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A further comment on the Strategic Plan

  • To: strategic-plan-comments@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: A further comment on the Strategic Plan
  • From: Danny Younger <dannyyounger@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 20 Nov 2004 12:24:41 -0800 (PST)

As I read through the Strategic Plan, I need to
constantly remind myself that this document is a
vision for the future predicated on a self-assessment
by ICANN staff -- and therein lies the flaw... 

As an organization, ICANN has long understood the need
to have critical assessments made by neutral third
parties (the concept of independent review is
accordingly written into the ICANN bylaws which call
for structural reviews by entities independent of the
organization under review); for example, the GNSO
review is currently being conducted by external
consultant Patrick Sharry.

Because this document has been prepared by ICANN
staff, however, and not in collaboration with
independent entities, the ICANN world is portrayed as
if seen through rose-colored glasses.  

Allow me to illustrate:

The document states (page 34) that, "Significantly,
ICANN's processes allow timely and relatively swift
policy adoption."  Unfortunately, nothing could be
further from the truth.

Let us consider but one example pertaining to efforts
with respect to WHOIS.  There have been GNSO Names
Council committees and task forces, one after the
next, addressing this topic nonstop since 15 July

Over four years already, and the consultations
continue unabated with no end in sight -- this
certainly does not constitute swift policy adoption.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Registry (CIRA) has outsourced
WHOIS issues to an external consultant (the
StrategicCounsel firm) that has produced a final
consensus-based recommendation within the very short
span of only ten months. 

This firm managed to successfully survey 2000
individuals, 1000 organizations, and conducted
in-depth one-on-one interviews with representatives
from 27 different stakeholder organizations.  More
importantly, it determined where consensus was to be
found in substantially far less time than appears to
be possible by way of the current ICANN process.  We
should learn from this example.

In terms of strategic planning, ICANN should start to
recognize that other methodologies might indeed allow
for a greater degree of efficiency.

It is clear to most of us that the GNSO Names Council
is willfully disregarding the ICANN bylaws that set
time constraints on the Policy Development Process. 
Such actions are not in ICANN's best interest.  

A Strategic Plan should recognize an organization's
deficiencies (as well as its attributes), and should
propose corrective action where required.

It's time to take off the rose-colored glasses.

Best wishes,
Danny Younger

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