Talk:Wicked problem

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Former good article nominee Wicked problem was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
May 10, 2012 Good article nominee Not listed

Additional Approaches and External References[edit]

November 15: added two external links at the end of the list. Not sure I'm the best person to edit the full list as indicated in the note just ahead of the ext ref list. thanks, bob Weberbob 19:07, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

November 13: I've made most of the changes indicated below. need to work on notes, references which I'm presently doing. Thanks Bob —Preceding unsigned comment added by Weberbob (talkcontribs) 20:14, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Greetings. I intend to edit this page to add information relating to the work of Robert E. Horn on Social Messes, and work that Horn and I are doing on using visual language and group collaboration processes that leverage collective intelligence to analyze wicked problems, evaluate alternative strategies for resolving a specific wicked problem, choosing a strategy, and developing a detailed implementation plan.

I also intend to rearrange somewhat the information already on the page without deleting or editing any of the information that presently exists other than the references and links portions at the bottom. Weberbob 15:28, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

InnovationWorks software[edit]

Does anyony agree that this is an appropriate external link: Innovation Works web site. They have developed a free piece of software in association with Massey University and the Institution of Technology and Engineering. The software is designed to support the development of good solutions to "wicked problems". Think this might be helpful. 86.136.126.48 16:04, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Wicked Problems and Operations Research[edit]

"Wicked Problems" and "Social Messes" are well understood concepts in the area of "soft" Operations Research. The whole area of "Problem Structuring Methods" (PSM) was developed to a great extent on the basis of Rittel & Webbers, and Russel Ackoff's, work with these concepts. The article is good enough as it is. It can be improved -- as any article can be improved.

Wicked problems aren't solved, they are made "wickeder" when people try to treat them as tame problems. Using a simplistic example, the bypass round the historic town that was built without prior involvement of the archaeologists means that the ancient Roman temple site that was uncovered during construction now means a costly and time consuming delay while the road is re-routed. 129.230.248.1 18:24, 6 March 2006 (UTC)David Hodgson

I think this article needs a lot better summary and perhaps a couple of examples about what exactly is a "Wicked problem". I tried to study it, but after reading I was still puzzled. Ossiman 10:18, 14 July 2006 (UTC))

Conklin's Definition[edit]

Is the representation of Conklin's "four defining characteristics" accurate, because they're self-redundant.

1) Problem is understood only after solution is formulated. 4) Problem is never solved.

Ergo: wicked problems are never understood.

I'll throw one more at you... `Wicked problems are often "solved" through group efforts.'. The key here is that solved has more than one meaning in this article. Wicked problems can be solved, but because of the problems nature, a final solution cannot be solved. So solving a wicked problem is really damage control. The problem will always exist, but the goal is to find a compromise and try to balance the effects of each solution. `Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-false, but instead better, worse, or good enough.' & `There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem.'--Capi crimm 01:44, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Needs sections[edit]

Take a look at where the table of contents appears (under the ~standard stylesheet anyway) and what's in it: the TOC is at the tail end of all the prose, and the only stuff appearing in it is endmatter. That should be a dead giveaway that this article needs to be re-structured (even just a little bit) into sections. Without sections, the entire article is jammed into the "introductory paragraphs" space.

I'm adding a cleanup tag to this end. Mlibby 18:49, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

This section seems obsolete. Should it be removed or saved somewhere? Karpinski (talk) 11:38, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Example?[edit]

Would, for example, a single male attempting a 'fulfilling' (dating) relationship with a single female be considered a 'Wicked problem?' If so, would an example of how this 'Wicked problem' fits each of the several characteristics be suitable for this article? I.e.

  1. There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem [How does one define 'fulfilling?']
  2. Wicked problems have no stopping rule [could be dependent on definition of 'fulfilling']
  3. Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-false, but good-or-bad[etc.]
  4. There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem [If they get together, will she break up with him? If she breaks up with him (or vice versa), will they ever go out again?]
  5. Every solution to a wicked problem is a "one-shot operation"; because there is no opportunity to learn by trial-and-error, every attempt counts significantly [the period of the male's life during which he is attempting said relationship with said female is said one-shot operation]
  6. 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
  7. Every wicked problem is essentially unique
  8. Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem [unhappiness in being single, for example.]
  9. The existence of a discrepancy representing a wicked problem can be explained in numerous ways. The choice of explanation determines the nature of the problem's resolution
  10. The planner has no right to be wrong (Planners are liable for the consequences of the actions they generate)[etc.]

160.36.119.134 14:32, 17 February 2007 (UTC) {there. I signed my post. Happy?}

New lead[edit]

I've rewritten the lead to define the subject of the article and date its origin. I promoted some descriptive text from below and removed extraneous info about the credentials of Horst Rittel. (Readers can follow the link to his bio.) Hopefully the result is more encyclopedic and less specialist-oriented. It also made sense to define "wicked problems" formally before introducing "related concepts." — ℜob C. alias ᴀʟᴀʀoʙ 18:06, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

The lead definition in the article is inadequate. Solving the structure of DNA is actually a tame problem, but it was extremely difficult. The key characteristic of wicked problems is not their difficulty, but the fact that they do not have single, true-or-false solutions. The definition could be improved by saying that they are problems which are "made difficult" by lack of data, rather than just that they are difficult problems. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jsdec (talkcontribs) 03:53, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

systems theory[edit]

There's a variation on this concept used in systems theory - the wicked problem is a system problem thats root causes are unknown/unclear, and hence a viable systemic solution is hard to produce. For example, the 2008/9 economic crisis, effects:drastic, causes: unclear (depending on who you ask). This is as opposed to a "tame" problem, such as "The bucket is empty", where the you just put more water in the bucket. Would be good to get somethign liek this in the article...--naught101 (talk) 13:36, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

The causes of the 2008/2009 financial crisis are neither unknown nor unclear and seems not to be a wicked problem. AadaamS (talk) 09:15, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

"Wicked Problems" are about Top-Down policy-making[edit]

I skimmed the white-paper linked to on the page, and it seems to me that Rittel and Webber are referring to Wicked Problems as being about the nature of top-down policy-making in a way that excludes bottom-up or grassroots solutions from the problem domain. That is, IMHO, the two implicit questions of Wicked Problems are:

1. Who gets to play God? and 2. With whose money?

If various parties who are concerned with the problem at hand act within their own autonomy, rather than from the autoritative position of (supposedly) detached and objective professionals, then much of the "wickedness" of the problem disappears. In light of this, I'm going to put a link to "Social entrepreneurship" or something like that, as a contrast to the top-down approach that is being outlined as a "problematic solution" here. --TheLastWordSword (talk) 17:58, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Wicked Problems in Software Design[edit]

The article states that "In 1990 DeGrace and Stahl introduced the concept of wicked problems to software development." Yet there is an article "Is software design wicked?" by Peters and Tripp in Datamation Vol 22 Number 5 (May 1976). Credit should be given to this prior reference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.26.136.58 (talk) 01:25, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

ReAdd Global warming/climate change is considered as super wicked problem with reference from Georgetown University Law Center.[edit]

It's absurd, but that appears to be a valid reference; however, it needs more context in this article to make sense, and probably a third party noting that his "Wicked Problem" is the same as ours. It may also violate WP:UNDUE.Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:37, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
Never mind, it fits well there. Please change the reference format to match the other references in the article, which use {{note}}. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:11, 7 April 2011 (UTC)
Are you mentioning this sort of code ... #{{note|1}} ?
The article seems to be using modified Harvard referencing, and you're using a raw URL. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 05:00, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Which is your suggested improved, exactly? 99.181.155.158 (talk) 03:55, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, what? 97.87.29.188 (talk) 22:36, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Redoing the reference format[edit]

I've redone the reference format for the article. It used fixed footnote numbers. At some point editors started manually numbering the footnotes the way you would if you were using a typewriter, not a word processor. See Template:Note. The format made it difficult to maintain and the results got garbled. Clicking on [4] took one to the footnote numbered 21 at the bottom, and two references ended up on their own list.

To make as few changes as possible I

StarryGrandma (talk) 18:14, 10 May 2012 (UTC)