Horst Rittel, one of the first to formalize a theory of wicked problems, cites ten characteristics of these complicated social issuesRittel, Horst. “Dilemmas in a. Horst Willhelm Jakob Rittel taught design and architecture for over. 30 years, yet he never designed a building or otherwise practiced as an architect. (We might. Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Authors; Authors and affiliations. Horst W. J. Rittel; Melvin M. Webber. Horst W. J. Rittel. 1. Melvin M. Webber. 1. 1.

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Still I see him as more of a natural scientist searching for a new language, in architecture and elsewhere, for understanding patterns structures of natural design with emergent life giving properties. Rittel Matters Chanpory Rith and Hugh Dubberly Dubberly Design Office Horst Willhelm Jakob Rittel taught design and architecture for over 30 years, yet he never designed a building or otherwise practiced as an architect. This can be horts frustrating process for inveterate “problem solvers”, but is an absolutely necessary procedure when modelling wicked problems.

Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving – Wicked Problem

Problems are “wicked” not in the sense of being “evil”, but in that they are seriously devious and can have nasty unintended consequences for the planners who try to do something about them. Perhaps, David, you should learn how to check your facts. Views Read Edit View history. What Rittel teaches us Rittel introduced several fundamental ideas: To him this was the story of the Golem, or of Faust and his homunculus, all uorst again.

This, in itself, goes a long horsy in satisfying Rittle and Webber’s first – seemingly incredible – criterion see below.

The process of argumentation is the key and perhaps the only method of taming wicked problems. Gorst many stakeholders as possible should be engaged in the work, in order to create a common terminology, common problem concept and common modelling framework.

Some say that we are wiser today, and less susceptible to the belief that complex social rkttel problems can be “solved” by linear methods akin to engineering solutions. As each pair of conditions is examined, a judgment is made as to whether – or to what extent – the pair can coexist, i. When this solution or horts space is synthesized, the resultant morphological field becomes an inference model, in which any parameter or multiple parameters can be selected as “input”, and any others as “output”.


As he said, he had the good fortune to participate in the development of the science of design from its beginning.

Horst considered his work in chemistry, for which he received international recognition, to be a special case of this general theory.

A number of computer-based versions of IBIS have been and are being developed for various computer systems personal computers and workstations. Some widely adopted PSMs include soft systems methodologythe strategic choice approach, and strategic options development and analysis SODA. Extending Ackoff, Robert Horn says that “a Social Mess is a set of interrelated problems and other messes.

A particular constructed “field configuration” is designated by selecting a single value from each of the variables. Restraining the Present to Liberate the Future”.

Second, he proposed principles for dealing with these limitations. Webber The search for scientific bases for confronting problems of jorst policy is bound to fail, because of the nature of these problems. Thus, when defining problems, all stake-holders, experts, and designers are equally knowledgeable or unknowledgeable. In practice there is a sort of gliding scale between tameness and wickedness.

Wicked Problems

All too often the words associated with these three are jumbled together into one soup by people that have gittel investigated the historical context of their perspectives or the relationships and incompatibilities of their approaches.

Due to the system qualities of these large problems, knowledge of science, economics, statistics, technology, medicine, politics, and more are necessary for effective change. Lazarus, Richard James Collaboration then becomes impossible until one set of beliefs is relativized or abandoned entirely. Solving simple problems may rittl to improvement—but not innovation.

Courtney, James F Science is concerned with factual knowledge what-is ; design is concerned with instrumental knowledge how what-is relates to what-ought-to-behow actions can meet goals. Futures Research Methodology Series.

As stated above, WPs are about people – the most hodst adaptive systems” that we know of. Rittel and Melvin M. In their discussion of global climate changethey define super wicked problems as having the following additional characteristics: Rittel and Melvin M.


Wicked problems have no definitive formulation.

We literally build up an inventory of all possible solution concepts, in order to help us better understand what the actual problem is. The ties between Christopher Alexander and West Churchman are more elusive, however.

While disciplinary ritrel might lead novices to focus only on each of pattern languagewicked problems and the systems approachthere are ties as well as domain-specific distinctions between the schools. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Horst Rittel

The design and integration of complex software-defined ritte, that use the Web web services can be construed as an evolution from previous models of software design, and therefore becomes a wicked problem also. An Approach for Wicked Problems. Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another yorst problem. The same year, Wurster also recruited Christopher Alexander.

Rittel served as a sort of funnel transferring knowledge developed during and just after World War II from the sciences and engineering to the design professions.

Why Horst W.J. Rittel Matters

This is to say: Rittel Matters, Design Issues: Also “going on”, as a reaction to government policy or lack thereofwere the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war demonstrations and the general baby boomer “revolution”. So-called second order consensus is when stakeholders in a group learn to accept each other’s specific stakeholder positions – on the basis of understanding the reasons for these positions.

These include global climate change[7] natural hazardshealthcarethe AIDS epidemic, pandemic influenzainternational drug traffickingnuclear weaponsnuclear energywaste and social injustice. Thanks for pulling it together. Rittel and Webber’s formulation of wicked problems hogst social policy planning specified ten characteristics: