Characteristics[ edit ] Rittel and Webber's formulation of wicked problems in social policy planning specified ten characteristics: Wicked problems have no stopping rule.
Wicked problems have no stopping rule. Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-falsebut better or worse. There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem.
Every solution to a wicked problem is a "one-shot operation"; because there is no opportunity to learn by trial and errorevery attempt counts significantly. Wicked problems do not have an enumerable or an exhaustively describable set of potential solutions, nor is there a well-described set of permissible operations that may be incorporated into the plan.
Every wicked problem is essentially unique. Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem. The existence of a discrepancy representing a wicked problem can be explained in numerous ways. The social planner has no right to be wrong i. Solutions to wicked problems are not right or wrong.
Every wicked problem is essentially novel and unique. Examples[ edit ] Classic examples of wicked problems include economicenvironmentaland political issues. A problem whose solution requires a great number of people to change their mindsets and behavior is likely to be a wicked problem. Therefore, many standard examples of wicked problems come from the areas of public planning and policy.
These include global climate change natural hazardshealthcarethe AIDS epidemic, pandemic influenzainternational drug traffickingnuclear weaponsnuclear energywaste and social injustice. In recent years, problems in many areas have been identified as exhibiting elements of wickedness; examples range from aspects of design decision making and knowledge management  to business strategy.
In their words, The search for scientific bases for confronting problems of social policy is bound to fail because of the nature of these problems Policy problems cannot be definitively described.
Moreover, in a pluralistic society there is nothing like the indisputable public good; there is no objective definition of equity; policies that respond to social problems cannot be meaningfully correct or false; and it makes no sense to talk about "optimal solutions" to these problems Even worse, there are no solutions in the sense of definitive answers.
The constraints that the problem is subject to and the resources needed to solve it change over time. The problem is never solved definitively.
Although Rittel and Webber framed the concept in terms of social policy and planning, wicked problems occur in any domain involving stakeholders with differing perspectives. The main reason for this is that there is no clear problem definition of wicked problems.
In a paper published inNancy Roberts identified the following strategies to cope with wicked problems: The reduction in the number of stakeholders reduces problem complexity, as many competing points of view are eliminated at the start.
The disadvantage is that authorities and experts charged with solving the problem may not have an appreciation of all the perspectives needed to tackle the problem. Competitive These strategies attempt to solve wicked problems by pitting opposing points of view against each other, requiring parties that hold these views to come up with their preferred solutions.
The advantage of this approach is that different solutions can be weighed up against each other and the best one chosen. The disadvantage is that this adversarial approach creates a confrontational environment in which knowledge sharing is discouraged.
Consequently, the parties involved may not have an incentive to come up with their best possible solution. Collaborative These strategies aim to engage all stakeholders in order to find the best possible solution for all stakeholders.
Typically these approaches involve meetings in which issues and ideas are discussed and a common, agreed approach is formulated. In his paper,  Rittel hints at a collaborative approach; one which attempts "to make those people who are being affected into participants of the planning process.
They are not merely asked but actively involved in the planning process". A disadvantage of this approach is that achieving a shared understanding and commitment to solving a wicked problem is a time-consuming process.
Research over the last two decades has shown the value of computer-assisted argumentation techniques in improving the effectiveness of cross-stakeholder communication. The first is to shift the goal of action on significant problems from "solution" to "intervention.
Problem structuring methods A range of approaches called problem structuring methods PSMs have been developed in operations research since the s to address problems involving complexity, uncertainty and conflict.
PSMs are usually used by a group of people in collaboration rather than by a solitary individual to create a consensus about, or at least to facilitate negotiations about, what needs to change. Some widely adopted PSMs include soft systems methodologythe strategic choice approach, and strategic options development and analysis SODA.
Ackoff wrote about complex problems as messes: I choose to call such a system a mess. Complexity—systems of systems—is among the factors that makes Social Messes so resistant to analysis and, more importantly, to resolution.Problem and Solution Freebie and a new blogger on the blog block.
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Problem Solving Problem Solving is the Capacity and the Ability to Evaluate Information and to Predict Future Outcomes. The Ability to Seek out Logical Solutions to Problems, Calmly and Systematically, without making things worse.
Decision Making - Cause and Effect.
"There are no Problems, only Solutions" Every Problem can be .