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Minutes | Meeting of the Board Strategic Planning Committee 14 July 2022

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

Observers: Manal Ismail and Katrina Sataki

Executive and Staff Attendees: Michelle Bright (Board Content Coordinator Director), Xavier Calvez (SVP, Planning and Chief Financial Officer), Franco Carrasco (Board Operations Specialist), Sally Newell Cohen (SVP, Global Communications and Language Services), John Crain (SVP and Chief Technology Officer), Samantha Eisner (Deputy General Counsel), Becky Nash (VP, Planning), Wendy Profit (Board Operations Senior Manager) and Giovanni Seppia (VP, Implementation Operations)

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

The meeting was called to order at 14:30 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 brief summary of the SPC's workplan, which sets out the SPC's scope of responsibilities and relevant timelines for performance of its work. It is anticipated that the SPC meetings scheduled for September/October 2022 will focus on the Strategic Outlook process. The Chair noted that it would be prudent for the SPC to review its charter at its next meeting.

    In relation to the scheduling for the mid-cycle evaluation of the two remaining strategic objectives (Governance and Security), the SPC will discuss and determine the sequence/timing of the respective Board strategy sessions, taking into account the community's interest in the topics and the ongoing work within ICANN.

    ICANN org and the Chair will monitor the workplan on a regular basis, to ascertain whether it requires any further modifications. From the planning perspective and for the benefit of the SPC members, ICANN org will assist the SPC to formulate a more comprehensive timeline and workplan to provide an overview of the long-term agenda items for the SPC.

  3. FY24 Strategic Outlook Process Update – 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 process, which ensures that ICANN has a consistent way to identify and track trends, prepare for opportunities, mitigate or avoid challenges, inform strategic and operational planning and prioritization.

    ICANN org recapped the Strategic Outlook trend identification process. Between January and April 2022, ICANN org convened 13 Strategic Outlook trend identification sessions with 261 participants from the community, the Board and ICANN org, resulting in 1016 data points collected (which resulted in 771 trend statements, 142 risks or threats, and 103 suggested actions or opportunities). Trend session participants were asked to consider trends, risks and opportunities across five focus areas: security, unique identifier systems, governance, geopolitics and financials.

    ICANN org is in the midst of preparing a draft report summarizing the results of the trends identification sessions conducted, to inform the Board, the SPC, the Executive team and ICANN org about shifts in trends that may affect their work, planning and budget.

    ICANN org highlighted that in some cases, it is possible for a topic to be listed under two different strategic objectives based on the input from the session attendees (for example, Policy Development is listed under Financials and Governance).

    The Chair noted that under Unique Identifier Systems, the topic of Emerging Identifier Technologies appears to be a significant topic of interest in the community, and this could be attributed to the recent session with the Board which demonstrated the similar level of concern and interest.

    ICANN org observed that the data collected may act as an evolving "temperature check". For instance, over the last two to three years, there were significant concerns about the financials of ICANN. Given that the financial health has continuously improved over this period, this topic became less prominent over time. The SPC noted that the data could be interpreted in many ways. For instance, DNS Abuse has become less prominent over time which may indicate that there are less concerns about this topic as it is currently being addressed; or it is no longer a pressing issue as there is confidence in the community that the issue is continually being addressed.

    ICANN org shared the ranking in absolute value of the votes that were received by each topic. Policy decisions and implementation challenges has been ranked as number one, followed by the Emerging Identifier Technologies, DNS Abuse and the Effectiveness of the Multistakeholder Model. ICANN org also presented a comparison of the FY24 rankings compared to FY23 rankings of the priority items.

    Whilst the overall ranking of the topics has not changed significantly, new topics have gained importance. The SPC will engage in a more in-depth discussion on the result of this year's trends identification sessions, as well as additional observations on noticeable shifts in trends or new noteworthy trends.

    ICANN org presented the next steps and the anticipated timelines for the FY24 strategic outlook process:

    Timeline Activity
    Jan-April 2022 (completed) Trend identification sessions with ICANN org, Board and Community
    May – July 2022 Trend analysis by ICANN org
    Early August 2022 Share Trend analysis report with Executive Team and the SPC
    Late August 2022 Trend Impact Assessment discussion with ICANN Executive Team
    1 September 2022 SPC Meeting #1: Trend Analysis and Impact Assessment Discussion
    30 September 2022 SPC Meeting #2: SPC to review Recommended Impact Assessment and Recommendation to Board decision
    20 October 2022 Final FY24 Strategic Outlook Trend Report shared with SPC
    November 2022 Board Meeting FY24 Strategic Outlook Trend result and recommendations Resolution

    The SPC agreed with ICANN org's observation that the trend analysis and impact assessment discussion is closely intertwined with the ongoing Planning Prioritization project, and it will provide useful input into the broader prioritization work.

  4. Discussion on Prioritization – In light of the upcoming strategic planning process cycle, the Chair initiated a discussion on the input received from ICANN74 plenary session and other sessions in relation to the issue of prioritization, and strategic planning and strategic priorities. The Chair shared several initial key takeaways from the plenary session:

    • Opportunities for alignment with the community on strategic priorities during the strategic plan review process.
    • Opportunities to promote awareness of the strategic plan priorities. The Chair noted that there is a lack of awareness about what ICANN's strategic priorities are, and therefore, the SPC should consider a communication and engagement strategy to better communicate about the strategic plan and the work that is involved in the strategic plan. The Chair emphasized the importance of the SPC reaching out and engaging the community to ensure that there is an alignment between ICANN's strategic plan and priorities and the community's work and priorities, which would consequently impact the prioritization work and the Strategic Plan.
    • Opportunities to address the comments that the Board should "take more decisions and just do it". The SPC commented that this may be a broader issue for the Board's consideration, and there needs to be an understanding of the different roles and responsibilities played by the community and the Board.
  5. The Chair commented that it would be prudent for the SPC to evaluate the different components which contribute towards the strategic planning and strategic priorities.

    The SPC agreed to continue its discussion on this topic at its future meetings.

  6. Any Other Business –

    • Enhancing the Effectiveness of the ICANN's Multistakeholder Model Project: The Chair requested the SPC members to volunteer to participate in a subset of the SPC, to engage in more detailed discussions on the ongoing work on this issue, from the context of the role of the SPC.

The Chair called the meeting to a close.

Published on 26 August 2022