the blog Synergy

Monday, February 20, 2006

Wicked problems

From Adam Richardson at CPH127 comes this full posting and good comment trail on wicked problems:

Because they are so difficult to identify and define, wicked problems tend to go unaddressed, even if there is an underlying sense that something needs to be done (though about what exactly no-one can say).

So how do you deal with such intractable problems? In my AWF talk I followed the theme of the conference - work and play - by using sports analogies to identify a number of capabilities and states of mind that are valuable in addressing wicked problems. These are:

  • Having wide peripheral vision to spot opportunities and threats at the edges
    Using pattern experience to sense the shape of wicked problems before hard proof is available
  • Treat solutions as questions
  • Have a high panic threshold and don't be tempted to "tame" the problem prematurely
  • Treat wicked problems as a full contact sport - get the whole system in one room and hash it out, and stay close to your customers
Food for thought here. Much of this I like. Especially the analogies.
Read the full posting. Check out Adam's blog for the follow-up postings.
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