Obstacles is the many challenges and confrontations that normally accompany change that often - to a greater or lesser extent - results in future shock that generally are part and parcel of any kind of change taking place.

Obstacles aren't grouped as either being easy or difficult, because the level of difficulty is determine by the context of obstacle manifestation. An obstacleThat can be regarded as either a problem, issue or wicked challenge. is grouped in terms of resulting consequences as effective or ineffective, either when…

  • implementing a productive solution by following a workable strategy,
  • doing just enough to limit or avoid a current crises,
  • following a collective accepted recipe/template process and “memorandum”, because every one is doing it or
  • doing nothing about it and hoping that it will somehow miraculously dissolve all by itself, in time to come.

The dynamics of obstacles can be indicated and briefly explained as follows…

Problems

Planning & Strategizing.

A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and solved.

A perceived gap between the existing state and a desired state, or a deviation from a norm, standard or status quo.

Although many problems turn out to have several solutionsThus the means to either close the “gap” or correct the deviation. , difficulties arise where such solutions are either not obvious or immediately available.

Problems are mainly simpleI.e. based on verifiable and undisputed facts. , impact the short to medium term, but is fairly easy to predict and anticipate outcomes quite accurately. Possible solutions are mainly based on undisputed facts and characterized by immediate gratifications. Best addressed and dealt with using the DACIP-method and the linear problem solving technique.

Issues

Characterized by negotiated solutions.

Issues are important topics (i.e. perceived problems) for a debate or discussions. Things such as…

  • Collectively: racism, discrimination, selling drugs, human trafficking, abuse, …etc.
  • Personally: mainly difficulties experiencing which often surface in an individual's umwelt as psyche wounds.
  • Relations: mainly disagreements, difference of opinion, points of view and conflicts.

Issues are complex,Thus, plenty of variables that mainly are disputed facts. have a medium to long term impact, difficult to predict and the result only becomes evident after a considerable amount of time has elapsed… often years, rather than months. Issues are mainly governed by disputed facts and characterized by extended gratification. The DACIP-method are still useful in this case, but the linear problem solving technique generally delivers limited successes, if any at all. Issues are best addressed by following the ADKAR-change model and associated techniques.

Wicked Challenges

Plan, strategize, negotiate and harmonize environmental fit

The challenge is to identify and determine workable facts, by integrating, balancing and finding an equilibrium between existing problems and current issues.

Wicked challenges is multifaceted obstaclesEither a problem, issue or a combination of both. that are hard and extremely difficult to define, let alone solve. Identification, definition or description (i.e. the obstacle statement) depends on perspectives, ideas and views held regarding the obstacle experienced, which - more often than not - result in stuckness.

For example… Lets assume - for the moment - that actualizing potential of individuals are limited, curbed or prevented.

  • When regarded as an educational obstacle, strategies to address the problem will focus on establishing more and a greater variety of educational, training and learning opportunities.
  • If seen from an financial point of view, problem solution strategies would concentrate on financial assistance such as bursaries and loans.
  • When perceived as a social fairness problem, strategies to address it will most likely focus on laws, rules, regulations and controlling or directive mechanisms.
  • If identified as an economic problem, efforts will most probably concentrate on expanding employment opportunities and work creation programs.
  • From a disability perspective, solutions would deal with aspects such as identifying and creating sheltered work environments.
  • When seen as originating from personal/emotional issues, various psychology, facilitation, orientation and coaching techniques, processes and procedures will most likely be at the center of solution strategies.

Wicked challenges are complicatedA term often used when we have no idea of what we are up against, confronted with, what we are actually dealing with or where to start. A term that implies leave the issue alone, maybe - in time - the issue will spontaneously dissolve and disappear all by itself. as a result of many interdependent variables and plenty of constraints. Thus, there are many opinions and plenty of ideas as to what the actual problem and real issue is.

Therefore, wicked challenges cannot be solved by traditional and generally accepted problems solving methods (i.e. in a linear manner). To really address and initiate solution strategies for wicked challenges - that piggy back on future shock - require the implementation of collaborative strategiesA warm, fussy feel and professional networking term that is used freely or enthusiastically encouraged, but actually never implemented in the real sense of the word due to time constraints and illusionary self-created deadlines .

Classic career path example to illustrate the crippling impact of wicked challenges… When in matric, one need to apply for a varsity course, complete a quick assessment process to determine what it should be (force solution). First year, enrolled for course… what can one do with it. I have this qualification, where can I find a job. Then there is the mid-life crises, so much to offer but nobody interested. Humanoids (android application in human body) that are skilled to expensively do what the technology can accomplish much better, more dedicated (24/7) and a lot cheaper.

What does following a collaborative strategy imply (sourcing from spontaneous networking). What does it mean to leverage collective skills and working together (i.e. what is professional networking all about). It is based on the open and honest sharing of knowledge and experiences, which due to wicked challenges social complexity side goes high wire because people refuse to share, manipulate, refuse dialogue (core result of the MeetingsManagementEmail syndrome). Aim actually is to share understanding of the problem (i.e. common strata) amongst all present and possible future steak holders, which translate - more often than not - into a shared commitment and action. Effective and productive collaboration is to establish a shared understanding, which is the precursor to shared commitment.

Wicked challenge characteristics…

  • Difficulty to clearly define and cannot be exhaustively formulated, there is no definite formulation of a wicked problem
  • Every formulations is a possible statement of a solution
  • Many interdependencies and often multi-casual
  • Attempt to address the problem often lead to unforeseen consequences
  • Frequently not stable
  • Usually no clear solution
  • Socially complex. Problem have an effect on real people, so one cannot conduct experiments to see what works without having tangible effects on people's lives.
  • Rarely the responsibility of one stakeholder
  • Solutions involve changing behaviour, that frequently translate into a great resistance to change.
  • Can be characterized by chronic policy failure
  • There is no stopping rule, just evolving
  • No true or false and right or wrong solutions, only more or less effective solutions.
  • No exhaustive list of operations and comprehensive list of possible solutions.
  • Many explanations for the same problem
  • Every problem symptom of another problem. In itself it is a symptom of other problems. Incremental solutions run the risk of not really addressing the underlying problem.
  • No immediate or ultimate test of whether a solution will work or has worked
  • One-shot solutions, every solution is a “one-shot” operations, There is no gradual learning by trial-and-error, because every intervention changes the problem in an irreversible manner.
  • Every problem is essentially unique. so its hard to learn from previous problems because they were different in significant ways.
  • Problem solver has no right to be wrong
  • No comprehensive list of possible solutions, merely probabilities and likely outcomes or results. Solutions in itself is just a guide to tackle the next step.
  • There is a choice how we view/see the problem, but how we perceive the problem, determines which type of solution we will try or apply.
  • Because there is no single definition of the problem, there are multiple value conflicts wrapped up in dealing with and addressing problems.
  • There are also multiple ideological, political or economic constraints on possible solutions.
  • With social messes, in addition to the complexity of the problem itself, data to describe the problem are often uncertain or missing. It may be difficult actually to collect the relevant information. There is no expert with an answer.
  • Because of the complexity of the problem, there are multiple intervention points, some more productive than others.
  • Consequences of any particular intervention are difficult to image and/or predict accurately.

First PagePrevious PageBack to overviewNext PageLast Page

  • Last modified: 18 September, 2018 @ 7:54pm
  • by Jan Viljoen