Today in class, my teacher asked me to consider the difference between a wicked problem and a non-wicked problem. The theme of today’s lesson was design thinking (a style of thinking, considered to be the ability to combine empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and rationality to analyze and fit solutions to the context. -Wikipedia). He asked us to think about how we are a school for the future and how we can utilize designed thinking in our classrooms. He asked us what we consider wicked problems and non-wicked problems. It’s an interesting conundrum: what makes a problem a wicked problem?
After much thought I determined, with the help of my colleagues, that a wicked problem in India is one that has no prescribed solution. India’s got a cornucopia of wicked problems that clever people are working to solve every minute of every day. But, the problem that I find the wickedist at this very moment, is the fact that I have no idea who my Internet provider is, where I can contact them so that I can have web access, and that I am writing this post on stolen property (I am connected, illegally, to a neighbor’s account). That, coupled with the fact that my phone has been cut off because I haven’t paid the bill, and when I attempt to pay it online my American bank card isn’t accepted makes for a wicked problem.
On the other hand, right outside my window there is a man sleeping in his rickshaw because he doesn’t have a house. And it’s pouring rain.
Ok, maybe my problems aren’t that wicked. I’ll stop complaining.