Wicked Problems

You too can create brilliant solutions to make the world a better place.  You can help ease problems like climate change because, as entrepreneurs, you recognize opportunities where others see chaos or confusion. You could well be the saviors of our planet and reap commercial success at the same time.  Click on these links and see these entrepreneurs scored ‘world hacks’ solving wicked problems using design thinking. This is part of entreVersity’s emphasis on how Design entrepreneurship combines science, culture, and values .

A wicked problem is an economic, environmental, social, or political problem that is difficult or impossible to solve.  World Hacks is a BBC programme that takes on wicked problems and looks at how they can be solved.  Below you will see a few of the ‘pains’ or problems that people have.  Brainstorm some solutions to each problem.  When you have 2-3 solutions, then click on the link and see what really happened.  For more information see [i]

Cutting Cow Farts to Combat Climate Change: Methane emissions from the burps and farts of livestock accounts for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By using very simple techniques to transform the way they manage their soil and animals, dairy farmers are helping their cows emit less methane per liter of milk they produce. And it’s all being paid for by big polluters.

Respect My Remittances: Remittances are the billions of dollars sent home every year by overseas migrant workers.  But far from home, many workers fear their families are not spending their money in the right way.  What are some solutions for giving overseas earners more control over how their hard-earned cash is being used?

Turning Goats into Water: Fariel is an energy consultant from the US.  When she returned for a visit to her village in Pakistan, she saw the pain that the women have to go long distance to get water.  They lack cash to pump the water below the village and to pay for the electricity.  No cash and no water, but they had heaps of goats.  How could the villagers turn the goats into water?  See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p052cpx5

Solving the food waste problem: Selina’s pain is food waste.  Between a third and a half of the world’s food thrown away and ends up in the landfill and produces dangerous greenhouse gasses which contribute to climate change.  Selina has become Denmark’s food waste vigilante.  Her solution has to do with how supermarkets sell food in the first place.  What was her solution?

Lend me your eyes:  How smartphones became sight for the blind.  : Imagine how bad Irma felt when she couldn’t even read the Pregnancy Tester because she is blind.  A smart entrepreneur has come up with a crowd-sourcing technique so that blind people can see.  How could he help blind people solve everyday problems by combining smartphones video technology and an army of micro-volunteers? See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04tq5w2

How movie theatres could welcome noisy audiences.: Imagine the pain of people with Tourette’s system in going to the movies because they have involuntary tics like coughing, fidgetiness, throat clearing, sniffing, and facial movements.  Performer and activist Jess Thom believes theaters should be more welcoming of people who do not follow the regular rules of theater etiquette.  How did she create a ‘Relaxed Venue’ to attract audiences with the support of theater owners?

Crowdsourcing ambulances: In a life-threatening situation, the first urge is to call an ambulance.  What if you country does not have enough or any ambulances in poor communities?  How could mobile phones together with crowdsourced volunteers create a medical emergency network in isolated communities?  See also http://www.bbc.com/news/av/magazine-39749903/uber-for-ambulances-a-new-type-of-emergency-rescue

Potholes and plastics: It all started in Toby’s daughter’s primary school when the teacher asked what lives in the oceans.  The daughter said ‘Plastics, miss’.  So dad, whose daily commute included huge potholes, started thinking, How could we solve two of the world’s worst problems in one stroke?  The poor quality of roads we drive on and the waste plastic epidemic. 


[i] More references on wicked problems in design thinking: Respect My Remittances, People Fixing the World – BBC World Service.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04knmlw Turning Goats into Water, People Fixing the World – BBC World Service.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p052cpx5; BBC News.  (2017). Turning goats into water: A solution for the desert – BBC News.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0zA3n4XzK8; Denmark’s Food Waste Vigilante, People Fixing the World – BBC World Service.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04t9ps4: How smartphones became ‘eyes’ for the blind, World Hacks – BBC World Service.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04tq5w2; Lend Me Your Eyes, People Fixing the World – BBC World Service.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04rsmmr; Why theatres should welcome noisy audiences, World Hacks – BBC World Service.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04ktkbq Getting Help in Emergencies in Super-Quick Time, World Hacks – BBC World Service.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p051pnk5; ‘Uber for ambulances’ – A new type of emergency rescue.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/av/magazine-39749903/uber-for-ambulances-a-new-type-of-emergency-rescue; Could plastic roads help save the planet?, World Hacks – BBC World Service.  (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p050z42h

Follow me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
entreVersity | DesignEntrepreneurship | Lean Start-up

Re-imagining education for entrepreneurs through design-based mind-sets and methods.

close

Enjoy this blog? Help spread the word :-)

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright Howard Frederick articles are all timestamped and protected by Blockchain.