On 14 September, ICANN announced a Board decision that directed the ICANN organization (org) President and CEO to conduct an Operational Design Phase (ODP) for the recommendations contained in the Final Report of the New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process. As part of this decision, the ICANN President and CEO was to advise the Board when the work of the ODP would be initiated within the org. After three months of preparations on organizing and allocating resources to execute the work, the org has advised the Board that it is beginning the ODP.
Background on the Operational Design Phase
The ODP is a period in which ICANN org develops and provides the ICANN Board with relevant information to facilitate the Board's determination of whether the Policy Development Process recommendations are in the best interest of the ICANN community or ICANN. This ODP will provide the Board with an understanding of the operational impacts of accepting the recommendations, including potential obstacles, expected costs, and the timeline to implementation. During the ODP, the work includes testing and aligning on foundational assumptions about the recommendations and identifying issues that could be roadblocks to implementation. One of the primary benefits of this upfront work is to streamline the overall implementation timeframe by addressing critical requirements and interdependencies early on. To learn more about the ODP process, please visit the ODP webpage available here.
Preparatory Work to Support the Operational Design Phase
ICANN began organizing the org resources by assigning related work groups and leadership to manage the multiple projects required to deliver an Operational Design Assessment (ODA), the output of the ODP. The ODA, combined with other relevant materials such as the recommendations and the Bylaws-mandated Public Comment proceedings on the recommendations, will help the Board make its determination.
The org held a community webinar, interfaced with the community during various ICANN72 sessions, and published an update in a blog on 1 December. Additional preparations included conducting an introductory call with the newly appointed GNSO Council liaison and providing an initial set of questions related to policy issues to help the org understand the substance and intent of some of the recommendations which will inform the org's ODP work.
ICANN will provide regular updates through announcements, blogs, and webinars beginning in January 2022 and throughout the ODP.