ICANN Announces Strategy Panel Members; Strategic or not?

During the opening ceremony of ICANN 47 in Durban, South Africa, President and CEO Fadi Chehadé announced the creation of five new ICANN Strategy Panels that would serve as an integral part of a framework for cross-community dialogue on strategic matters.

The ICANN Strategy Panels were intended to convene subject matter experts, thought leaders and industry practitioners to support development of ICANN’s strategic and operational plans, yesterday ICANN announced the memberships of the panels and in the announcements it says

“ICANN welcomes over 40 diverse practitioners, subject matter experts, and thought leaders as members of the ICANN Strategy Panels to support development of ICANN’s strategic and operational plans.

ICANN Strategy Panels will serve as an integral part of a framework for cross-community dialogue on strategic matters. Designed to conduct work in critical strategic areas identified by the community, Board, and staff [PDF, 209 KB], the work of these panels will build on public input being generated to inform a new, overarching vision and five-year strategic plan. ”

Fadi Chehade ICANN’s Chief Executive officer’s model of leadership appears to borrow more from the industry by having leaders who have accomplished certain milestones in their careers to head certain sections of the organization in a bid to globalize and streamline functions.

This would be a good approach to giving solution to the industry and the globe, though this type of governance may have certain challenges, as not only does it require critical planning and synergy so as to avoid clashes between the experts who are authorities in their own respect. You can imagine bringing successful people into the boardroom to work together.

Sometimes this model of organization when well coordinated can yield success. The downside is the risk of bringing people who may have failed or underperformed in their previous professional work, which not only create sink holes and bottlenecks,  but creates vacuums that are unnecessary.

“But…, at the end of the day we are not all good dancers and therefore, it is quite easy to stumble (and fall).­ opines Giovanni Seppia  CENTR

One analyst commenting on the panels immediately they were announced in Durban suggests that

 While withholding judgment until additional information becomes available, initial responses from most of the business stakeholders we have spoken with in Durban have been to question where did this come from, why is it needed, and should ICANN even be thinking about how to reinvent five separate wheels at a time when the new gTLD program launch poses continuing complex challenges?

ICANN’s latest strategic human resource activities paint a picture of an organization that wants to have a piece of every person in the internet and ICT governance industry and from all over the globe. One would easily ask is this to shield the organization from any criticism should there be questions are regards accountability or performance? This could also result in a creation of a league or circle of friends and slowly isolate ICANN.

Random thoughts  from  one expert on the panels thinks

“The Strategy Panels, could turn out to be useful or they could turn out to be another rift in the multistakeholder fabric of ICANN.  For better or worse, the CEO of ICANN has decided to be a bold leader instead of a executive coordinator as I would have preferred.  Lets us hope he does not try to actually decide the path we are to take.  Instead, let him send out scouts and mapmakers, and let them bring back the information we need to chart our own strategy”

From Africa especially the thought leaders are former officials of government however their credentials indicate their positions as present. Some internet users believe that this is just a way to make Africa included but in actual sense does not serve any benefit to Africa. Well opinions are opinions. We hope that their inclusion in ICANN’s wider strategy will help to actualize and bring tangible results to the internet industry and not just be a means of over stretching ICANN’s resources and bloating ICANN’s human resource. One way or another ICANN leadership will soon need to justify the need to create such panels.

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