Home / Blogs

In Defense of Process: Identifying the Problem Before Seeking Solutions

You don’t necessarily need to walk before you can run, but you should probably look where you are going before you do either.

The U.S. Government’s announcement that it would transition out of its unique legacy role in ICANN set off a powder keg at ICANN, as stakeholders from every corner of the community rushed to offer their recommendations on how to fill the impending contractual vacuum with something, new, better, and appropriately reflective of the multi-stakeholder model.

These are worthwhile efforts, but before we dig more deeply into the meaty challenge of identifying solutions, it may make sense for all of us to take a big step back and come to some sort of consensus about the problem we’re trying to solve.

Listening to the outpouring of comments on the transition, it’s pretty clear that we don’t yet even have clear agreement about what it is we are transitioning. Are we simply focusing on the mechanical aspects of the IANA functions, or are we also considering the non-explicit “backstop” role that the U.S. Government has traditionally played in the ICANN process?

There may be more questions to answer, but minimally, a chartering group to define the challenge should be able to answer:

  • What roles (explicit and implicit) does NTIA fill under the current arrangement?
  • How else are those roles handled in the current ecosystem?
  • What roles do accountability functions need to perform?
  • Who needs to be involved in defining the transition (including non-traditional ICANN participants)?
  • What existing roles could be improved/strengthened through a transition process?
  • What is included in the transition?
  • What existing contracts/mechanisms in the ICANN space could be enhanced or expanded
  • What scenarios should a transitioned framework minimally be designed to meet?

How we answer those questions will have a major effect on how we answer all the questions that follow. By not even asking them, we dramatically reduce our likelihood of arriving at an effective resolution.

At the outset of this meeting there was talk of “starting the process to define the process,” which may sound comically bureaucratic, but actually may not be procedural enough.

Before we define the process to define the process we need to define the scope of the challenge that the process will be required to meet.

By Jonathan Zuck, Executive Director at Innovators Network Foundation

Jonathan is a widely known and respected leader in the technology industry. As a professional software developer and IT executive with more than 15 years of experience, he brings an insider’s perspective to his role as Executive Director of the Innovators Network Foundation.

Visit Page

Filed Under

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

VINTON CERF
Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet

Comments

Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.

Related

Topics

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global

Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API

Cybersecurity

Sponsored byVerisign