I’ve written about balance before, in the context of finding balance between work and life, and the need to slow down for reflection.
Today, I find myself writing about balance again, but this time with a slightly different perspective. Now, I am thinking about the importance of striking a balance between the important work facing the ICANN community in three different spheres: Continuing to mature ICANN’s operations, ICANN’s globalization, and our contribution to global Internet governance.
At ICANN’s 49th Public Meeting in Singapore, the ICANN community will be deeply engaged to a) embrace and operationalize the ATRT2 recommendations, b) discuss the initiatives to globalize ICANN, c) finalize the budget and operational plan for fiscal year 2015, and d) weigh-in on the strategic planning for 2020 (now that the four Strategy Panels have completed their work).
It’s a busy time as we find ourselves balancing between envisioning a long-term future for ICANN and allocating the resources needed to achieve short-term goals. For example, organizing the three public meetings per year takes a lot of time, resources and attention to detail in the present. But we balance that daily implementation with future-oriented efforts like that of the Meeting Strategy Working Group — a community group comprised of volunteers that spent the last year trying to define what our future meetings should look like.
Our journey from small non-profit to a global organization has brought change and growing pains. And we are not done yet. As ICANN has increased dramatically in size and global footprint over the past year, we have had to adopt new systems and processes that add complexity to the organization. We’ve also had to end some of our traditional ways of doing things. Change is a constant in the Internet and in Internet governance. ICANN itself was built to evolve, and our evolution is a sign of a maturing Internet governance ecosystem.
This evolution cannot happen without your involvement. ICANN staff are not exclusively responsible for the organization’s budget, and operational and strategic planning. Our stakeholders are critical guides in this work. That is why we conduct our budget and operational planning in the open with many opportunities for the community to weigh in. Several public comment periods are open right now on these issues.
Some of you have shared with me that you also struggle with finding the right balance for your work, your personal life, your spiritual and civic commitments as well as your service to ICANN. I hear you and I understand. However, it’s never been more important that you make your voice heard where it matters most to you, whether that is on the budget and the five-year strategic plan, ICANN globalization, or the ATRT2 process. Share lessons from the past. Share things that are working today, and things that are not. And most importantly, share your vision for the future. Now is the time.