Week 1 Reflections

So I took this course last semester, and unfortunately, I did not pass. It flew by very quickly, and I don’t remember much, but I do remember that by the end of the course, I still felt frustration about wicked problems. To me, it sounded as if there were no real solutions to the problems we discussed, and it was ultimately pointless to even try. So this past Wednesday on our first class, I expected the same. And although we did go over similar topics, my view on wicked problems has slightly changed.
Unlike a tame problem, which has clearer paths to a solutions, a wicked problem is one that has many factors, and therefore makes it too complex to have one easily defined solution. To me, things like the water crisis or overpopulation come to mind as wicked problems.
The 11th Hour is a good documentary to introduce the idea of wicked problems. They really show the urgency in trying to find a solution to all the wicked problems we face, and it makes me as a viewer think about what I can do to help bring change or begin a solution to these problems. I do wish that they had offered more insight on solutions that people are trying to create, but then the problems wouldn’t be so wicked.
The six characteristics of a wicked problem are vague problem definition, variable solutions, no endpoint to solution, solutions posing irreversible effects, unique approaches to solutions, and urgency. Just from looking at the list of criteria, you can tell if a problem is wicked or not. It’s hard to analyze a wicked problem to me because of all these characteristics that must be kept in mind; if you suggest a solution, you have to look at all six sides of the problem and start finding fault in your proposed solution. In the past, I think this why I have strayed away from thinking about solutions to wicked problems- it can feel a bit overwhelming at first.
So for me, this first week was a good reintroduction into wicked problems. In other classes we are always bringing up the topic of sustainability, so to analyze the problems that sustainability is trying to combat gives me a good perspective moving forward in this course.

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