Wicked Problems Reflection

As I mentioned in my previous post, at the beginning of this course, my knowledge on wicked problems was very limited. In the past, I had heard of some of the examples of wicked problems and I couldn’t imagine how they could be so complicated. Naively, I remember thinking that there must be a simple solution that will fix all the problems. I now realize that my thoughts were very surface level and these problems run much deeper. After this course, I can confidently say that my knowledge has grown exponentially. From learning the definition of wicked problems itself to the implications and effects that a wicked problem causes, this class has done a great job of informing me of the basics of wicked problems. Though just being informed of wicked problems is wonderful, it is crucial that we treat these problems with compassionate curiosity. Compassionate curiosity is about addressing and treating something with not only our mind, but our heart and body as well. A main goal in this course was to add compassionate curiosity to the understanding of wicked problems. In my previous post, I reflected on this and now that we are at the end of the semester, let’s reflect on it once more!

Beginning with understanding wicked problems through our mind, I believe that I have made some good improvements. As I mentioned in my previous post, understanding a wicked problem is extremely important, but can be complicated at times. It can be complicated because every individual on the planet has their own values, beliefs, and experiences. While this is wonderful and it is what makes humanity so interesting, it can definitely have its challenges when engaging with others. An example of this was in my wicked problems group. In our group, we were addressing the broad problem of global housing issues (later, we narrowed it down) and each one of my team members had a different outlook about the issue. This led us to research about different issues within the problem. Though for the purpose of the project, this was a bit confusing but looking back, it gave us an opportunity to understand each other’s interest in the problem. It also allowed us to feed into our curiosity and learn more about this complicated wicked problem. It was very valuable to see how my teammates were thinking about the problem and how it differed from my own thoughts. I believe in the past, I would have been frustrated with the group if we were not on the same page, but this time I didn’t mind at all. I believe that it was for the better and positively contributed to our infographic.

Moving on to the next way to understand wicked problems is through our heart. Wicked problems can be very intense and through our emotions, it can give us a new perspective on it and help us better understand them. Throughout this course, I have experienced many emotions when discussing some wicked problems. I think this has given me the opportunity to empathize with those who have been affected. I think it has also empowered me to become more invested in the problem. Due to being more invested, it will cause me to be more motivated and want to implement change. I also think that it has allowed me to evaluate the many sides of the wicked problem and understand each side’s perspective. I believe that everyone should have empathy when discussing wicked problems. It can really make a difference. It can bring awareness to what someone is going through and convince people to make change. I think our emotions are one of our greatest assets.

Finally, the last way to understand a wicked problem is through our body. Reflecting from my last post, I think my interpretation of understanding wicked problems somatically was correct. It is just being mindful and having awareness of what is going on around us. I think I have made the most improvement in this category. When I used to think about wicked problems, I would get severe anxiety and just refuse to think about it anymore. Through mindful meditation, I believe I have alleviated some of this anxiety. At the beginning of this course, I was extremely confused as to why we were incorporating mindfulness to wicked problems. In fact, the mindful meditation practices in class were quite difficult for me and due to the environment, they would cause me stress out more. But, individually, my mediation practices were extremely beneficial for me and I would look forward to them. I’m quite an anxious person and these practices really helped me manage my anxiety. I will definitely be continuing to practice them. From my mediation practices, I now understand why mindfulness is incorporated into this course because it allows us to just observe the problem and take it all in. 

Another goal of this course was to develop humble and compassionate responses to wicked problems and I believe that I have made good progress towards this goal. In class, our discussion really gave me an opportunity to work on this goal. Our discussions allowed for many people to participate. It also allowed people to contribute their thoughts and opinions on what we were reading that week. It was really interesting. It made me think about our wicked problems in different ways. This was really beneficial in my progress towards this goal because instead of believing that my thoughts about the wicked problem were the best, I was hearing others thoughts. In addition to this, it allowed me to critically think about the problem. As I mentioned earlier, I used to think that all problems have a simple definite answer, but obviously, this is not the case. I think learning to bring humility and kindness to wicked problems has shown me this. I now believe that the only way that solutions can be found is through collaboration with others.  and I believe that being humble and compassionate can be applied to everything, not just wicked problems. Though I need to develop this skill a bit more, I believe that I will use it for the rest of my life. 

With my experience in this course, I believe that I have a great outlook to create positive change in my circle of influence. This course really gave me the tools and knowledge to look at problems in a completely different way. I think this will be extremely beneficial for me and those around me. When wicked problems come up, I can use my tools from this course to discuss them and inform those around me. Through this course, I have grown a lot, not only as a learner, but as a person. This course has been impactful for me and it has taught me many valuable skills. While I will bring up the skills that I have learned with wicked problems, I will use them in everyday life. In fact, I believe that all people would benefit from using the skills taught in this course. Some of the skills such as practicing mindfulness mediation, using my emotions, listening to others values, perspectives, and experiences will be used in my life and help me exponentially. 

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