Solving Wicked Problems

Solving Wicked Problems-63
Small wonder “complex problem solving” is listed by the World Economic Forum as the top workforce skill for 2020—as it was for 2015.

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Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ‘expanded the table’ in the early days of the first outbreaks.

Against all advice—and blistering public criticism-- he pushed to include AIDS patients in a collaborative effort to develop treatments.

And missteps can actually aggravate the problem.” Listening to Kate, I heard six winning practices.

“Because wicked problems affect multiple stakeholders, all constituencies must be represented—authentically—in the process.

But a few behaviors are still best in class.” “Be clear,” she cautioned, “leaders can do everything right and the problem still may not get solved.

But if they don’t think and act in a few particular ways, chances of progress will be slim.Great leaders see challenges in system terms—and do homework to get the right people involved, with the right perspectives represented: doing stakeholder analysis, understanding dependencies, key interests, etc.The big mistake is thinking you can make faster progress by just 'working small.' Those left out won’t contribute their valuable knowledge, and may even sabotage the solution.” “Thus the example of AIDS: Dr.“The history of AIDS illustrates the evolving science of tackling hyper-difficult and complicated problems—so-called ‘wicked problems.’ ‘Wicked’ means hard to diagnose and involving multiple stakeholders and domains.Such problems are also relentless: solutions are temporary, as issues keep morphing into new problems.” Wicked Spreading I interrupted: “Can we say then that more problems business leaders face today are 'wicked' too? “Well, to a point—there are plenty of well-bounded, short-term issues that don’t need large-scale collaborative solutions.  The winning role is facilitating the best answer to emerge, collaboratively, from all relevant stakeholders.” “Trust is the social lubricant.Great problem-solving leaders build that in many ways—making agendas transparent, fostering relationships among stakeholders (‘offline’ and one-on-one, as well as during group sessions), developing behavioral guidelines for workshops, acting with personal integrity, employing third-party facilitators, etc.” “The MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation has created a multi-stakeholder partnership (NEWDIGS) to improve drug innovation, to get new (and safer) treatments to patients faster. Gigi Hirsch, a trained psychiatrist, is skilled in building bridges across diverse members: researchers, payer organizations, patient groups, clinicians, regulators, and pharmaceutical representatives.” “In its early days, she invited company members to present live case studies of promising new drugs, for feedback from other stakeholders.To learn more or modify/prevent the use of cookies, see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.By prophesy, the kingship of ancient Asia was promised to the solver of a legendary dilemma.Continuing Knotty Problems Business leaders lack such brisk solutions for their problems today.Global competition, networks, and stakeholder empowerment are transforming former manageable, bounded challenges into endless Gordian knots.


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