> Nelson provided a summary of the wicked problem's characteristics similar
> to the one provided by Moody Ahmad in LO2359 but with enough differences
> to warrant citing Nelson's list. To wit . . .
> 1. Cannot be exhaustively formulated.
> 2. Every formulation is a statement of a solution.
> 3. No rule for knowing when to stop.
> 4. No true or false.
> 5. No exhaustive list of operations.
> 6. Many explanation for the same problem.
> 7. Every problem is a symptom of another problem.
> 8. No immediate or ultimate test.
> 9. One-shot solutions (no second tries).
> 10. Every problem is essentially unique.
In my reading, I believe that #9 means that you can't implement
a solution without affecting the problem, thereby producing
a new "wicked problem," should that solution not work. That
makes the "wicked problem" a moving target, shifting with each
imposed solution into a new problem.
#10 has dire consequences for the Learning Organization;
to the extent it's true, the LO can't hope to apply an
old solution to a new problem, although it can hope to
acquire progressively richer skills at addressing and
solving (or moving toward solution) "Wicked problems."
Mr Nichols go on to say:
> So much for the citation; now for the comment.
> I don't believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny, and
> I also don't believe in "Wicked Problems."
You may's well not believe in sunrises, trees and air, while
you're at it, for the occurrence of "wicked problems" is as
> It strikes me that solving problems hinges first on defining the results
> to be achieved (i.e., specifying the so-called "solved state"), and second
> on identifying the structure of the problem situation (i.e., the set of
> variables, their connections, and relationships that must be manipulated
> so as to bring about the desired results). Failure to do either of these
> will certainly result in "wicked problems."
Yes, but the point is there are some problems for which "solved
state" involves inherent contradications, for which the structure
is unknowable, and for which all the "variables, their connections,
and relationships" are indeterminate. These certainly *are* the
"wicked problems." And, yes, Virginia, they exist in the hearts
of men and women everywhere.
> I hope everyone finds this useful, even if not to their liking.
I sincerely would love to see your solutions for the following
problems, which I consider "wicked," and for which our current
world seems to be seeking solution. In fact, I'd be happy if
you can completely specify the "solved state" for them that will
satisfy all legitimate constituents in the relevant population:
1. A common core of laws for all nations sufficiently broad to
facilitate commerce and protect individuals.
2. World hunger.
3. Choosing the right operating system(s) for a large corporation.
4. ...(Need I go on?)
I am reminded of the definition of a Pareto Optimization:
It is an optimization that, once made, leaves no one any
worse off than they were before that optimization.
And, of course, it is followed immediately by Pareto's Conjecture:
"There's no such thing as a Pareto Optimization."
(Which is tantamount to TANSTAAFL.)
-- Carol Anne Ogdin "If we fixed a hangnail the way our Deep Woods Technology, Inc. government fixed the economy, we'd CAOgdin @ DeepWoods.com slam a car door on it." --Cullen Hightower