Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders

Einstein-creativity-problems

My wife and I wanted to get a motion detector in our backyard. We had a backlight on the house already. The house was a new construction. The motion detector would be additional security. We estimated the price to be under $200.

When the electrician arrived, he talked with us about our needs and did a thorough inspection of the home. He came back with an estimate of over $600. He rationalized this price due to the configuration of our home and the difficulty of wiring this fixture.

My wife and I both wanted this motion detector. However, we were unwilling to pay the price for this addition. Thus, we needed to redefined the problem. We wanted this motion detector as extra security for the home. We asked the electrician what it would cost to change out the light fixture. He mentioned less than $80. The motion detector was about $50. By redefining or refocusing the problem, we were able to carryout a better solution. 

In search of more lucrative markets, today’s companies are looking for more opportunities across the globe. The United States is a land where dreams come true. Individuals from across the globe come to this country for possible opportunities. Yet, companies fail every day in the marketplace.

According to one study, the failure rate for new startups is about 46%. Botch understanding of your business competencies and market opportunities may put to be fatal. On the contrary, businesses that provide value to customers by solving their pressing problems are rewarded.

By solving someone’s challenging problems, individuals are compensated very well. Thus, solving ‘wicked problems’ could yield greater rewards.  In this session, we will discuss the concepts of wicked problems and introduces how organizations can solve them with effective leaders who provide a burst of innovative thinking.

Wicked problems are not a simple undertaking. In 1973, design theorists, Horst Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, coined the term “wicked problem” in reference to complicated problems. A wicked problem can be defined as “one for which each attempt to create a solution changes the understanding of the problem.

Wicked problems cannot be solved in a traditional linear fashion because the problem definition evolves as new possible solutions are considered and/or implemented.” Wicked problems in cases where constant change or unprecedented challenges. Wicked problems are disruptive to traditional thinking generating traits of confusion, discord, and dysfunction.[1]

These wicked problems have the following characteristics: (1) A lack of definitive formulation; (2) No predetermined rule that determines when a solution has been found; (3) Lack of immediate and ultimate tests of solutions; (4) Lack of criteria that indicate all solutions have been identified; and (5) The uniqueness of every wicked problem.[2] Some examples of today’s wicked problems in our time include poverty, aging, nuclear weapons, world hunger, poverty, race relations, and health issues like cancer. Even with the best intentions, wicked problems may take decades or centuries to solve.

Critical Video

The changing world needs more individuals (i.e., leaders) who can solve wicked problems. Ian Palmer, Richard Dunford, and David Buchanan, authors of Managing Organizational Change, suggest that it is critical that managers know how to facilitate change and tailor creative approaches to fit the different context. “Whatever the explanation, organizations are clearly faced with a variety of pressures to change, from different directions.”[3]  Successful companies understand that solving problems provide them immediate rewards.

Stephen Spinelli Jr. and Robert Adams, authors of New Venture Creation, further argue that the market will be handsomely rewarded: “At the heart of the process is an opportunity. Successful entrepreneurs and investors know that a good idea is not necessarily a good opportunity… In short, the greater the growth, size, durability, and robustness of the gross and net margins and free cash flow, the greater the opportunity.” Thus, wicked problems are market opportunities.

However, some people are not interested in solving the problem, but making such their rationale of why the problem cannot be solved. Given this internal resistance, effective leadership must be infused into the problem to tackle wicked problems. In this case, this situation calls for tagging the manager out of the wrestling ring with a wicked problem and bringing in a fresh opponent, an authentic leader.

Dr. Richard Daft, leadership, argues about the importance of utilizing creative people in organizations: “Leaders of today’s organizations have reasons to encourage creativity. They need employees to continually be contributing ideas in order to respond to challenges.”[4] Figuring out how to solve wicked problems is not easy (or everyone would be solving them). Management guru, Cara G. Parker, suggests the following steps to solve wicked problems:

  1. Solve the right problem.
  2. Pinpoint the stakeholders.
  3. Analyze the issues.
  4. Brainstorm possible solutions.
  5. Test the preferred solution.

In summary, today’s companies are looking for market opportunities. Solving wicked problems are opportunities that carry a maximum reward. Yet, traditional thinking will not solve wicked problems in general.

In this brief conversation,  I’ve demonstrated that there is value in the marketplace for solving wicked problems. In fact, the most unsolvable problems can be overcome with effective leaders who think outside of the box with innovative thinking. Yet, most organizations have individuals who are roadblocks in solving problems outside of the traditional methods. Failure to overcome resistance and implement innovative thinking to wicked problems can be fatal. Pray that it is not too late.

Please share your personal experience with the above subject.

© 2018 by Dr. Daryl D. Green

REFERENCES

[1]“Strategy as a Wicked Problem” by John Camillus

[2] “‘Wicked’Problems: What are they, and why are they of interest to NNSI Researchers?” by Katherine Cooper

[3] Managing Organizational Change by Ian Palmer, Richard Dunford, and David Buchanan

[4] Leadership by Richard Daft

[5]Solve your Wicked Problems in 5 Steps!” by Cara G. Parker

 

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84 thoughts on “Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders

  1. Wicked Problems are problems which do not have a simple solution, and involves a deeper level of thinking about how to solve the complication. Many individuals have a desire to be the one who come up with the solution, but only a few will take the time and figure out a solution for the problem. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) states wicked problems are “difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems”.
    I do think there are solutions to some wicked problems. I believe it does takes extra time and work to overcome these types of problems. Individuals who are able to find solutions these problems are commonly awarded financially, or highly thought of. I have personally never worked or interned in an environment where wicked problems were relevant to the work I was assigned.
    References:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    • Ally,
      Thanks for opening up the discussion on ‘wicked problems.’ Your statement is interesting: “I do think there are solutions to some wicked problems.” I agree with you. Yet, it does take time to figure wicked problems out.

      All,
      What are the personal traits of someone who can solve wicked problems?

    • Allison,

      I agree that some wicked problems can be solved with deep thought to the solution but unfortunately some cannot be solved. As you stated from your source, wicked problems are “difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems”(n.d.). In order to solve a wicked problem, one must be completely devoted and willing to put hard work into the task. I also agree that people who can solve wicked problems should be rewarded, whether it be financially or in another way.

      References:
      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, from
      https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

      [WC: 121]

  2. When it comes to Wicked Problems there is no easy solution. These are problems that will take years or even centuries to fix. Fixing wicked problems could change the way a community works and could even cause an uproar in society. I think these problems can be fixed with time. People need to realize that there is no easy solution and the only way to make the change is taking the time to advocate for these issues. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) states that “Solving wicked problems are opportunities that carry a maximum reward. Yet, traditional thinking will not solve wicked problems in general.” As a church who is based on traditional values, we should believe in justice, doing what is right, and showing Christs love to others. We need to take on the role of stepping out of our little christian bubble and start breaking down these wicked problems.

    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    • Jacy,

      You are completely right in stating that “Fixing wicked problems could change the way a community works and could even cause an uproar in society” (Jacymorris, 2018). Society has gone on living with these problems and people have adapted to this life. Having change might be hard at first but there will always be good to come if it’s for the glory of God. It’s concerning that society is letting wicked problems be a social norm. It definitely will take time and the church has a big role in how they can make a difference. You have good points, and I stand with you on how we need to be “stepping out of our little christian bubble and start breaking down these wicked problems” (Jacymorris, 2018).

      Jacymorris, Febuary 20, 2018.
      from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php
      [WC-133]

      • Jacy,
        I think you brought up good points about wicked problems. I agree with you when you state “fixing wicked problems could change the way a community works and could even cause an uproar in society”. We live in a society where we want instant results, and because of this when we don’t get an instant result, we think there isn’t a solution. You quoted, Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) states that “Solving wicked problems are opportunities that carry a maximum reward. Yet, traditional thinking will not solve wicked problems in general.” A reward will be evident when one finds a resolution to these problems. Overall, this was a good post, and I enjoyed reading about your opinions with this topic.

        References:
        Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

        [WC-133]

  3. There are many problems in the world, many that we cannot change. There are certain problems without solutions, which are considered wicked problems because they are resistant to be changed. Wicked problems usually don’t have a simple solution. An example is that world hunger cannot be solved by feeding everyone food. It requires an ongoing process of supplying and meeting demands. This is an example of an ongoing wicked problem that has yet to be solved. These wicked problems are all interconnected, which makes it difficult to get to the center of each problem because they are intertwined. The blog Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) states that “Every wicked problem is a symptom of another problem.” This statement agrees with mine about the problems being intertwined.
    There are solutions to these problems they just aren’t simple. People can make an effort to change these problems, but it would be time consuming and extremely difficult.

    References:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, fromhttps://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    • Allison,
      Thanks for contributing to our global discussion on ‘wicked problems!’ I love your opening: “There are many problems in the world, many that we cannot change.” I agree. Yet, there are organizational leaders who are unwilling to give up on these wicked problems. Thank goodness for that!
      Dr. Green

    • Alison I loved what you took from this article. The example about how we can’t solve world hunger by giving everyone food has so much truth in it. (alisonsells2018) There is no easy way out when it comes to these world issues, and you’re right because it will take work. The quote you used from the article really goes with the idea you stated above, how all these problems are interconnected. You ended your opinion with a strong realistic point. These issues will take time to be solved and it would take a great deal of work. As a society I think we can do it!

      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, fromhttps://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

      WC= 106

  4. Finding a solution for wicked problems starts with the motivation and compassion to act. People need to ask themselves “what am I going to do?”. Stated in Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) says that it’s “difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems”. It will not be easy and that is why the problems are still very relevant today. Taking initiative is a burden sometimes, but if people are passionate and motivated enough to do something they will make an impact.
    I ask myself, where in my life am I going to try and make an impact on one of many wicked problems?
    Being an entrepreneur, having a business that has a ministry to serve the community, is the role I want to take. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) “wicked problems are market opportunities.” not only do I have an opportunity to make profit in my business, but compassionately serve others and strive to make a change in wicked problems.

    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    [WC-199]

    • Julianna,
      I enjoyed reading your reply. It seems like you and I share a lot of the same goals and idea about where we want to go in life. I also want to do mission work through my business profits. You quoted Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving and said that “wicked problems are market opportunities”. I agree with this very strongly. I think it is important for leaders to take the opportunities that arise in any business, and especially in a business that gives back. Every opportunity to grow your business is also an opportunity to give back.

      Reference:
      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

      [WC-108]

    • Julianne,

      I found it very inspiring that you asked yourself how you could make an impact on solving wicked problems. Learning how to do this now will greatly prepare you for the workforce and set you apart from other employees. Having the passion to solve wicked problems is a skill set that many employers are seeking. I wanted to share that one thing I have learned while researching wicked problems is that wicked problems require different approaches. There isn’t a standard or guideline to solving wicked problems. If there was a guideline, I think that they wouldn’t exist. Knowing this is encouraging, because realizing that a problem is not easy to solve helps us realize not everyone can do this. I have also learned from the TED talk from Tom Wujec, that breaking the problem down is very important. Focusing on the bigger picture is sometimes very discouraging. I also loved that you included passion. Having passion to solve a problem is so important.

      References:

      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    • Julianna
      I really liked reading your post. I agree with you that fixing a wicked problem starts with motivation to act. Many people lack this motivation because working towards solving a wicked problem is not easy or very fast. According to Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) “This mitigation is not an easy, quick, or solitary exercise”. I think it is great that you have the desire to serve others in the community. I think if more people would take opportunities to give back and serve people as their business grew the community and the world would be better off because of it.
      References:
      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2018 from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php
      [WC-103]

  5. Pingback: Wicked Problems: Coming Together to Look at the Big Picture – Bgoch Bsheke Kwe

  6. A wicked problem is a problem that can only be solved with a complex “outside the box” type of solution. They tend to take a very long time to fix if they can even be fixed at all. As stated by Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d.) “most social problems-such as inequality, political instability, death, disease, or famine- are wicked”. If a person were to solve one of these issues they would go down in history as having a profoundly positive impact on society. While many people like the idea of the reward that can come with solving a wicked problem. However far fewer of them are willing and motivated to step out of there comfort zone in order to fix the problem, regardless of what it might cost them.
    References:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2018 from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php
    [WC-130]

  7. Problem solving is such a good skill to have, in my personal experience; problem solving can be difficult but very rewarding in the end. I agree with Cara G. Parker, who said to follow these steps when solving wicked problems:
    1. Solve the right problem.
    2. Pinpoint the stakeholders.
    3. Analyze the issues.
    4. Brainstorm possible solutions.
    5. Test the preferred solution. (n.d.)
    Each time I have been in the process of problem solving, I have used most of these steps. I never actually stopped to think about how I was using them but in the future I can refer back to these helpful tips and understand how to problem solve more effectively and efficiently.

    References

    Solve your Wicked Problems in 5 Steps! (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from
    https://www.cparkerconsulting.com/discussions/2017/3/14/solve-your-wicked-problems-in-5-steps

    [WC: 133]

    • Paige D’Lese,

      Great work on this discussion. I completely agree with all of your points. I use a similar decision-making process. The article that I used gave these steps to solving a problem:

      1. Analyzing the factors or causes contributing to the unwanted situation.
      2. Generating a set of alternative interventions to achieve your end goal.
      3. Evaluating the best solutions.
      4. Implementing a plan.
      5. Assessing the effectiveness of your interventions.

      I believe that these steps really help, and yours do to! When reading your discussion post, it made me notice that I do not think about how I’m using these steps! Problem solving is a huge key in the business world, and we must learn how to do it effectively. Great work!

      References
      Doyle, A. (n.d.). Examples of Problem Solving Skills. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.thebalance.com/problem-solving-skills-with-examples-2063764

      [WC: 141]

    • Paige, nice perspective about wicked problems. I agree with the steps that your source used. Steps can lead people closer to solving wicked problems. The steps that Cara G. Parker proclaimed were,
      1. Solve the right problem.
      2.Pinpoint the stakeholders.
      3.Analyze the issues.
      4.Brainstorm possible solutions.
      5.Test the preferred solution. (n.d.)
      I think they are important because some people become overwhelmed when a seemingly impossible problem is presented to them. With these steps it makes finding a solution seem more possible. I also agree with you about using these steps for problems in my life. These are helpful in simple problems as well as wicked.

      References

      Solve your Wicked Problems in 5 Steps! (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from

      https://www.cparkerconsulting.com/discussions/2017/3/14/solve-your-wicked-problems-in-5-steps (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

      [wc 125]

  8. Fixing Wicked problems is not ever an easy task. These type of problems have no easy solution because they take a lot of effort and time to figure out. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) states that, “Even with the best intentions, wicked problems may take decades or centuries to solve”. A few examples of this type of problem is cancer, poverty, and even racism. Personally, I believe that any problem is solvable if you put your mind to it, but with extremely difficult problems like these it could take longer than usual. However, I do believe that it is our duty as humans, and Christians, to go out of our way to try and solve these major issues. Even though some of these problems may seem impossible or implausible, we still need to put in effort to try and make a difference no matter how small the outcome.

    References:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    [WC-159]

    • Nickolas, I agree with you and I really liked how you explained your ideas, bringing up some interesting points. You stated: “Even though some of these problems may seem impossible or implausible, we still need to put in effort to try and make a difference no matter how small the outcome (Nickolas Parker, 2018). I think this is the starting point when we want to discover new things or get the solutions for these kind of problemss. However, we also have to be aware that finding solutions for these problems can take us a long time but this is the way that we can improve as a society and improve a lot of things. “I believe that any problem is solvable if you put your mind to it”. I agree with your statement and I think that problem solving is one of the most important useful skills in our society.

      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

      WC=160

  9. “We know how to break down complex things into simple things and then bring them back together again.” This is how Tom Wujec begins his explanation of solving wicked problems. He is right. Many times, we get overwhelmed with the solution to the problem at hand. It seems too complex or too difficult to achieve. We are not able to see how all the pieces fit together in the end. This helps to explain the failure rate of 46% for new startup companies. It seems that new business are slow to address the pressing problems that customers bring to their attention, and when this happens the companies loses value. With that being said, when a company or new business addresses a wicked problem and seeks a solution, they add more value to their company . Their relationship with other business and customers becomes more beneficial because they showcase the talent to solve these problems. I believe that the skill of problem solving is one of great importance in today’s business world.
    References:
    https://nuleadership.com/2018/02/14/wicked-problems-for-todays-leaders/

    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php
    [WC – 171]

  10. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) states: “A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems”. I believe that there are solutions for some wicked issues, but it requires additional investment and work to defeat these sorts of issues. I think that there is no easy arrangement for wicked problem. Therefore, finding a solution for wicked problems could take a long time but it could change the way a society or group of people works. As I said above, I figure these issues can be settled with time but the best way to roll out the improvement is setting aside the opportunity to advocate for these issues.I also think that the ability of problem solving is one of the most important things in the business world

    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    WC=174

  11. A Wicked problem is complex and somewhat like a rubrics cube. You can try for hours on end to solve the puzzle and eventually solve one side. However, when you turn it around, you are met with another problem of trying to solve that side as well. Leading to a lengthy process of trial and error to figure out a solution. People often are deterred by these processes; Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) states that “some people are not interested in solving problems” making the problem become even further unsolvable. Personally, I agree with this statement and going further to say that some wicked problems may even be impossible to figure out. Cara G. Parker purposes a set of steps that will make solving the puzzle of a wicked problem easier:
    1. Solve the right problem.
    2. Pinpoint the stakeholders.
    3. Analyze the issues
    4. Brainstorm possible solutions.
    5. Test the preferred solution.

    References:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php
    [WC-165]

  12. Wicked Problems are difficult problems that do not have a simple solution. Finding the solution is one that needs a great leader that can think deeper than others. These problems continue to change and the simple solutions contradict each other. In order to solve the wicked problem, an exceptional leader needs to be able to take hold of the circumstances. These leaders need to think outside of the traditional solving problem techniques. A few wicked problems that Dr. Alan Watkins thinks our society is currently trying to solve is the government, economy, education, health, and climate change. (2015) Theses current wicked problems have been around for several years and will probably be around for several more years. It will take a spectacular leader to find a solution for these wicked problems.
    Reference:
    Watkins, A., Dr. (2015, July 31.). Top 5 Wicked Problems the World Desperately Needs to Solve. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/07/top-5-wicked-problems-the-world-desperately-needs-to-solve/

    • Alex,

      I agree with you that, to solve a wicked problem, an exceptional leader needs to be able to take hold of the circumstances. When one takes on a problem, they enter “intellectually forbidden territory,” a place where either a few or several have dared to go yet have left without a solid answer (Eppler, 2004, pp. 29). According to Mark Eppler (2004), there are seven problem-solving principles one needs when he or she confronts a big issue: forging, tackling the tyrant, fiddling, mid warping, relentless preparation, measuring twice, and force multiplication. However, wicked problems are unlike the everyday difficulties people will assuredly overcome, and these seven principles might not be as applicable.

      “Virtually every significant…task that you will face will involve analyzing a unique set of factors that requires at least a somewhat unique solution” (Rentz, 2014, pp. 15). As much as people might want to solve wicked problems, doing so will not be accomplished by simply willing it to happen. These problems set apart from others will take a long time to be solved, and this will likely be done with great effort, patience, tenacity, and by group with an excellent leader.

      [WC: 194]

      References:

      Eppler, M. (2004). The Wright Way: 7 problem-solving principles from the wright brothers that will make your business soar!. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

      Rentz, K., & Lentz, P. (2014). Business Communication (13th ed.). McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

    • Alex,
      I completely agree with what you have said about leadership. Leadership is beginning to take new shape. Leaders are now required to think abstractly. I found the lit of current wicked problems interesting. I specifically think the issue of climate change is interesting. As Dr. Alan Watkins (2015) says, “too little is being done because those in political power are too focused on staying in power.” Not only does it involve politics, but it involves the wellbeing of all the planet. Again, wicked problems have many moving part and factors. As you said, we need versatile and dedicated leaders to tackle these problems in order to move forward.

      Reference:
      Watkins, A., Dr. (2015, July 31.). Top 5 Wicked Problems the World Desperately Needs to Solve. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/07/top-5-wicked-problems-the-world-desperately-needs-to-solve/

      [WC 132]

  13. Wicked Problems are problems that require out of the box style problem solving. There are many moving parts that are involved. Euphemia Wong (2018) concludes that there is no immediate solution to these problems and the root of a wicked problem are often another problem in itself. This can cause leaders in the business world feel incapable of solving the problem. This is why it is important to hire versatile and creative thinkers to take charge in these predicaments. Wong (2018) describes the idea of “Design Thinking” to help combat these issues. It is a combination of collaborative innovation to tackle wicked problems. Without these leaders, complex problems in our world will never be truly handled. These include issues like poverty and environmental problems that have many factors. If we don’t begin to attempt in solving these issues nothing will move forward.

    Reference
    Wong, Euphemia. (2018). Wicked Problems: 5 Steps to Help You Tackle Wicked Problems by Combining Systems Thinking with Agile Methodology. Retrieved from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/wicked-problems-5-steps-to-help-you-tackle-wicked-problems-by-combining-systems-thinking-with-agile-methodology

    [WC 143]

    • Cassie,
      I agree with the statement you made about how wicked problems require an out of the box style to solve these problems. Wicked problems cannot be resolved by a simple solution. As you stated wicked problems have many moving parts. These conditions might have an easy solution on their own, however, when put together they need a more complex solution. Leaders are the key factors in finding the right combination to fix the wicked problem. As you said, leaders need to be versatile and creative thinkers that take charge in these predicaments. Without spectacular leaders to lead us through difficult situations there would be no solution to any predicament. Additional complex problems are government, economy, education, health, and climate change. (Watkins, 2015) Countries around the world have started to solve these wicked problems, however, we need an expert group of leaders that can combine their knowledge to find the complex solution for these worldwide wicked problems.

      Reference:
      Watkins, A., Dr. (2015, July 31.). Top 5 Wicked Problems the World Desperately Needs to Solve. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/07/top-5-wicked-problems-the-world-desperately-needs-to-solve/

      [WC – 157]

  14. Wicked problems do not have a cut and dry solution. They are very hard to solve, but if you use the right problem-solving skills, you can solve any problem. Once the problem is identified, you can generate solutions to solve this problem. Alison Doyle of TheBalance.com gives these steps to solving a problem:
    1. Analyzing the factors or causes contributing to the unwanted situation.
    2. Generating a set of alternative interventions to achieve your end goal.
    3. Evaluating the best solutions.
    4. Implementing a plan.
    5. Assessing the effectiveness of your interventions.
    Whenever I am solving a problem, I try and follow steps similar to these. We subconsciously rifle through these steps and tend to skip one. Skipping steps can be detrimental to the problem-solving steps. We must follow these steps and solve problems to the best of our ability. Using these steps will help us solve wicked problems, and find success.

    References

    Doyle, A. (n.d.). Examples of Problem Solving Skills. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.thebalance.com/problem-solving-skills-with-examples-2063764

    [WC: 169]

    • Mason,
      Thank you for writing such an interesting post for all of us to read. I really enjoyed reading all that you had to say. What you said about following certain steps in order to solve problems is something I totally agree with. This can be tough to do sometimes when we face extremely difficult problems because we often get distracted by how big the problem is, or by what other people are saying. When we could have solved the problem already if we had just put our head down and got to work instead of getting distracted by things that do not necessarily matter. Looking at the five steps, if I were to pick one that causes the most trouble. It would be number four, which is, “Implementing a plan.” Doyle (2017) Many times people come up with very creative solutions to wicked problems. But the action is not there, they just cannot seem to follow through with their plan. Which can be quite sad, whenever it is a problem that we would be much better off without.

      Reference

      Doyle, A. (2017, August 24). Examples of Problem Solving Skills. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from https://www.thebalance.com/problem-solving-skills-with-examples-2063764

      (WC-196)

    • Mason,
      Great post! I think the steps you laid out by Alison Doyle are a great way to start. Being able to use these steps is a way we can stay focused on the task, and follow through. the 2nd step is very important, because we may have to try many different options before we find one that works for our problem.

  15. Wicked problems are problems that are difficult to solve because they involve many complex aspects in decision-making. These problems take a lot of time, dedication, work, and different points of view. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d.) states that “…given this internal resistance, effective leadership must be infused into the problem to tackle wicked problems”. I agree with this statement completely. I believe it’s important to have leaders that are passionate and have a strong desire to solve these tough problems. As an entrepreneur, I would like to use my work to participate in international missions. It is important that I have a strong passion for what I am doing so that I can solve these problems with a team. I believe that the leader of a team is a good representation of the whole group. If the leader does not have initiative to solve these problems, the team likely will not either. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving also states that “wicked problems are market opportunities”. As a leader and entrepreneur, I hope to take every good opportunity that comes my way because it is also an opportunity to serve.

    Reference:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    [WC-200]

    • Rebekah,
      I strongly agree with the statement you made that Wicked problems have many complex aspects to them in terms of decision-making. Wicked problems are far from simple and require time to solve. They are inconsistent and most of time lead to secondary problems that conflict with the primary problem you want to fix. Furthermore, as personally stated; you agree with Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d.) statement “…given this internal resistance, effective leadership must be infused into the problem to tackle wicked problems”. I agree with statement. It is crucial that a leader uses his or her skills to their advantage in solving a Wicked problem. Facing the problem head on; along with strong commitment is the most effective strategy in solving a Wicked problem.

      Reference:
      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

      [WC-138]

    • Rebekah,
      Thank you for writing a very well thought out article. Your article had many thought provoking points in it. I liked your point about wicked problems take a lot of time and dedication. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d.) states that “…given this internal resistance, effective leadership must be infused into the problem to tackle wicked problems”. You mentioned that you agree with this quote because it’s beneficial to have leaders that are passionate and have a desire to solve these problems. I agree with but I also think that some leaders are passionate and do want to solve those problems but are not very good at critical thinking. Thinking outside of the box is a very useful tool for a leader to have, especially in the business field. As an entrepreneur, I hope to show that I am capable of thinking outside of the box.
      Reference:
      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php
      wc-157

  16. Wicked problems can seem sometimes impossible to solve. Cara G. Parker defines it as something “so paradoxical that we see no-way out”. However most of the times it can be the leader responsible to find a solution who is making the problem more complex than it is.
    Tom Wujec in his TED talk video explains that a good way to solve it is by visualizing. Visualizing can help you see the problem and fix it (or make it better). I have found this to be very helpful. There may be times we will have to deal with wicked problems where we see no way out. But if we focus and visualize the steps we will find an answer.

    References
    Solve your Wicked Problems in 5 Steps! (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from
    https://www.cparkerconsulting.com/discussions/2017/3/14/solve-your-wicked-problems-in-5-steps

    T. (2015, February 05). Tom Wujec: Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vS_b7cJn2A

    WC [159]

    • Jocelyn,

      Thank you for your share, I found myself sometimes in some problem that I do not see any way out. It is frustrating. So, when you said that visualizing is an option I agree with you, sometimes by visualizing the process we can see each steep and maybe find where the problem is. When you have analyzed the problem, it is easier to solve the problem if you do brainstorm for many solutions. “Brainstorm Solutions: This is the fun part. Now that you have all the needed data – solve it! You have the right problem statement written, have identified impacts, the issues are transparent, so go to it! Creativity counts here. Brainstorm as many ideas and steps needed to right your problem. Quantity of ideas count – not quality at first. Don’t do this alone – you need more that just your brainpower. Next, narrow down the solution(s) to the ones that make the problem not so wicked and scary and develop your plan of attack.”

      Solve your Wicked Problems in 5 Steps! (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from
      https://www.cparkerconsulting.com/discussions/2017/3/14/solve-your-wicked-problems-in-5-steps

      [wc-179]

  17. Wicked problems are never easy to solve. These kinds of problems are always changing. They change with technology advances and changes in society. Brooke Manville, an author for Forbes, writes that Alexander the Great was one of the first wicked problem solvers for solving the Gordian knot. He writes that “Business leaders lack such brisk solutions for their problems today. Global competitions, networks, and stakeholder empowerment are transforming former manageable, bounded challenges into endless Gordian knots.” I do not think that everyone can be a solve wicked problems, hence why they are in such high demand. Some people are better at solving wicked problems than other people. Manville lists six practices for solving wicked problems
    1. Bring the whole system to the table
    2. Your first job is not devising the solution-it’s to build and sustain trust around the table
    3. Your next job is ensuring short term wins for all, on the way to the longer-term system solution
    4. Build ongoing, adaptive learning into the process
    5. Be aware of your power, and share it responsibility
    6. Manage relationships at home in tandem those of your problem-solving community

    Manville, Brooke. Six Leadership Practices for ‘Wicked’ Problem Solving. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brookmanville/2016/05/15/six-leadership-practices-for-wicked-problem-solving/#5c3c3d2e506b
    (WC-199)

  18. Wicked problems are very hard problems to solve because each one is completely different and takes a new way to look at it and a new way to think of it. Not everybody will be able to solve wicked problems and only those who are able to think outside the box will be able to get this done. Those who can solve wicked problems are putting themselves in a good situation in life because they will be able to accomplish most things and can be very intellectual people. Someone who can solve these problems will be a great asset to whatever group they belong to. Since every wicked problem is different, those who are attempting to solve them cannot use the completion of any other problem as experience for the new one. Each wicked problem is completely different and will take a whole new way of looking at it with a whole new solution than the others.
    References
    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2018 from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php
    WC=168

    • John,
      Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insight on wicked problems. I found what you said extremely interesting when you stated, “Not everybody will be able to solve wicked problems and only those who are able to think outside the box will be able to get this done.” I share the same belief as you that it requires someone that will not limit their mind and think outside the box and explore different approaches. It will take someone who is relentless with an intuitive mind to reach a conclusion to a wicked problem. Furthermore, backing our ideas of having to think outside the box, “Wicked issues are different because traditional processes can’t resolve them, according to Horst W.J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, professors of design and urban planning at the University of California at Berkeley, who described them in a 1973 article in Policy Sciences magazine.” (Camillus 2008)

      WC- [149]

      Reference: Camillus, J. C. (2014, July 31). Strategy as a Wicked Problem. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2008/05/strategy-as-a-wicked-problem

  19. Wicked problems are called ‘wicked problems’ for a reason; they are indeed insoluble (to an extent). In this, many issues deemed wicked under this umbrella are beyond solution; using even outside the box thinking. I do believe that using outside the box thinking, as well as allocating strong leaders to smart think-groups can allow for a quicker solution, but issues listed previously such as, “poverty, aging, nuclear weapons, world hunger, poverty, race relations, and health issues like cancer” (n.d) are not dilemmas that can be solved with only change in leadership. I believe that instead what we can do to combat this would be in discovering preventative measures all the while looking for the root of the problem through careful inspection and analysis. I believe that ultimately God has His will, and that as per his schedule these issues will be solved. This is NOT to say that we are to ignore the issues or not work towards solutions, as God uses us to bring forth His will, but rather that He will provide the answers in His time. In conclusion, I believe that some problems may be out of our control, and only through God can we persevere.

    WC: 199

    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    • DG,
      First off, I agree with what you said, “I believe that ultimately God has His will, and that as per his schedule these issues will be solved. This is NOT to say that we are to ignore the issues or not work towards solutions”. I firmly believe that “you cannot pray for an A but study for a B.” We cannot pray for change yet sit idly. We are the Lords hands and His feet on this Earth. We must be driven with the mindset that everything we do needs to be towards a purpose bigger than ourselves. Even still, I agree with the rest of your statement, “In conclusion, I believe that some problems may be out of our control, and only through God can we persevere.” All we can do is persevere through Him!

      [WC: 136]

      References:
      D Green. (2018, February 14). Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders. Retrieved from https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/11034714/posts/2207

      • Kawehi,
        Thanks for this profound statement! God has equipped us the knowledge to solve ‘wicked problems.’ Sometimes, it is a matter of listening to Him. As you say, we are good stewards working toward solutions.
        Dr. Green

  20. Wicked problems, as stated above are “disruptive to traditional thinking” (2018). When trying to discern how to handle a wicked problem, one must keep a positive perspective. Handling such problems could lead to discouragement because of their ever-changing nature, they are not impossible to handle. A person should use steps to critically think through the problem, and come up with the best possible solution. Strategy as a Wicked Problem wrote, “It’s impossible to find solutions to wicked strategy problems, but companies can learn to cope with them” (2008). These wicked problems can bring forth trials within companies, but dealing with them can make the company stronger on an internal and external front.

    References:
    Camillus, J. C. (2014, July 31). Strategy as a Wicked Problem. Retrieved February 22, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2008/05/strategy-as-a-wicked-problem

    D Green. (2018, February 14). Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders. Retrieved from https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/11034714/posts/2207

    [WC 112]

  21. There are countless “wicked problems” in today’s world. Many of them are observable in the United States alone. To better understand this topic, it is good to know some basic ideas for what a wick problem is. “A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems.” according to Wicked Problems. The one that stands out the most would be, “the number of people and opinions involved.” This can make things extremely tough when trying to solve a wicked problem. Because there are just so many conflicting ideas and points of view that it is nearly impossible to get anything done because very few people can agree on a single best way to go about solving a problem. This seems to be the biggest barrier in today’s times concerning many wicked problems, and hopefully some resolution will occur sooner rather than later.

    References:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    (WC-179)

    • Shane,
      I agree with your comment about wicked problems. You said, “Because there are just so many conflicting ideas and points of view that it is nearly impossible to get anything done because very few people can agree on a single best way to go about solving a problem.” There are many cases in which people do not agree and argue over what ways will work to solve these wicked problems. In fact, no one will really know how to solve them until someone actually does. It will probably end up being a trial and error situation where many people take their ideas to work. If people could learn to work together and share their ideas, these problems could be solved and people could figure it out a lot faster than working by themselves.
      References:
      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php
      WC=145

    • Shane,
      First off, great job! I thought your ideas were great and right online with mine. I think wicked problems need to be addressed by everyone, especially Christians. If we could just put a dent in these type of problems we would change the world and how people live in it. Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (n.d) states “fixing wicked problems could change the way a community works and could even cause an uproar in society”. If we all can put our minds together we will be able to make a difference its just a matter of effort at this point. I believe it is our duty not only as Christians but also as humans, to put major amounts of effort towards these problems. Great job again!
      References:
      Wicked Problems. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2018, from https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

      [WC-139]

  22. Whether it’s going to see a therapist or having a plumber come check why the sink drain is making such an awful sound, we tend to pay others money when they specialize in something we do not. Having knowledge or insight in a field where others are unsure usually pays off. However, there are bigger problems in the world that have yet to receive a definitive solution or answer. A phrase coined for issues such as these is “wicked problems.”

    “A wicked problem can be defined as ‘one for which each attempt to create a solution changes the understanding of the problem’” (Green, 2018). I would like to think of myself as creative when it comes to solving matters on my own; however, it can benefit both myself and others to work in a team to solve the issue. Although “wicked problems…can’t be solved ‘once and for all’,” it helps to have several eyes and minds come together to form a more concise thought (Cooper, 2017). It could not only help the problem become more identifiable to a broader audience, but it might also open a door to someone who has the greatest resolution – every if it is only temporary.

    [WC:200]

    References:

    Cooper, K. (2017, June 13). “‘Wicked’ Problems: What are they, and why are they of interest to NNSI Researchers?” Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://nnsi.northwestern.edu/social-impact/wicked-problems-what-are-they-and-why-are-they-of-interest-to-nnsi-researchers/

    Green, D. D. (2018, February 14). “Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders.” Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://nuleadership.com/2018/02/14/wicked-problems-for-todays-leaders/#_ftn2

  23. There are a lot of wicked problems that our society faces today. A lot of these wicked problems will be extremely hard to get rid of, but we should do our best to get rid of them. It should be understood that these problems will not go away over night. The wicked problems have become somewhat accepted a normal part of everyone’s life. Also, it will be difficult to get rid of these wicked problems, because “some people aren’t interested in solving problems” (2018). I think the best way to go about attempting to get rid of the wicked problems facing our society is to educate people on the problems. They need to know why it is a problem and how to go about fixing it.

    References:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d). Retrieved February 21, 2018, https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

    • Heath Cribbs,

      I understand your point of view. I believe you are correct in addressing people who are complacent to change. Not only are they complacent to change but they have conformed to the idea of the wicked problem itself. They seem to get confined by its parameters. How would you go about motivating these people to shake off the theoretical innovation shackles? My best recommendation would be to become a great leader in order to motivate and inspire this type of individual. Very well thought out. Thank you for your comment.
      (WC 92)

  24. As stated above, “A wicked problem can be defined as “one for which each attempt to create a solution changes the understanding of the problem” (Green, 2018). Honestly, the root of every wicked problem is just that fact that we’re all imperfect people living in an imperfect world. One thing every single person can agree on is that no one, currently, on this Earth is perfect. The above stated quote, “some people are not interested in solving the problem, but making such their rationale of why the problem cannot be solved” (Green, 2018) also really speaks to the human nature that we were born in. We’re taught to give up on things that are really hard, try something else, and hope for better luck next time. Maybe our mindset is another wicked problem.

    [WC: 133]

    References:
    Wicked Problems. (n.d). Retrieved February 21, 2018, https://www.wickedproblems.com/1_wicked_problems.php

  25. Wicked problems are near impossible to solve due to their miniscule information and ability to evolve and change. Writer John Kolko from Stanford Social Innovation Revie writes “Based on these characteristics, not all hard-to-solve problems are wicked, only those with an indeterminate scope and scale. So most social problems—such as inequality, political instability, death, disease, or famine—are wicked. They can’t be fixed “(Kolko 2012). Many people desire to see a solution to wicked problems, but very few want to put in the time and effort required to actually solve them. It more often than not requires a group effort with great minds driven by a fully fueled heart to create a change to fix a wicked problem.

    WC- [119]

    Reference: Kolko, J. (2012, March 6). Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (SSIR). Retrieved March 11, 2018, from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/wicked_problems_problems_worth_solving

    • Hello Chad,
      Great insight on the need for a team to solve a wicked problem instead of just one brain. A person can only achieve so much in the path to a solution. Chapter 8 of New Venture Creation makes the point that a team is necessary to an entrepreneur’s success (Spinelli & Adams, 2016). While a normal problem can be solved with one great mind, a wicked problem takes years of dedication to a unified and goal oriented team. Breast Cancer has not been cured but because of determination and support from the community, they are close a cure, an example of a wicked problem with a great team.
      Reference:
      Spinelli, S., & Adams, R. (2016). New venture creation: entrepreneurship for the 21st century. New York: McGraw-Hill.
      (WC-129)

    • Hi Chad,
      Thank you for your thoughtful insight on how wicked problems are a series of many problems that can be so difficult to come up with just one solution to the problem at hand., and providing excellent examples of what you were explaining. You stated, “it more often than not requires a group effort with great minds driven by a fully fueled heart to create a change to fix a wicked problem.” I agree with you, because Horst Rittel also argues that “teams that approach wicked problems must literally make things up as they go along” (Kolko, 2012). With that being said, it takes a dedicated team made up of creative minds to come together to brainstorm new and disruptive ideas to try and scrape the surface of a wicked problem. Teams have to critically evaluate what part of the problem they would like to tackle first to give them a strong starting point .That is why it is critical for teams to be supportive of one another’s ideas, and to think outside of the box to try and improve the problem at hand.

      References:
      Kolko, J. (2012, March 06). Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (SSIR). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/wicked_problems_problems_worth_solving
      [WC-200]

  26. The solutions to wicked problems are comparable to salmon swimming upstream. It takes strategy and few types can power through and reach the destination or goal. All wicked problems have a consistent dilemma, they have a resistance against finding a solution such as salmon encounter the power of water. With this promised resistance, most likely coming from powerhouse companies or the federal government, such as pharmaceutical companies fighting against the cure for cancer, timing is crucial. Waiting till society finally sees the problem as a critical error and a solution is vital to evolution, and the only way for one’s efforts to be multiplied and accepted. Patience is a guideline to a harvest strategy or the creation of an answer to a wicked problem. (Spinelli & Adams, 2016, p. 248) While this article makes great points about the necessary brain power and strategy needed, the timing must be well sought to solve any wicked problem.

    Reference:
    Spinelli, S., & Adams, R. (2016). New venture creation: entrepreneurship for the 21st century. New York: McGraw-Hill.
    (WC-157)

    • Hi Ianey,

      I like your salmon example and its relationship to “Wicked Problems”. This is a dilemma when salmon has only one choice to go straight. A problem can aggravate or bring about unexpected results when conventional processes are ineffective. The classic of wicked problems such as environmental degradation, terrorism, and poverty, etc. It unlike hard but ordinary problems, which people can solve in a finite time period by applying standard techniques.

      Companies are becoming more and more inclined to make things simpler. According to Camillus, they can’t develop models of the increasingly complex environment in which they operate. As a result, contemporary strategic-planning processes don’t help enterprises cope with the big problems they face. Leaders are really having problems when their company cannot be resolved merely by gathering additional data, defining issues more clearly, or turn them into smaller problems.

      The planning techniques are not effective when it doesn’t generate fresh ideas, and implementing the solutions those processes come up with is fraught with political peril. (WC-171)

      Reference:
      Camillus, J. C. (2014, August 01). Strategy as a Wicked Problem. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2008/05/strategy-as-a-wicked-problem

    • Laney,

      Thanks for your contribution to this topic! I love your illustration: “The solutions to wicked problems are comparable to salmon swimming upstream.” Salmon struggle to swim upstream, hearing an instinctive call for creativity to this wicked problem.

      Yes…even in nature, there is a strategy for dealing with complicated problems.

      Dr. Green

  27. This is a very interesting article and I really have a new look on “Wicked Problems”. I admit that it is not a simple matter, so conflicts or problems of change are often unrecognizable. I feel that the purpose of Wicked Problems does not send a solution and it does not condemn the problem. It means “Wicked Problems” has not a determinable stopping point. In the article, I was surprised at $ 600 for a motion detector in our backyard. Redefining of the problem is clearly a smart choice in this case. Labor costs and profits are too high, while the cost of raw materials is low ($ 130).

    I totally agree with Dr.Green that today’s companies are looking for market opportunities. Solving wicked problems are opportunities that carry a maximum reward. Yet, traditional thinking will not solve wicked problems in general. In fact, today’s leaders need open thinking, listening to their employees, seeking quality ideas to cope with every challenge.

    Thank Dr. Green for this article, I really like it.

    • Long,

      Thanks for input! I found your statements profound: “I admit that it is not a simple matter, so conflicts or problems of change are often unrecognizable. I feel that the purpose of Wicked Problems does not send a solution and it does not condemn the problem.” Change causes us to react.

      Disruptive change often forces us to solve wicked problems…against our own wills.

      Dr. Green

    • Long,

      I agree with you on Dr. Green’s experience of finding a motion detector for his home. His experience has given me a new outlook of approaching wicked problems as well. I was speechless that it would cost $600 to have a motion detector set up. And it was a wise decision for Dr. Green to reconsider other options for setting up a motion detector. Dr Green solved his own wicked problem by figuring that the labor costs and profits and extremely high and the material costs and inexpensive. I believe that Dr. Green showed a great example on how to solve this wicked problem, because at first it didn’t not seem like a problem until he needed the motion detector to be set up.

      (WC – 124)

      Reference:
      Wong, E. (n.d.). Wicked Problems: 5 Steps to Help You Tackle Wicked Problems by Combining Systems Thinking with Agile Methodology. Retrieved March 15, 2018, from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/wicked-problems-5-steps-to-help-you-tackle-wicked-problems-by-combining-systems-thinking-with-agile-methodology

  28. Wicked problems are rampant in our environment today. These grandiose problems seem too much for the average person to take head on. With a plethora of subjective views on how to handle these wicked problems, it is refreshing to see an objective take on how to classify and solve said problems. I believe your classification for wicked problems hits the head on the nail perfectly. One major issue with solving wicked problems is leadership. With problems of this nature, leadership is paramount. To solve these issues, one needs a leader who will take grand actions and stop at nothing till the issue is resolved. Likewise, the leader needs to have extreme resolve and resilience. Wicked problems could take years upon years to solve. The leader needs to have the strength to actively pursue a solution despite fatigue. Most of all, the leader needs to be creative. Someone who can innovate and change the environment. Only through those can wicked problems be solved. I would encourage the reader of this article to evaluate their leadership ability. Could you be the one to solve a wicked problem through leadership?

    [WC- 187]

  29. In today’s society, a hot topic that is circulating in businesses and entrepreneurs is the idea of wicked problems. This topic can serve as an area for people to try and take a shot of what the solution could be, or to others it is a way to emerge in a particular market to seize a potential business opportunity. When tackling a wicked problem, the more and more one starts to pick it apart, the bigger the issue seems to appear. It is like a person unwrapping a Christmas present, and at end there is a big pile of wrapping paper that also contains the original box the present came in. It is stated that “every wicked problem is unique, and there is no template to follow when tackling a wicked problem” (Kolko, 2012). With that being said, it gives us an understanding that each individual problem comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities that are unique to that particular problem. It is also often said that wicked problems are hard to pin point just one area of the problem, “so approaches to wicked problems should be tractable ways to improve a situation rather than solve it” (Kolko, 2012).

    References:
    Kolko, J. (2012, March 06). Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving (SSIR). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/wicked_problems_problems_worth_solving
    [WC – 200]

    • Robert, I agree that these wicked problems can be a way for entrepreneurs to emerge in a particular market. The challenges from the wicked problems that you presented, I think can also be a tool that entrepreneurs use to their benefit. You stated that the issue appears to get bigger the more someone starts to look deeper into the wicked problem, and I believe that this can be a helpful mindset in some instances too. Personally, I know I am more motivated when I have to work for something rather than it being easy. If there is a great opportunity that a wicked problem presents, if an entrepreneur can rewire his perspective to see how the struggles the problems give can turn into success, I think these wicked problems will become somewhat of an easier challenge to solve. The challenge you provided for entrepreneurs when they are faced with a wicked problem, is a serious issue that requires a change in perspective for the entrepreneur.

      (WC-166)

    • Robert, great synopsis. I really liked your example of unwrapping a Christmas present. In the Harvard Business Review Article, it explains it like this. “The problem is difficult to come to grips with and changes with every attempt to address it” (Camillus 2008). To solve a wicked problem, you must be able to think long term and address many different potential scenarios. You must have plans upon plans upon plans. Wicked problems are difficult to address, but the payoff is there. Someone once told me, “you make money by doing something that no one else wants to do.”

      [WC – 119]

      References:

      Camillus, J. C. (2014, August 01). Strategy as a Wicked Problem. Retrieved March 16, 2018, from
      https://hbr.org/2008/05/strategy-as-a-wicked-problem

    • Robert,
      I completely agree with you when it comes to wicked problems. I love the analogy comparing a problem to someone opening a christmas present. As you said, it often is difficult to pin point just one cause of a wicked problem. I believe that this is due to the fact that often times when there is a major problem, there are several different contributing factors and you have to search individually for every single one. Every time you identify a problem it seems as if another one arise. But, as we’ve learned the first step in solving a problem is identifying the cause (Doyle). If we look at each problem as an opportunity, than we have more of a chance of solving it.

      References: Doyle, A. (n.d.). Examples of Problem Solving Skills. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.thebalance.com/problem-solving-skills-with-examples-2063764

      WC-139

  30. Wicked problems are difficult to solve due to not having any structure and for having unknown solutions. Some of the wicked problems in the United States of America are education, climate, national debt, unemployment, healthcare, and so on. To recognize and solve a wicked problem takes a wise individual because they are forced to step outside of their comfort zone and realize that there is a problem and search for an answer to solve it. According to Euphemia Wong, there are five steps to solve a wicked problem.
    1. Break down information into nodes
    2. Visualize the information.
    3. Be collaborative and include stakeholders in the process.
    4. Release solutions quickly to gather continuous feedback.
    5. Iterate.
    I firmly believe that all wicked problems are different in certain ways and a wise individual could follow these steps and be on the right track to solving their issue. An individual that is wise enough to know there is a wicked problem and use efficient tools into solving that problem could be a huge asset.
    [WC-174]
    Reference:
    Wong, E. (n.d.). Wicked Problems: 5 Steps to Help You Tackle Wicked Problems by Combining Systems Thinking with Agile Methodology. Retrieved March 15, 2018, from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/wicked-problems-5-steps-to-help-you-tackle-wicked-problems-by-combining-systems-thinking-with-agile-methodology

  31. Wicked problems are something that as business oriented people, we have a great opportunity to take advantage of. However, it is not a simple “get rich quick” type of problem solving. “A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems” (Ritchey, 2011). These wicked problems can be more associated with the motto of “slow and steady wins the race.” It is important that in order to take advantage of the opportunities wicked problems present, we remain patient and develop a strong strategy to attack the challenging problem. I agree that the best people to handle these wicked problems are the proven leaders in today’s marketplace. Having strong leadership can help businesses see the opportunity that a wicked problem presents, and help the business to stay patient while developing a strategy to attack the problem. Wicked problems can be defeated but leadership, patience, and strategy are key to turning the wicked problems into a successful opportunity.

    (WC- 193)

    Reference:
    Ritchey, T. (2011). Wicked Problems and Genuine Uncertainty. Wicked Problems – Social Messes, 19-29. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-19653-9_3

  32. “A wicked problem has innumerable causes, is tough to describe, and doesn’t have a right answer” (Camillus 2008). Solutions to a wicked problem can often be an opportunity. Businesses need to be able to solve wicked problems for their own success. I thought of one example in my own experience. About 15 years ago, farmers in the Texas Panhandle realized that irrigation water was going to run out if it was used in the same way. Instead of drilling more water wells or continuing to do it the same way, many farmers 1) began to plant crops that used less water, and 2) began to cultivate the ground differently. Land had been plowed the same way for many, many years. In the recent past, farmers began to “strip-till” the land, in which not all the ground was turned up. Just a small strip was turned up, and they planted the seeds in that strip. In that way, the ground did not dry as quickly and moisture was retained. This was part of a solution to a wicked problem.

    [WC – 198)

    References:

    Camillus, J. C. (2014, August 01). Strategy as a Wicked Problem. Retrieved March 16, 2018, from
    https://hbr.org/2008/05/strategy-as-a-wicked-problem

  33. Almost every large business venture has been started because of a major problem, and the business became the solution to the problem through creative and intuitive thinking. For example, we have Amazon which is the solution to the problem of a lack time in people’s days. Amazon is fast and easy and fuels the fire when it comes to easy access. We also have companies like Tesla, who develops vehicles that don’t use gas. The problem is the burning of fossil fuels and how it effects the environment and Tesla is the solution. The first step in solving a problem is analyzing the causes of that problem (Doyle). Thus, when we look at wicked problems as an opportunity and not a setback, we move forward as a society because of the solution that arise from those problems.

    References: Doyle, A. (n.d.). Examples of Problem Solving Skills. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.thebalance.com/problem-solving-skills-with-examples-2063764

    WC- [152]

    • This is a very interesting article and I really have a new look on “Wicked Problems”. I admit that it is not a simple matter, so conflicts or problems of change are often unrecognizable. I feel that the purpose of Wicked Problems does not send a solution and it does not condemn the problem. It means “Wicked Problems” has not a determinable stopping point. In the article, I was surprised at $ 600 for a motion detector in our backyard. Redefining of the problem is clearly a smart choice in this case. Labor costs and profits are too high, while the cost of raw materials is low ($ 130).

      I totally agree with Dr.Green that today’s companies are looking for market opportunities. Solving wicked problems are opportunities that carry a maximum reward. Yet, traditional thinking will not solve wicked problems in general. In fact, today’s leaders need open thinking, listening to their employees, seeking quality ideas to cope with every challenge.

      Thank Dr. Green for this article, I really like it. (WC – 173)

      Reference:
      Green, D. D. (2018, February 14). “Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders.” Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://nuleadership.com/2018/02/14/wicked-problems-for-todays-leaders/#_ftn2

    • Caleb,
      I really enjoyed reading your response. I agree that many business today have developed because they were able to come up with a soulution to problems. The example you used of Amazon is an exceptional example. Amazon has been able to solve so many customers problems because of the online business they created. It’s organizations like this that are so successful because they were able to resolve a wicked problem. The company Telsa is also an excellent example of how a company solves wicked problems. I think you are right when you say that we have to look at them as an opportunity instead of a setback. Great response Caleb.

      WC -109

      Reference:
      Green, D. D. (2018, February 14). “Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders.” Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://nuleadership.com/2018/02/14/wicked-problems-for-todays-leaders/#_ftn2

  34. Dr. Green ,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It was very insightful. I believe that there are so many issues in today’s world that we still haven’t resolved. There are many issues that are easier than others to solve and it’s the wicked problems that can provide an opportunity for young business people like myself. It would be a great goal of mine to be able to come up with a solution to a wicked problem. Not only to have a profitable company but to be able to help others with their problems. However, this is not a simple task or else everyone would be able to do it. It takes a gifted person to be able to solve a wicked problem.

    WC 120
    Reference:
    Green, D. D. (2018, February 14). “Wicked Problems for Today’s Leaders.” Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://nuleadership.com/2018/02/14/wicked-problems-for-todays-leaders/#_ftn2

  35. In today’s world, the need to have people step up and make changes is more urgent than ever. This also means that the opportunity to be that person is also greater than ever. finding solutions to a wicked problem can be an enormous opportunity, because there is always a problem that can be fixed, or a solution that can be improved upon. The reward for being able to solve a wicked problem is great because of how difficult it is to do.“A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems” (Ritchey, 2011). There are few people who are able to take the time, and give the effort it requires to solve one of the problems. We must be ready to step up and help be part of the solution for the problems we have today.
    (WC-173)

  36. When it comes to Wicked problems, no one has an easy answer, and sometimes the problem is misunderstanding. Wicked problem concerns for most of the time grave problem that needs more than one solution and a large amount of time and knowledge. We have seen many wicked problems and many more will come however, only few people are willing to take risk to make a change, and in my opinion, it where the problem is. People who are willing to make that change will make a difference no matter how hard the problem is. I think that more complicated the problem is and more open minded, creative the solver needs to be. “Leaders of today’s organizations have reasons to encourage creativity. They need employees to continually be contributing ideas in order to respond to challenges.” By using the correct resources and the right people, a change can be make.

    Leadership by Richard Daft

    [wc 150]

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