The GovLab is undertaking a set of projects aimed at increasing our understanding of how to create smarter governance by experimenting with diverse strategies for using collective intelligence to improve our governing institutions. To that end, we are working with the ICANN Strategy Panel for Multistakeholder Innovation to develop proposals for the redesign of ICANN – the global organization tasked with managing the Internet’s system of unique identifiers – for the 21st century. The unique identifier system enables communications to flow seamlessly across a unified, global Internet. We’re working to identify the strategies, tools, platforms and principles that ICANN should use in managing and coordinating the shared, global resource of Internet names and numbers going forward.
Our goal is to suggest concrete experiments that ICANN can implement. We want to identify which open innovation and collective intelligence tools can be leveraged to adapt and evolve ICANN’s practices and structures for the challenges of today, to the end of preserving one global and free Internet.
To help set the framework for these efforts undertaken by the GovLab and the Strategy Panel, the GovLab has published two primers on ICANN. These primers are meant to help Panel members and others who are interested in ICANN deepen their understanding of ICANN’s work and its role in Internet management and coordination.
The first primer, “Understanding the Technical and Business Functions of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),” is a technology backgrounder of sorts, focusing on ICANN’s core technical functions as they relate to the technologies and business operations of the Internet. The second primer, “Primer on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” provides a more comprehensive overview of ICANN’s structures and decision-making processes, and seeks to explain ICANN’s place in the greater Internet ecosystem and the current challenges it faces.