Wicked Problem

Topics: Problem solving, Horst Rittel, Wicked problem Pages: 3 (806 words) Published: January 5, 2011
“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.” --Laurence J. Peter

In my understanding, a wicked problem is one for which every attempt to create a solution changes our perspective of the problem. Thus, these problems cannot be solved with ‘the thinking, tools and methods’ we use to solve simpler problems. To solve such wicked problems we need a systematic approach that includes creative brainstorming. Using the ‘Design Thinking’ approach can help craft the path that would lead to a sensible solution.

Horst Rittel, the man who coined the term ‘wicked problem’ said wicked problems are distinguished by the following characteristics: * You don’t understand the problem until you have developed a solution. * Wicked problems have no stopping rule

* Solutions to wicked problems are not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ * Every wicked problem is essentially unique and novel
* Every solution to a wicked problem is a ‘one-shot operation’ * Wicked problems have no given alternative solutions
The fight against Terrorism is a wicked problem. The more we try to fight it, the more solutions we try to find there is always a new scenario that requires us to change our angle of thoughts. When terrorism first began people assumed it was a fight against freedom and democracy. Later we thought that the terrorists themselves are some sort of freedom fighters trying to liberate our thoughts. The range of opinions and points of view about dealing with terrorism makes it a wicked problem. There is a lot we can do, and there is a lot we have done; but nothing ever seems to have changed. For example, the Constitution of the United States of America clearly disagrees to negotiations with terrorists. This amendment was set in place to discourage terrorists from leveraging the government to give into their demands. But this never discouraged terrorist attacks on US soil? The question every country spends...
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