No, not clever people with evil intent!
Are you willing to work on the most difficult issues facing our generation? These wicked problems are defined as having extreme multi-factor complexity that defies logical definition, such that a solution to one part of the problem creates or exposes another problem. The overall problem contains many unknown variables and the relationships between its parts are fluid and subjective with multiple stakeholders. There is no clear way to measure or know when the problem is solved.
Perhaps the most telling characteristic of a wicked problem is that it cannot be solved by the structured thinking that preceded it. It is therefore “resistant” to the analytical problem-solving methodologies typically used on complex issues, hence the adjective “wicked”.
Examples of wicked problems include:
• Climate change and environmental sustainability
• People trafficking and exploitation
• Poverty and economic injustice
• Racism, ethnic violence and terrorism
• Domestic violence and child abuse
• Alcohol and substance abuse
We could dream of a day when there is no more pollution, no more exploitation, no more violence, no more substance abuse, and so on – until we experience again the fundamental weaknesses in human nature. Instead, we invite you to learn and apply new ways of thinking about these issues, to focus on mitigation rather than resolution:
• Awareness – become more informed about the issue you are best positioned to address
• Behaviour – make sure you are not contributing to the problem by adjusting your habits
• Collaboration – join with others who share your passion and work together on change
• Decision-making – speak out on decisions made at every level to influence outcomes
• Engagement – gather others to join your movement to think globally and act locally