Working with Wicked Problems

Once upon a time we did one piece of change at a time, we knew who was involved, who would be affected and we planned it from start to finish. It seems that things are now a little more complicated and we need to rethink how to work with change. ‘Wicked problems’ is one approach to help you think about and work with complex change. Tame problems are likely to be easily defined, have a clear stopping point, and have a limited number of solutions that can be clearly defined. Wicked problems are precisely the opposite. Using a number of different tools we will explore how to tackle wicked problems and become comfortable with their open-ended and complex nature.

Benefits to you

The Wicked Problems workshop will enable you to:

  • Think about your change projects or issues in new ways
  • Build a deeper understanding of different stakeholder perspectives on the issue
  • Map out the issue in order to see the full complexity

What’s involved?

During this session you will be introduced to the concepts underlying Wicked Problems and how these might differ from more traditional strategic planning. We will start by looking at the differences between wicked and tame problems. We will then explore a big and complex issue to get a feel for the approach.

This will allow you to apply a wicked problem approach to something you are dealing with in your work. We will make some mess maps to get a better understanding of the stakeholders involved in your issue. The day will conclude with the development of an action plan.

Before & After

To get the most out of our sessions we ask anyone who is joining us to do a bit of preparation, for Working with Wicked Problems it would be great if you could:

  • Think about a big, current social issue that interests you – it might be the ageing population, rising energy costs, obesity and so on
  • Think about a complex issue or area that you are working in either as an individual or as an organisation that you would like to address in the session

Once you’ve attended an Alchemy workshop we won’t forget you – we will provide a learning area for you to stay in touch. We will also keep refreshing our online resources. You might like to consider our coaching support or a Bite Size follow up session.

Take aways

As part of the course you will be provided with training materials and a goodie bag. Hopefully, you will also leave with some new contacts and positive support for your wicked change plan.