the SPC members' entries into one column into a master file.
  4. FY24 Strategic Outlook Process – ICANN org provided a brief update on the FY24 strategic outlook process, which is currently underway. The Board has an obligation to ensure that the adopted Strategic Plan for Fiscal years 2021-2025 continues to meet ICANN's needs. The SPC oversees the annual strategic outlook trends process to identify and track trends, to prepare for opportunities, mitigate or avoid challenges and inform strategic and operational planning and prioritization decisions.

    The FY24 process began in February 2022 and will run until April 2022 with trend identification sessions for ICANN org, the Board and the community. The Board session will take place on 3 March 2022 and the role of the SPC is oversight over the strategic outlook trends process and to shepherd the session and offer its expertise in the Board session. ICANN org will provide an overview of the process and provide a briefing paper to the Board to recap the top trends from last year's process. The exercise will be conducted in breakout rooms and each team will identify trends (shifts, new trends and impacts) and it will be concluded with a debrief session.

    The anticipated timeline for the FY24 strategic outlook process:

    • February – April 2022: Trends Identification sessions (ICANN org, Board, Community)
    • April-May 2022: Trends analysis
    • June-July 2022: Review of impact assessment & strategy recommendation
    • September 2022: Finalization of strategy recommendations (decision to update the Strategic Plan, subject to Board approval)

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 20 July 2022

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