Wicked signs (Aukje Dekker/Flickr)

What is a wicked problem?

Reda Sadki Innovation, Quotes

In 1973, Horst W.J. Rittel and Melvin M. Webber, two Berkeley professors, published an article in Policy Sciences introducing the notion of “wicked” social problems. The article, “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” named 10 properties that distinguished wicked problems from hard but ordinary problems. There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem. It’s not possible to write a well-defined statement of the problem, as can be done with an ordinary problem. Wicked problems have no stopping rule. You can tell when you’ve reached a solution with an ordinary problem. With a wicked problem, the search for solutions never stops. Solutions to wicked problems are not true or false, but good or bad. Ordinary problems have solutions that can be objectively evaluated as right or wrong. Choosing a solution to a wicked problem is largely a matter of judgment. There is no immediate and no ultimate test of …

MAVEN Atlas V Launch

A question of such immense and worldwide importance

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

Scale: Predictions over the impact of climate change and globalization suggest that we will see more frequent disasters in a greater number of countries, along with more civil unrest in those states less able to cope with this rapidly changing environment, all generating a greater demand for humanitarian and development assistance (cf. Walker, P., Russ, C., 2012. Fit for purpose: the role of modern professionalism in evolving the humanitarian endeavour. International Review of the Red Cross 93, 1193–1210.) Complexity: The world’s problems are characterized by volatility, uncertainty, and complexity in a knowledge society. The industry to tackle these growing challenges has expanded rapidly to become increasingly professionalized, with a concentrated number of global players increasingly focused on the professionalization of more than 600,000 paid aid workers and over 17 million volunteers active worldwide in UN agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and the main international non governmental organizations (INGOs). …