Complex, social-environmental issues can be classified as ‘wicked problems’ because they are incorrigible and hugely challenging for policy makers. Here we re-evaluate what makes problems wicked and assess various theoretical and pragmatic approaches that have been advanced to tackle them.
What defines a wicked problem?
A challenge can be considered a wicked problem if the following criteria are met: The problem has an unknown set of potential consequences. The amount of information available to “solve” the problem is unmeasurable. The problem is difficult to define and frame.
What are examples of wicked environmental problems?
Climate change, biodiversity loss, persisting poverty, the growing obesity epidemic, and food insecurity are all examples of such wicked problems.
Is pollution a wicked problem?
Air pollution, with its impacts on natural systems and on human health, is a challenge that is multi-faceted and highly complex. … This complexity of issues, interactions and receptors makes me think of air pollution as a wicked problem.
Why is wicked a problem?
As described by Rittel and Webber, wicked problems have 10 important characteristics: 1) They do not have a definitive formulation. 2) They do not have a “stopping rule.” In other words, these problems lack an inherent logic that signals when they are solved. 3) Their solutions are not true or false, only good or bad.
Why are wicked problems important?
A problem will change the characteristics when eliminating them, it happens with the causal effect. The more precise characteristics you define, the less impact on the derived problem. Therefore understanding a wicked problem is important to reduce the causal effect.
What type of wicked problem is climate change?
It came into usage in social planning in the late 1960s where it was used to describe problems characterised by uncertainty, indeterminacy, value conflicts, unexpected outcomes, and lack of single solutions. Climate change has been called a wicked problem by behavioural economists and social scientists.
A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems.
Who defined wicked problems?
The term “wicked problem” was first coined by Horst Rittel, design theorist and professor of design methodology at the Ulm School of Design, Germany. In the paper “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning,” he describes ten characteristics of wicked problems: There is no definitive formula for a wicked problem.