What are wicked problems?
Complex problems are commonly known as "wicked problems" in the social purpose sector. Wicked problems are hard to resolve as each takes place within a unique context and has many interconnected root causes. Examples of wicked problems include: place-based disadvantage, climate change, poverty, ageing populations and obesity.
Wicked problems are therefore unable to be successfully tackled with traditional linear, analytical approaches, where individual initiatives focus on only one root cause, or by replicating initiatives that have been developed in other contexts.
To address wicked problems, changemakers need tools that focus on:
Our approach to addressing wicked problems
Wicked Lab's online Tool for Systemic Change assists changemakers to address wicked problems by bringing these elements together.
Our tool tackles the multi-causality and interdependencies of complex problems head on through nine Focus Areas. It supports entire community systems to re-combine existing organisations and resources in a manner that improves system functioning and collective effort, and it takes into account the role of government in enabling systemic community change.
To assist changemakers to understand and use Wicked Lab's Tool for Systemic Change we offer a Complex Systems Leadership Program which explains the theory that underpins our Tool for Systemic Change and provides participants with an opportunity to use our tool to address a wicked problem in their community. It consists of three units:
Unit 1: Understanding Wicked Problems
Unit 2: Tackling Wicked Problems by Building Adaptive Communities
Unit 3: Tackling Wicked Problems by Strengthening the Government-Community Interface