Just finished a practicum with the Commander’s Design Team for the US STRATCOM (Strategic Command) where another new design team is forming. It is great to work with the leadership of this group because they understand that design and systemics are more than that offered by fads and decoys carrying a label ‘design’. The context is challenging because a traditional military structure is not very amenable to new ways of working—such as designing or systemic designing—which are essential for success in a rapidly changing, complex world. The design projects are also challenging because of the scale and consequences of the STRATCOM mission. Great design challenge!
Horst Rittel is one of the seminal residents in my 'Berkeley Bubble'. Recently a friend and colleague sent me an article about ‘double-wickedproblems’ . I have become ever more aware of the increasing number of references to ‘wicked problems’ in all forms of media that seem to have missed Rittel’s deeper insights . This brought up the concern I have about the use and miss-use of the term ‘wicked problem’. The term ‘wicked problem’, first introduced by Rittel in West Churchman’s seminars at Berkeley, was in reference to his conceptualization of the impossible challenge of dealing with significant social issues using traditional, rational, ‘problem solving’ methods. In most cases what are miss-diangnosed as ‘wicked problems’ are actually complex or complicated problems that can be simplified or broken into smaller 'tame' problems allowing for a straight forward 'problem solving' approach to be taken. This approach is believed by many to be capable