Monday, 22 June 2009
Representatives of ICANN’s Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees met and discussed institutional improvements. A summary is provided below:
Frustration and exhaustion
There is a huge volume of work and everyone struggles to get through it and so stay up to date on issues.
There is a lack of visibility of the impact that volunteer input has on decision making, particularly for Board decisions.
- The purpose, roles and responsibilities of volunteers, staff and Board are not clear.
- Levels of trust are low.
- The Board operates at too operational a level
- The current processes are not scalable, particularly as the organization continues to grow and internationalize.
Possible solutions to these issues were raised:
- Prioritization of the workload
- Better scoping of issues at the start of policy processes. This should involve all SOs and ACs.
- Improving accessibility to issues by providing summaries
- Working together to clarify purpose, roles and responsibilities
- Leaders acknowledging that building trust is part of their role
- Taking time to analyse the root cause of the frustration
- Improve contact between groups, perhaps through issue-focussed meetings
There was recognition that there is much good work being done by staff and volunteers and that there has been significant improvement over the last few years. The frustration expressed can also be seen as a positive energy for change (although a complete evolution and reform process was not seen as the best solution).
There are existing processes in which some of these issues may be tackled. The strategic planning process (http://www.icann.org/en/strategic-plan/); review of the policy development process (https://st.icann.org/icann-ppsc/index.cgi?pdp_team); and the improving institutional confidence consultation (http://www.icann.org/en/jpa/iic/).
What it is | The joint meeting of ICANN’s Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations, known as the ACSO session, was developed by the chairs of the different groups in 2008 to fill a gap at ICANN meetings that they felt existed.
In particular, the chairs:
- Wanted to find a formula for open communication that was more than a repeat of existing open microphone sessions
- Wanted to create a forum that could break through the silos of discussion and communication in which ACs and SOs often operate
- Wanted the opportunity to discuss topics of mutual interest and importance, and to have those topics suggested by ACSO members
To this end, it was agreed that:
- It is better to hear things "from the horse's mouth" i.e. direct communication is always going to be more effective than indirect communication
- Some existing meetings between individual ACs and SOs could benefit from being expanded to other groups within ICANN. By enlarging the conversation, not only would time and effort be saved but other groups would be in a better position to understand and reflect upon different AC and SO perspectives
- It was important to have a physical demonstration of the whole community coming together to exchange views and information
- That a joint "ACSO session" be its own standalone meeting and not replace other sessions, with the possible reduction in bilateral sessions between particular ACs and SOs
Why it's Important | Representatives from right across the organization meet to discuss a pressing topic and increase understanding of different perspectives across the community.
Who should attend? | Everyone that can.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Summary of input to meeting
This summarizes public input into the broad topics outlined by the committee.
- The deadlines were very helpful
- It would helpful to include meeting agendas as part of that deadline
- Need to consider how to avoid overloading people with the number of documents
- Expectation that earlier provision of documents will mean fewer presentations at meetings about a report, and more discussion of a report
- Documents themselves are too long and complex – acts as a barrier to entry
- There is a significant need for documents in plain language
- Need to present fewer acronyms, and to provide explanation of acronyms when they do appear (a glossary on each document?)
- Translations of documents need to be made more easily and readily available (and supporting documentation also needs to be translated)
- Translations of documents need to be provided to the same document deadlines
- Three meetings a year around the globe make participation difficult (time and cost)
- Consider reducing the number of meetings
- Consider the use of a hub city for meetings
- Look at expanding/improving remote participation
- Need more information about meeting agendas to entice people
- There’s not been a meeting in North America for some time
Public comment process
- Too many public comment periods (have different types?)
- Consider having a rule that no public comment periods will be open during a meeting (as people don’t have time to review or respond)
What it is | The Board Committee on Public Participation is holding an open session to ask the community what it thinks about a number of new ideas for improving participation within ICANN, plus to allow the community to make their own suggestions.
Why it's Important | Participation is an important issue for ICANN as an organization. This is an opportunity for community members to enter into free and open discussion about what improvements could be made with Board members.
Who should attend? | All those interested in improving participation within ICANN.