One of the biggest dilemmas for me is the social issues that face a country like Australia. This blog’s journey started off with the economic development of rural India and over the years has moved into environmental, climate change and social spheres. Ofcourse, that is because of my evolution and journey in my career and thinking. What Australia faces is a snapshot of problems faced all around the world in developed countries and soon in developing countries. These are beyond economic and environmental issues.
Social issues are what can be called “wicked problems”. According to the Wikipedia, “Wicked problem” is a phrase originally used in social planning
to describe a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because
of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often
difficult to recognize. Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.”
A generalized view of wicked problems from Jeff Conklin:
Seeking to generalize the concept of problem wickedness to areas
other than planning and policy, Conklin identifies the following as
defining characteristics of wicked problems:
- The problem is not understood until after the formulation of a solution.
- Wicked problems have no stopping rule.
- Solutions to wicked problems are not right or wrong.
- Every wicked problem is essentially novel and unique.
- Every solution to a wicked problem is a ‘one shot operation’
- Wicked problems have no given alternative solutions.
These problems are generally not easily solved. And the traditional methods of solving these problems do not work.
One way to do that is through using design thinking, agile techniques, mixing policy with business tools and coming out with a solution process that can take you towards the solution. This solution process is the key. Understanding that solutions are not easily attainable but a dynamic and agile process that can take you towards the solution is the first step in solving these problems.
One of them looks like this.
Another one comes from the The Australian Center of Social Innovation (TACSI) in Adelaide. I am working and learning at the same time with TACSI on the solution process for these issues. TACSI calls it the Radical Redesign approach.
In the end, Social Innovation is the need of the hour. This can benefit a huge number of people to lead better and fulfilling lives. I will be exploring more of this in the coming weeks and months.
How exactly do we define this? TACSI has put together three versions.