Challenges in Wicked Problem Territory
522 pp., 7 x 10 in, 32 b&w illus.
- Published: November 14, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
A new approach to addressing the contemporary world's most difficult challenges, such as climate change and poverty.
Conflicts over “the problem” and “the solution” plague the modern world and land problem solvers in what has been called “wicked problem territory”—a social space with high levels of conflict over problems and solutions. In Design Strategy, Nancy C. Roberts proposes design as a strategy of problem solving to close the gap between an existing state and a desired state. Utilizing this approach, designers and change agents are better able to minimize self-defeating conflicts over problems and solutions, break the logjam of opposition, and avoid the traps that lock problem solvers into a never-ending cycle of conflict.
Design as a field continues to grow and evolve, but Design Strategy focuses on three levels of design where wicked problems tend to lurk—strategic design (of private and public organizations), systemic design (of networked and overlapping economic, technical, political, and social subsystems), and regenerative design (of life-giving realignment between humanity and nature). Within this framework, Roberts presents refreshingly interdisciplinary case studies that integrate theory and practice across diverse fields to guide professionals in any domain—from business and nonprofit organizations to educational and healthcare systems—and finally offers hope that humanity can tackle the existential challenges we face in the twenty-first century.
“Design Strategy offers a well-written, forward-looking synthesis of what change strategists need to know to work more effectively. Read this book if you hope to make the world and its organizations better. You won't be sorry!”
Sandra Waddock, Galligan Chair of Strategy, Carroll School of Management, Boston College; author of Catalyzing Transformation
“The power of Design Strategy is that it is born of real-world cases. Scholars and practitioners interested in the strategic role of design in understanding and addressing intractable, complex, networked situations will find it invaluable.”
Mark Bailey, Head of Design Research & Knowledge Exchange, Northumbria University, United Kingdom