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Wicked problems

Wicked problems are those that are “difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize.” Over the last month I have attended a number of great presentations and the underlying theme in most of them was ‘wicked’.

Take the youth employment situation in Ontario. Ontario sports a higher percentage of unemployed youth than the Canadian average. The fix? If you are the Ontario government it is a $190 million over 2-years. But that only gets us back to the country average. Is it a real fix?

How about Climate Change? A report recommending the US and Canada to move forward on the Keystone XL Pipeline was recently released. It essentially boiled down to any alternative being worse for the environment than to build the pipeline. It is worth noting that ‘doing nothing’ wasn’t one of the alternatives. But, here we have what appears to be a major source of jobs in both Canada and the US. A step in the right direction for our first problem but two steps back in the next.

And what about healthcare and the food systems in Canada? Wicked they remain. We fix one thing and we break something else, and so the domino effect continues. So is there a solution? We will probably never know. But it doesn’t mean we stop trying.

companyBE was started to support stakeholders in projects that produce social good. We do this through a proven model of change that factors in the net-impact of interventions. We also value collaboration. If we are looking to change these complex systems we can’t continue to work in silos we have to work together. We got ourselves into this mess, and together we can find a way out. That is an ‘idea that inspires’.

Corey Norman's picture
Author: Corey Norman
Post Date: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Tagged in:
  • Systems