The Brainstorm Begins: Initial Ideas for Evolving ICANN

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 6.41.19 PM“The ICANN Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation (MSI Panel) is underway working to curate a set of concrete proposals for ways that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) could prototype new institutional arrangements for the 21st century. The Panel is working to identify how ICANN can open itself to more global participation in its governance functions. Specifically, the MSI Panel is charged with:

  • Proposing new models for international engagement, consensus-driven policymaking and institutional structures to support such enhanced functions; and
  • Designing processes, tools and platforms that enable the global ICANN community to engage in these new forms of participatory decision-making.

To help answer this charter, the MSI Panel launched an “Idea Generation” or ideation platform, designed to brainstorm with the global public on how to evolve the way ICANN could operate given the innovations in governance happening across the world.

We’re now 3 weeks in to this Idea Generation stage – taking place online here: – and we wanted to share with you what the Panel and The GovLab has heard so far regarding what tools, technologies, platforms and techniques ICANN could learn from or adapt to help design an innovative approach to problem-solving within the Domain Name System going forward.

These initial ideas begin to paint a picture of what 21st century coordination of a shared global commons might involve. These brainstorms all point to certain core principles the Panel believes provide the groundwork for an institution to legitimately operate in the global public interest today. These principles include:

  • Openness –  Ensuring open channels as well as very low or no barriers to meaningful participation.
  • Transparency – Providing public access to information and deliberation data.
  • Accessibility – Developing simple and legible organizational communications.
  • Inclusivity and Lack of Domination – Ensuring access to global participation and that no one player, entity or interest dominates processes or outcomes.
  • Accountability – Creating mechanisms for the global public to check institutional power.
  • Effectiveness –  Improving decision-making through greater reliance on evidence and a focus on flexibility and agility.
  • Efficiency – Streamlining processes to better leverage time, resources and human capital.

With these core principles as the backdrop, the ideas we’ve heard so far roughly fall within the following categories…
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