ICANN Resolutions » 2020 Strategic Outlook Trends Report

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2020 Strategic Outlook Trends Report


Resolution of the ICANN Board
Meeting Date: 
Thu, 17 Dec 2020
Resolution Number: 
2020.12.17.07 – 2020.12.17.08
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, following community and ICANN organization inputs received between November 2019 and March 2020 on key trends anticipated to impact ICANN in the coming years, the Board conducted an analysis, and concluded that the strategic objectives for ICANN, as reflected in the Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025, do not need to change.

Whereas, on 22 October 2020, the Board formed a Strategic Planning Committee to oversee the annual strategic outlook (trends) process to identify relevant trends and events that inform ICANN's strategic planning and prioritization efforts. Prior to that date, the Board relied upon the use of a Board Working Group on Strategic Planning. This working group, as supported by ICANN organization, played a central role in reviewing and analyzing the results of the trend work and the related opportunities, risks, and impacts on ICANN. The working group articulated this work into a set of proposed priority trends, related impacts, and associated strategic and/or tactical recommendations for full-Board consideration.

Whereas, members of the ICANN Board and ICANN organization held a webinar with the community on 06 October 2020 to present the Strategic Outlook process and methods used to conduct the analysis.

Resolved (2020.12.17.07), the Board affirms that the ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021 to 2025 shall remain in force and unchanged, with no restatement of the Strategic Plan needed at this time.

Resolved (2020.12.17.08), the Board recognizes that there may be a future need to evolve this Strategic Plan, such as to address funding realities identified through the update of ICANN's Five-Year Operating and Financial Plan, or mid-course modifications during the life of the Strategic Plan. If such change is needed, the Board will direct the ICANN org on the scope of further actions.

Rationale for Resolution: 

On 23 June 2019, the Board adopted the ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021 to 2025 and directed that as part of the on-going annual planning cycle with the community, new trends or shifts in existing trends be factored into the annual iteration of ICANN's plans as appropriate. These efforts are conducted under a process known as the Strategic Outlook trend identification process.

The Strategic Outlook trend identification is an annual process, which ensures ICANN has a consistent way to: identify and track trends; prepare for opportunities; mitigate or avoid challenges; inform strategic and operational planning and prioritization.

It is a joint effort between the ICANN organization, the community, and the ICANN Board to engage on emerging or evolving trends that affect ICANN. Trends indicate general directions in which things are developing or changing, that have or could have an impact on ICANN, its mission, its operations, or its ecosystem. Trends can be internal or external, organization-specific, community-related, or go beyond ICANN's ecosystem as ICANN does not operate in a vacuum.

ICANN org has found the exercise to be beneficial to help surface opportunities and challenges that lay ahead, inform planning, help with prioritization considerations, and risk management.

Between November 2019 and March 2020, ICANN org convened 21 Strategic Outlook trends identification sessions with 398 participants from the community and the organization, resulting in 1,853 data points collected. Community sessions outputs have been published on the Strategic Planning page of the icann.org website.

Between April and September 2020, the Strategic Planning Board Working Group, as supported by ICANN org, conducted a thorough analysis of the trend session data inputs received, including assessing the trends, risks, opportunities, and potential impacts on ICANN. The details of this analysis and associated recommendations have been documented in the 2020 Strategic Outlook Trends Report document attached to this paper for reference.

The Board Strategic Planning Committee, on the basis of the work accomplished by the Strategic Planning Board Working Group in place prior to the formation of the committee, recommends keeping the ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021 to 2025 unchanged, with no restatement of the Strategic Plan needed at this time.

This resolution is not expected to have a fiscal impact on ICANN, though the changes anticipated to ICANN's Operating Plan might have impact once approved. This action is expected to have a positive impact on the security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system (DNS) as it continues to support ICANN's strategic work in this area.

This resolution serves ICANN's mission in ensuring a secure and stable operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems. The ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025 builds upon ICANN's mission so that it may continue to effectively fulfil its aims and meet new and continuously evolving challenges and opportunities.

This resolution is in the public interest as the Strategic Plan guides ICANN's activities and informs ICANN's operating plans and budgets to fulfil its mission in fiscal years 2021 through 2025. The Strategic Plan serves the public interest by articulating the path towards a new vision to be a champion of the single, open, and globally interoperable Internet. The Strategic Plan complies with ICANN's commitments and is guided by ICANN's core values.

This is an Organizational Administrative Function that has been subject to community consultation as noted above, and is not requiring further public comment.