What Are Wicked Problems?

Wicked problems are a fact of life in the twenty-first century. Put simply, they are c hallenges whose causes and consequences are so inextricably intertwined that they cannot be dealt with separately—or easily.

Some of them are global in scope such as climate change. Others may be more limited in scope but still affect hundreds of millions of people, such as racism, economic inequality, or health care. Still others are more personal as any parent who has tried to raise a child in today’s complex world can attest.

Frankly, whether as a species or as citizens or as family members, we all find that wicked problems are difficult to deal with. While we can never solve most wicked problems once and for all, we created the Wicked Problems Group to help people at least “make a dent” in them by helping you:

  • Understand what wicked problems are like
  • Identify ways to address them
  • Take concrete steps in doing so.

In order to make that happen, wickedproblems.info is different from most web sites of its type. It does include resources you can use to learn more about wicked problems, including a summary of Charles Hauss’s Security 2.0: Addressing Global Wicked Problems, which led us to create this site in the first place.

But our most important goal is to help you take deal with whatever wicked problems affect your life. So, this site has lots of material you can use to learn about wicked problems, including a summary of Hauss’s book and links to other Internet resources.

However, we are more interested in helping you deal with your own wicked problems. Therefore, we also developed the “send us your wicked problem” section of the site which will help you make sense of the problem(s) you face. And, if you are interested, you can send what you come up with to us and we will help you turn what are likely to be sketchy ideas into concrete action steps you can take.

Wickedproblems.info is now—and will always be—a work in progress. Since wicked problems do not ever have definitive answers, this will never be the definitive web site about one for the simple reason that no such website can exist. This site is also currently under construction. If you have questions about it while it is being built, hauss@allianceforpeacebuilding.org.