24 November 2009

Is Your Problem Tame or Wicked?

Excerpt from The Right Mind e-letter, November 2009

'This intriguing way of defining the problems we have gives us a novel and perhaps less threatening way of looking at the issues we have to deal with. Lets look at two problems:

Heart surgery is a tame problem. Perhaps surprisingly to some: heart surgery is complicated but it has clearly defined processes for solving.

Our carbon management is a wicked problem because the problem is complex rather than complicated, we don't know when a solution will emerge, and perhaps most importantly, there is no right answer apparent.

Tame problems are well in the domain of managers - they organise what has to be done and the process is very rational.

Wicked problems require leaders who can draw on both the rational and the emotional sides of their teams or, in the case of community issues, the larger stakeholder group.'

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