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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Argues that design is a planning activity that involves models, that the reasoning of designers is a process of argumentation unlike problem solving, and that design is political and associated with power. Moreover, in a pluralistic society there is nothing like the undisputable public good; there is no objective definition of equity; policies that respond to social problems cannot be meaningfully correct or false; and it makes no sense to talk about “optimal solutions” to social problems unless severe qualifications are imposed first.

Wicked Problems

The tie between Churchman and Rittel are well-documented, in a article in Management Science. This can be a frustrating process for inveterate “problem solvers”, but is an absolutely necessary procedure when modelling wicked problems.

The morphological field represents the total “problem space”, and can contain many thousands – or even hundreds of thousands – of possible formal rittep. I think that this is a mistake, and that we should treat these criteria as 10 heuristic perspectives which will help us better understand the nature of such complex social planning issues.

Issues as Elements of Information Systems. How I got here.

Rittel ritel working on different tasks somewhat remote from actual building design: In any event, it is instructive to look at the original formulation of the distinction between “wicked” and “tame” problems. It is optimistic, perhaps futile, but worth trying. Horst Rittel matters because he saw a connection between science and design and was able to articulate it to designers.


There Horst first became fascinated with the concepts that later became the focus of his career: So, why did a number of different policy researchers start fussing about this issue all at the same time – in the late ‘s?

Pure study amounts to procrastination, because lit-tle can be learned about a wicked problem by objective data gathering and analysis. Futures Research Methodology Series. Policy problems cannot be definitively described. Churchman discussed the moral responsibility of operations research “to inform the manager in what respect our ‘solutions’ have failed to tame his wicked problems”. Issues as Elements of Information Systems. IBIS for issue-based information system is the instrumental version of the understanding of design as argumentation.

Wicked problems demand an opportunity-driven approach; they require making decisions, doing experiments, launching pilot programs, testing prototypes, and so on. The search for scientific bases for confronting problems of social policy is bound to fail because of the nature of these problems A taxonomy of models used in the design process Convergence 2.

At Ulm he argued that dichotomies purporting to distinguish systematic versus intuitive, and rational versus nonrational design are untenable. Offering a “solution” to a wicked problem frequently is a “one shot” design effort because a significant intervention changes the design space enough to minimize the ability for trial and error.

Thus wicked problems are also characterised by the following: After his retirement inChurchman taught in rttel Peace and Conflict Studies program for 13 years. What is a good national immigration policy? A morphological field is constructed by setting the parameters against each other, in parallel columns, representing an n-dimensional configuration space.

But, typically for Horst, he was interested in what others discarded.

Above all, WPs are about people as stakeholders: Retrieved from ” https: Designers attempting to address a wicked problem must be fully responsible for their actions.


Most models of the design process—for example: All of the parameter values in the morphological field are compared with one another, pair-wise, in the manner of a cross-impact matrix. Earth and Environmental Science. PSMs are usually used by a group of people in collaboration rather than by a solitary individual to create a consensus about, or at least to facilitate negotiations about, what needs to change.

There is no idealized end state to arrive at, and so approaches to wicked problems should be tractable ways to improve a situation rather than solve it. Solving simple problems may lead to improvement—but not innovation.

Wicked problem – Wikipedia

Wicked problems have no stopping rules. IBIS guides the identification, structuring, and settling of issues raised by problem-solving groups, and provides information pertinent to the discourse.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not only should planners be part of the GMA modelling and shaping process, but also the potential “consumers” or “victims” of said planning. Dittel called it the science of design.

Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving – Wicked Problem

riittel Churchman, Rittel, Alexander] are actually all together for how many years? Ralph Johnson is sympathetic to Richard Gabrielbut came from different purposes at that time. He was born in and grew up in Berlin, where he attended the Gymnasium Adolfinum.

We literally build up an inventory of all possible solution concepts, in order to help us better understand what the actual problem is.