Versatilism and Wicked Problems

The world is full of wicked problems. As stated previously a wicked problem is one that is:

  • Unique
  • Difficult to define
  • Linked to other problems
  • Not always clear when its been solved

Some wicked problems can benefit from the reasoned application of information technology to help in solving them. Solving wicked problems needs an innovative approach and the use of design thinking. A versatilist is someone who knows how to apply design thinking and can orchestrate the skills of multiple disciplines in solving wicked problems. A versatilist is also someone who:

  • Applies both left (logical) and right (artistic) brain thinking to the problem.
  • Uses rapid prototyping to test out solutions.
  • Understands that everything is connected to everything else and that sometimes solving one problem results in many more.
  • Is not afraid to disrupt the status quo and risk ridicule from his peers.
  • Is not afraid to propose a solution to a problem before the problem is completely understood.
  • Iterates (maybe many times) rather than expecting to arrive at a solution following a (simple-minded) analysis of the problem.

The world needs more versatilists if we are to solve the truly wicked problems. Solving wicked problems is one of the things we must do if we are to build a Smarter Planet.

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