Finding The Best Solution

Going into the DHM 2003 – Problem Solving class, I had a small idea of what was going to be taught. What I was expecting was to learn about the best ways to go about different types of problems and finding the correct and best way to solve the problem. My expectations for this class were to be thrown different scenarios and problems and use different tools to solve the problem in the most efficient way. What I was not expecting this class to teach me about would be how to solve and find different solutions to problems specific to my major. Throughout this class, we were assigned a group with students who had the same major. We were given problems or scenarios related to our major where we would have to come up with innovative ideas to solve them. Needing to use either critical or creative thinking to come up with a solution to best fit the problem as a team was very beneficial in my opinion. This not only allowed us all to practice teamwork but gave us the opportunity to see how others see the problem and hear how they would handle it.

What really stood out to me would be the different graphs that we were taught throughout this course. The fishbone diagram and the GRANT chart are the two sources that I know I will be using often moving forward. The fishbone diagram is the one tool that I have already started using in many of my other classes. Writing down what I need to be fixed and finding different attribute to it allows me to see the full picture and make the best choice on what to do next. The GRANT chart allows me to plan and schedule exactly what I would need to do and helps by staying on track and seeing the full schedule. Both of these tools I have already started using in my other classes, like my Research Methods and Textile courses. Going into the future, I know I will be taking these tools with me. I also enjoyed learning about the difference between empathy and empathetic. 

The CPS activities were assignments where we were teamed up in a group of five student. Here we were given different problems or tasks to perform and use the different tools that we had learned in class. Every two weeks, we would have a new problem where we would have to use different forms of thinking to come up with an innovative solution to solve the problem. The CPS activities allowed our group to work and improve our creative and critical thinking skills. Depending on the problem, we would choose which style of thinking would be the best to find the better outcome. I believe this made me a better problem solver because we were able to work as a team to come up with many different ways to solve the problem and then as a group find the best way to find the best outcome we could. 

For me, watching these TED talks really inspired me throughout this class. Hearing how different types of people come up with innovative ideas to solve a problem. Some of my favorite TED talks that we watched throughout this course would be Neri Oxman, Janet Echelman and Ron Finley. These people inspirer me with their incredible and innovative designs. Neri Oxman is a brilliant woman who speaks about the design at the intersection of technology and biology. Here she talks about changing architects and builders’ mindsets when building and converting their mindset back to nature. Instead of using metal bars to create something, she believes we can use natural elements to grow it with organisms. Her ideas are amazing and creative. Janet Echelman is an artistic woman who went from trying to get into art school to an inventor and artist who creative a sustainable moving sculpture. She found the idea to use old fishermen nets to make a light weight moving sculpture. Later on, she teamed up with a group to find an even lighter way to make big moving sculptures. She managed to make these magnificent pieces of art in an environmentally safe way. Lastly, Ron Finley is a man who plants gardens around southern central LA. Ron Finley talks on a TED talk called “A Guerrilla Gardener in Southern Central LA”. He talks about his idea behind this was to help feed the low income and homeless that live around this area. It is known that this area eats fast food more since it is easily accessed around the city. Ron Finley and volunteers plant fruit and vegetables all over Southern Central LA. Planting on the sidewalks, in parks, anywhere that is on public property so that the people can have easy access. I find this act completely incredible and environmentally helpful. This way not only the community will be able to get healthy foods but also grow the environment. All three of these people created innovative designs to find a sustainable solution for a problem.

I have already started integrating the tools that I learned while being in this course into my other classes. Tools like the fishbone diagram, the GRANT chart is something that not only I have already been using but will also use while going into the future. This allows me to solve problems in a more organized and thought-out way, allowing me to be sure that the solution I will choose will help in more ways than one. The problem-solving tools, I know, will be used for many different classes and even further when I move into the real world. 

I already know that there are going to be many problems that I am going to need to fix in the future, I am only human after all. Not only will I have everyday problems but the industry I am going into has many wicked problems that stem from it. In my opinion, I am now able to find solutions to problems in a more efficient and innovative way now. Throughout this course we were taught how to use certain tools in different scenarios. We were shown how other people used critical and creative thinking to find the best solution to a problem. We also practiced how to solve solutions not only by ourselves but in a group setting, allowing us to see how other think of the situation. I believe I am now fully capable to look at a problem, rationalize it, choose the best course of action, use the correct tools to find the solution and find the best outcome for the problem. 

The left side of the brain and Right side of the brain are very different. It is said that the left side of the brain is known to deal with the mathematics, critical thinking and logic, whereas the right side is known to be more creative, emotional and imaginative. I have always believed that I lean more towards the right side of the brain. Being a design major and liking the arts made me believe that. Even though I may lean more towards that side of the brain, I realize the I the left side of the brain just as much, especially when it comes to problem solving. I also believe that being the way I am, I can bring my own opinions and innovative ideas into a group with different opinions to give them a different outlook. I will embrace using both creative and critical thinking moving forward in being a creative human scientist. 

I have always believed that I am a person someone could come for advice on how to solve a problem. Now, have I always been able to give good, solid advice that always goes right? No, no I have not. But hey, I am only human after all. Though, after taking this course I do believe I am someone who anyone can come to about a problem and I can help review and find the best solution for it. I now have helpful tools that can help me help other people. Because who doesn’t need a little help sometimes? Overall, I hope people not only feel comfortable to come to me and ask for help but know that I will do my best to help solve the problem in the best and innovative way. 

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Ethically Made

I think it can be said that ethics help guide us towards being better people. Unless we intentionally take the small steps to work towards sustainability our future might not turn out for the best. Our values that we have determine our choices and are far more important to focus on when wanting to increase a more sustainable lifestyle. The wicked problem I have been the most interested in is the fashion industry. We are facing plenty of wicked problems around the world, but fast fashion is a major issue that I found interesting with my major, Fashion Design & Production. In approach to solving wicked problems, we have to have unique ideas for solutions and take the small steps daily to make a difference. “In the most ideal sense, ethical fashion benefits those working along the supply chain and creates a better future for everyone-not just for those at the top”. I like this quote because ethical fashion benefits much more than just a company or one person. 

The reading made it clear that not everyone in the world is able to make eco-friendly decisions. An example of this is that people living in poverty have to live the way they do in order to survive by mostly continuing unsustainable practices. The good news is that sustainable development helps reduce poverty. In this class, I have gained a lot of knowledge on how to make better choices that will help work towards a more sustainable future. I did not even know what “wicked problems” were before I got into this class and it has been intriguing. From now on, I plan to be more mindful when it comes to choosing the easier choice or taking a small extra step to be eco-friendly. It will take me being intentional when going shopping and I would like to be able to do what I can to impact our economy in a positive way. Some ways I know I can start doing this is by buying clothes from companies that sell sustainable wear, recycling, and spread what I know to others. I hope that soon there will be a lot of sustainable brands to purchase from. One brand I know that has been practicing sustainability is Patagonia, this company is a global leader in being ethical. “Patagonia rejects fast fashion by creating high-quality, long-lasting products, and offers a repair and reuse program.” This company is one I love purchasing items from, but I like how they will also recognize when customers are buying too much. Purchasing more and more clothes that are even sustainable can be harmful for the economy. This is why it always important to remember less is more. 

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The Future of Wicked Problems

I read the No reading by Leigh K Flecther, which was about building codes. A standard policy that can reduce electricity, limiting carbon since buildings are the largest contributor to electricity consumption. Her goal towards sustainability is to reduce carbon and limit buildings pollution. Reading Flecther’s work made me look at a perspective of climate change from a different viewpoint. Before reading, I didn’t even consider how much pollution current builds produce because I had a delusion that since the building is already built and running, it doesn’t have that much environmental impact as the waste industry or factories producing material goods. From her work, I took away a new perspective and knowledge of building’s environmental impact. Now I find myself unplugging electronics I’m not currently using and putting on jackets before thinking about turning up the heat now.

Today with the technology almost everyone has access to, I don’t see why not to look into wicked problems. The Wicked problems website is easy to use and accessible to understanding the variety of different source lens and perceptions of what is a wicked problem and how it all affects us, instead we know it or not. Before taking this class, I understood the urgency of climate change and the seriousness of how we aren’t living eco-conscious. I blamed myself and held myself accountable for everything, which crushed me. After learning about wicked problems and how intertwined they are, it was like a breath of fresh air. I stopped blaming myself and letting on the weight of the problem lay on me and my inability to fix it independently. A wicked problem is a wicked problem for a reason. I take a team of intelligent people from all backgrounds and cultures to aid one Aspect of a small issue out of the iceberg of wicked environmental problems.

I already limit my trash and plastic products, shop second-hand, and use reusable bags. But new goals going forward with my life is to find new ways to recycle. Recently found the plastic brick method. Taking a big plastic water container and cutting up plastic waste into pieces and packing them tight into the jug until it becomes rock hard, and donating my plastic brick to a company that uses them for repurposing them into building supplies. This will prevent more plastics and microplastics from going to landfills and taking them into a new life. 

 Gjenge Makers is a company founded by Nzambi Matee. Her company turns plastic waste into paving stones. Her bricks are harder than cement bricks creating value and quality materials out of waste. She gets her materials free from packages factories and buys from recyclers. Her company generated 112 job opportunities for garage collectors, which they hire women and youth. Her company is a pathway to solving wicked problems and making the most out of the sources we got. 

My sustainability journey plans are to keep looking for daily habits that can change, make the most out of what I have, and make sure the waste I create can continuously evolve and find a better place to end up. I also want to incorporate sustainable practices in my future carrier and incorporate bio-design in my practices as a future commercial interior designer.

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Government: Friend or Foe

Government intervention to encourage sustainable design efforts may be necessary and beneficial for forwarding our environmental conscientiousness. Although the free market is helpful for some of our societal issues, the government—whose responsibility is to protect the people— has the unique ability to standardize conservation strategies and provides benefits for efforts to do so. One of the ways the government can help to protect us—the people—is through the protection of the environment; the challenge to this for the free market is the high upfront costs associated with these changes. Because of the difficulty in encouraging businesses to create “green” buildings and process, programs such as LEED have been on the rise to provide incentives for corporations who choose the more environmentally friendly options. LEED and similar programs provide a compromise between government mandate and allowing the economy to aimlessly wander to the side of intergenerational responsibility. Evaluating the environmental friendliness of a building based on set criteria, LEED certifies the benefit of a building in a tiered system, with higher levels of responsibility in design achieving higher tiers, which allows small businesses to achieve these benchmarks at their own pace without ruining them. Government mandates, such as those on the minimum wage tend to harm small ma-and-pop shops that have a small, community-centered reach in favor of larger corporations.

The Wicked Problems website seems to have some interesting information regarding the state of our world. One particularly fascinating article was titled “A Large-Scale Distraction” focusing on the limits industry puts on innovation. Due to a variety of reasons, products are released based on economic efficiency, not available technology. This is another example of power and money holding us hostage as a society. Although it makes economical sense for some businesses to incorporate this system, it hinders our growth, and leaves us stagnant.  “Updated” products use cookie cutter aspects of the previous year in order to cut corners in the production phase, thus creating an increase in consumer activity.  By updating the product as often as possible, consumers feel the need to keep up to date, which increases transactions and the pocket size of large corporations, fostering economic irresponsibility because of the increased materials used in production.

Current State Analysis provides a framework for problems to be identified. This is significant for those in the business of wicked problems because one of the key factors of a wicked problem is the fact that they are so difficult to define. This form of analysis helps to define the degree of a problem, its causes and the potential effects. However, it also seems to create paralysis by analysis. Even though it is only an analysis framework, it does not seem to encourage action, instead it highlights an endless cycle of debate and research without any application.

Adobe, the computer software giant has pledged to carbon neutrality by the year 2035. The significance of this statement to the world is that Adobe is not a small startup, but a Fortune 500 company, which suggest that it is possible for big business to turn to environmentally responsible practices. In order to aid them in this process, Adobe is utilizing the strategy of energy measurement to pinpoint the locations that it can best improve their harmful output. They also address the paradox of a growing business reaching for a minimal carbon footprint by combining existing environmental strategies with cutting edge research.

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Act Now Before it is too Late

Throughout the “YES” reading of Green Economics: How We Can Afford to Tackle Climate Change the author, Paul Krugman, explains that it is time society starts paying attention to climate scientist that have evidence proving that our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are leading to rise in global temperatures. He explains that if we don’t take action now then we could face events that are short of an apocalypse. Krugman shares Authur Cecil Pigou’s story where he placed prices on the emissions of coal being burned to clear the London fog. His plan was successful and Krugman suggested that we put a price on carbon emissions to stop climate change. This way the creation of the harmful emissions would be limited. 

Before I took this class I had never heard of the term “wicked problem.” Many of the problems the world is facing today are wicked, and not everyone realizes this. That’s why The Wicked problems website can help keep everyone in the loop about these wicked problems the world is facing since it concerns them. I think it would be beneficial for anyone to take time and review what the website has to offer so they can have a better understanding of what is really happening in the world. This class has also opened my eyes to how my actions have been affecting the earth. I have started to use recyclable things in my kitchen and stop buying paper utensils, plates, and bringing my own bags to the grocery store to reduce waste. I have also started shopping more sustainable by buying clothes from thrift stores and not buying from fast fashion brands. I have also learned that I do not need to buy into fashion trends but instead buy statement pieces that will last me longer and be in style longer so I’m not getting rid of as many clothes.

The company Saitex is a Vietnam based denim manufacturer that plans to open their first U.S. operation in LA. They have American clients, including Target, Everlane, J. Crew, and more. Their production process uses clean, renewable energy, solar thermal, and water recycling that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels. Saitex is favorably impacting the environmental challenges we are facing globally. They are also economically helping themselves and the brands they produce by reaching customers who support the sustainability movement.​ Their brand is helping fight against fast fashion brands whose production is harming our environment.

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More Change Less Talk

Regardless of the various opinions on how it is done, it is clear that businesses need to prioritize sustainability within their companies a lot more than they are currently. The last reading we read titled “Green Economics: How Can We Afford to Tackle Climate Change” discusses just that. It covers the various ideas like “market-based research” and “cap-and-trade” and the debate between them. In my opinion, the main goal is that something needs to change soon in order to handle climate change. It seems sometimes that people like to just sit around and talk about ways it can be done and not actually act on any of those ideas. The wicked problems website shows the damage these various problems are doing and helps prove even more that all of us need to incorporate so sort of change into our lives. It showed me in more depth about these different wicked problems and I now know more than I do previously. Knowledge is valuable, but it is what you do with the knowledge given that makes a change. Things like the current state and only analyzing future scenarios can only be good for so long, and it is past that point of only analyzing. It is time for us all to act and try to improve our current situation. Everyday people need to make a conscious effort to improve severe wicked problems. One company that I found on social media called “Unprint” is a perfect example of what large companies should learn from. The concept is that the creator takes thrifted items and screen prints trendy designs on them. They also use eco-friendly packaging for their shipments. Larger corporations should take tips from businesses like these. For example, the retail company I used to work for would send in new clothes with a majority of shirts and pants individually wrapped in plastic. Even though it is possible because they did it randomly on occasion, they would wrap whole runs of clothes in one plastic bag. The amount of plastic that was wasted just from one box of clothes was insane. This is just one place where this chain retail store and hundreds of others struggle at. Personally, learning more about the wicked problems that our world has, has encouraged me to change my actions more. I already thrifted clothes but I still spent money on unethical fast-fashion businesses. I also have started to keep my scraps from clothing alterations and repurpose them. Buying products like reusable makeup cloths instead of makeup wipes are also changes I made in order to try to be more sustainable. All in all, everyone from me to the large corporations has ways we can improve our carbon footprint and help tackle wicked problems.

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Big Businesses Should be Leading the Way for Environmental Change

A wicked problem is that is very difficult and near impossible to solve, these problems are often difficult to recognize and there be many areas to the root of the actual problem. People tackle wicked problems from the use of design. There are multiple ways to tackle climate change, but we have to act quickly and efficiently. Although it looks like we are not going in that direction, not until it’s too late. Part of the question of how to tackle climate change is whether the government or the market should be making regulations, or if either should be making regulations at all. I believe both should be stepping in to prevent climate change. The government is supposed to be in service of the people. But it seems that the government is in service of the market on taxpayers’ money. I say this because big corporations and businesses have been paying politicians, and in return, corporations can get away with doing pretty much anything at the expense of our environment. Instead, our government should be putting pressure on the market to stop polluting our environment by passing legislation. Government action is not easy to do, especially when conservatives do not like it when the government gets involved. Even some conservatives don’t think climate change is something to worry about, despite what the majority of scientists say.

This doesn’t mean that some companies aren’t playing a part in slowing down the process of climate change. The United Nations created the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is supposed to end poverty, end inequality, as well as tackle climate change. Brands that have not caught onto this act might not survive in fifty years. 

Patagonia is one of the few companies leading the way for climate change. Their clothing is made out of organic cloth, mixed with recycled fibers such as polyester, wool, and nylon. Patagonia gives 1% of its sales to the restoration and preservation of the natural environment. It is considered a certified “B Corporation”. Meaning theyre required by law to consider the decisions theyre making and the impact they will cause on their customers, workers, and suppliers. As well as the community and the environment.

I have zero interest in one day creating a business that is doing more harm than good in the world. Of course, I will make small changes in my personal life, like using less term products such as ziplock bags. But I would love to create a business that donates a percentage of its profits for the betterment of the planet.

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Becoming the change for the environment

This past week we read “Is Poverty Responsible for Global Environmental Degradation?”. For this article I was assigned to read the NO section. My overall takeaway from this article was the amount of pollution that is given off due to excessive amounts of energy consumption. Climate change is expanding due to global warming and greenhouse gases. The environmental problems we face today will become an even larger issue if we consume too much energy. Taxes on toxic waste have been set in place in an attempt to reduce pollution, but environmentalists disagree with money as a punishment. The environment we live in today needs to be protected from these harmful gases that are released from buildings, and construction waste. In order to be sustainable, we must find solutions to better our economy and help the earth from climate change. 

After visiting the Wicked Problems website, I have learned that Wicked Problems are faced all over the world. The website enlarges the topic of Wicked Problems outside of my recent research. It focuses on the economy and workforce as well. I have been educated on the characteristics of these complicated issues, and have learned that these problems affect everyone. There is no denying that there is no definite solution to a wicked problem.

In order to try and solve a wicked problem you must think of all the differences and problems that might occur. This leads to almost an impossible solution. Perceiving these problems and educating on the topic could reduce repetition of problems and could prevent future ones from occurring. To be sustainable and make a positive impact on the future, we must develop different strategies and perspectives on wicked problems. 

Brands such as Beyond Meat use plant-based meat to illustrate a plant based diet. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, livestock accounts for 14.5 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity. To reduce the environmental impact meat has on the world, we must avoid dairy and meat productions which produce pollution and other economic issues. Food and climate change lay hand in hand, so we must be aware of what we put into our bodies and what harmful gasses that the manufacturing process gives off. 

Overall, I have learned a lot about wicked problems and how to be sustainable. Before this class, I was unaware of energy consumption and the environmental impact from pollution. From now on, I will be more sustainable and more aware of what is bad for the environment. I will focus on impacting the economy in a positive way by up-cycling, recycling, and educating others on these issues.

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Hands On Sustainability

Over the past week we read an article called “Does the Market Work Better Than Government at Transitioning to Sustainability?” by Paul Krugman and Leigh K. Fletcher. This article is a debate between these two people on opposing sides. One side would be Paul Krugman where he believes that the market did do the better job at transitioning to sustainability rather than the government. Krugman states the history behind both the market based as well as the common and control approaches in environmental economics. The other side was an article written by Leigh K. Fletcher, where she believed that the government did a better job at transitioning to sustainability. This week reading, we were split into two groups where we read either more on Paul Krugman’s side of the article or on Leigh K. Fletcher’s side. Who I focused on reading more into would be Paul Krugman’s side of the article. Throughout the article, Krugman made some excellent points on how the Market made more of an impact when transitioning over to sustainability. For instance, the market created the Clean Air Act. This amendment was to rectify the problem of acid rain which came from the midwestern power plants that were fueled by coal. After reading through his side of the article, I think I would have to agree that the market too more of a stand and better transition into a sustainable system. 

I did not know about the wicked problem between the government and market transitioning into sustainability until reading through “Does the Market Work Better Than Government at Transitioning to Sustainability?” article. It made me come to the realization that there are some wicked problems that have not been brought to light enough, wicked problems that people have a blind eye to. During this past week’s lecture in my course Wicked Problems, we were told about a website called In this website, not only does it give you the definition of what a wicked problem is and explains how this affects the world, it also brings to light many other wicked problems that have been haunting the world and that we need to start to act to solve. There are videos explaining different areas of wicked problems and even has an area where you can donate to help move towards a more sustainable solution to help fix the world. I found this absolutely incredible that people everyday come here to help move our world in the right direction. This makes me want to help in any way I can. Companies like Patagonia, Toms and Pura Vida are all sustainable brands who give back in a certain way. I have always had a love for the Toms program. Tom’s mission was when you buy a shoe you give a shoe. There are other collections that give money to helping clean up a certain part of the country or helping give clean water to communities who don’t have it. I aspire to work for someone who has this type of hands-on program. 

At the beginning of this semester, we were asked how we would continue our sustainable journey. I have always had a love for sustainable fashion. I hope that in the future I can work under different sustainable brands. Then after I have gained knowledge with how they help the world and I hope to one day own my own brand where I can have a giveback system involved. I have always been more of a hands-on type person. I have done little missions where I have helped clean up the cities or beaches, so I would want to be hands on in my own company as well. Overall, I know I will continue down my sustainability and solving wicked problems journey full force going into the future.

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Building and Thinking Green

What would you change if you were told you’re responsible for up to 65% of the world’s energy usage? According to this week’s reading, architects have plenty of explaining to do. “Does the Market Work Better than Government at Transitioning to Sustainability?” addresses the roles that consumerism and regulation play in society’s obligation to conservation, and after reading it for myself it’s become clear that the free market is driven by individual interest rather than the betterment of the whole. While this makes a weaker stance against resource consumption than simply limiting it at a governmental scale, it’s clear also that market interest has a large influence over these regulations. In order for this balance to be maintained, the two must be able to promote one another. 

Since buildings are the largest contributor to electricity consumption, one would expect to see much more regulation when it comes to sustainable building design. Reading this week’s article, I was surprised to find that there is no single standard for a green building.  In order for the demand of green buildings to rise, I think the standard for them should be clear to their investors. I would love to see a day when the market is a driving force behind conservation oriented regulations, and I think that architecture is a great place to start. Emphasizing the energy and cost efficient benefits that green buildings have to offer will begin to increase the demand for them, thus provoking an expansion in the minds of consumers to explore other ways they can promote sustainability outside of the buildings they exist within. This week’s reading made it clear though that this won’t happen without better regulation and standardizing for these sustainable practices. It’s great to see this movement among firms toward a green future, and to see so many corporations create sustainable incentives and awards for projects. The LEED organization, for example, is a leading force in distinguishing green projects; they organize countless awards and programs to promote sustainable architecture, and it’s already making waves in the design community. I think that as this organization grows in size and popularity, consumers and investors will take notice and begin their own research into the makings of these buildings. As LEED certified buildings grow in numbers, the public will have no choice but to develop a certain taste for a mindfully designed space, and I’m excited to see the impacts it has in the future as more and more of them come into being. 

As for my investigative report, this is something I’m extremely excited to dig deeper into. It’s clearly a delicate balance between the free market and government standards, and I’m excited to gain more of an understanding between how they operate together because it’s already abundantly clear that they have definite influence over each other. 

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