The multi-stakeholder model, bottom-up model is central to the way ICANN operates, and always will be. It’s a model designed to get those interested in internet policy and governance to share, discuss, collaborate and contribute. And, as such, it’s been a little strange that we haven’t made the most of the technology of the industry we work in to make that process easier.
Hence we’ve launched ICANNLabs. It’s to act as a digital space for experimentation and innovation. We’re already showcasing ideas around proposed digital tools and assets which we need you, the community, to feed back. On the basis of that information we’ll continue to improve, or even ditch, the tools, and continue that loop of build-feedback-iterate until we have useful tools that we can use in the community and on ICANN.org.
The first round of experiments has begun:
The Conversation track: This is intended to tackle the tools used for public comment and find software and design solutions that increase the depth and usefulness of digital conversations on policy. The first experiment – the roundtable – focuses more, however, on the possibilities for increasing the diversity of dialogue, but this is the one we’re wrestling with most- there’s lots to chew on with the digital mechanics of public comment and this will exercise us the most, perhaps . Follow the progress of the conversation track, and get involved, here.
The Education track: There are people on the fringes of the ICANN community who have much to contribute but hold back due to a lack of understanding of ICANN itself and the issues it deals with. If we can help those people gain a deeper knowledge, they can become more engaged members of the community. The first experiment is based on the idea of peer mentorship: Join in with the Education track here.
The Communication track: A multi-stakeholder model is nothing without stakeholders. The Communications track is based on the belief that better news and information distribution can drive new awareness of DNS issues and bring new stakeholders. The first idea involves the concept of curated conversations to achieve that end. Follow that and the other ideas of the Communications track here.
The Discovery track: The world of ICANN is a complex one and some kind of personalization can help people make sense of policies which affect governments, businesses, NGOs and non-profits, law enforcement agencies – and everyone else. Personalization and discovery service can help people find the relevant content to make sense of it all. The first experiment, the ICANN Passport, is signing new users up now. Follow that, and the rest of the Discovery track here.
So get yourselves involved – without feedback and contributions, it will be nigh-on impossible to make the sort of progress we’re hoping for – and that feedback can take the projects into places we hadn’t considered, which is the beauty of the feedback loop beloved of agile development processes. The next steps are tricky to predict, but they won’t happen without you.