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  • Wicked Problems Collaborative

    Books are good food


  • Wicked Problems Collaborative

    The Wicked Problems Collaborative is an experiment that looks to improve public discourse around wicked problems (Things like climate change, inequality, poverty, species extinction, ocean acidification, etc.) through the promotion of new, divergent lines of thinking. The goal isn’t to obtain agreement but to evolve our collective thinking towards more nuanced, generative perspectives that can help drive positive change.

  • Our Publisher

    Chris Oestereich founded the Wicked Problems Collaborative as an outlet for his frustration with the general lack of progress on humanity's big issues. He’s pessimistic about our current trajectory, but wildly optimistic about the future we could create if we ever choose to.


    Chris has worked in a variety of roles and sectors, including business, academia, and civil society. He is a co-founder of the Circular Design Lab, an open innovation platform that focuses on prototyping and delivering solutions to the sorts of challenges he writes about. Chris is also developing a waste-to-value program that will work directly with informal waste collectors to improve their incomes by making socially valuable products. He also greatly enjoys teaching courses related to social innovation and advocacy in the social enterprise program at Thammasat University’s School of Global Studies.

  • About wicked problems

    Defining the indefinable

    What's a wicked problem?

    (This section is a work in progress...)

    The concept of wicked problems has been around for quite a while. Horst Rittel & Melvin Webber wrote an article on the topic in 1973. Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning decried the prevailing approach to dealing with complex issues. As they put it, "The professional's job was once seen as solving an assortment of problems that appeared to be definable, understandable and consensual. He was hired to eliminate those conditions that predominant opinion judged undesirable."


    That approach worked well enough with relatively straightforward challenges, but they found that "mimicking the cognitive style of science and the occupational style of engineering-have just not worked on a wide array of social problems."







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