There is a book titled “Wicked problems worth solving”.
The author Jon Kolko, “A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems.”
Some of the wicked problems our world is facing like poverty, healthcare, disease, famine etc. These are complicated problems due to the involvement of multiple expertise and disciple involved. Like poverty is linked to education and inequality of income, healthcare is connected with poverty and education and likewise.
The author offers designers approach to solve these problems.
IDEO.ORG is a design firm working to improve lives of poor and vulnerable communities. They are approaching the problems in poor and developing countries with the new and emerging concept of Human Cemented Design (HCD). This is a creative approach to problem solving. They believe that Embracing human-centered design means believing that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones like poverty, gender equality, and clean water, are solvable.
Moreover, it means believing that the people who face those problems every day are the ones who hold the key to their answer. Human-centered design offers problem solvers of any stripe a chance to design with communities, to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs
They are working on the projects like to identify opportunities for saving products for banks for savers of low income Mexicans, how to sell health insurance in rural Nigeria using mobile money platform, create micro franchise opportunities for an NGO in India, working with the Bezos Family Foundation on early child development, working with utility manufacturers for more intuitive and user friendly experience.
In short, they are using an HCD approach to solve many small but important wicked problems across the globe.
HCD entails three stages:
There is an approach for each of the stage.
HCD approach design the solution which is viable (business/economics), feasible (Technology) and desirable (Human).
HCD is the approach business world use for service design to design customer focussed serviced design. This is the approach advance Governments are taking in solving people’s problem and better citizen service. Govt of the UK is quite ahead in this approach. Taking service design to Parliament, the author writes “ In order to create great services in the first place, the government has to stop thinking in silos. It needs to create services that cross departmental boundaries.
Be it NGOs, Social Entrepreneurs, For Profit Entrepreneurs and Governments all are gradually moving towards deign thinking. This Human Centered Design thinking and approach can help us doesn’t only solve wicked problems but create better customer/citizen experience.
If you are a problem solver irrespective of the type of the organisation, or wish to be a part of it, HCD is a necessary skill. & the good part is it can be learned online for free. Yes, Acumen is conducting regular online free course on the subject of HCD.