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The new and emerging challenges our organizations, governments and communities are facing from changing global conditions are becoming increasingly characterized by complexity, uncertainty and unprecedentedness. Bought on by factors such as adverse weather events and climate change, global supply chain disruption, large-scale impacts to food production and distribution, and increasingly common high-impact disruptions to critical global infrastructure, our global conditions are creating complex problems which go beyond anything we have faced before.

These problems – wicked problems – are caused by a range of factors such as social, economic, environmental and technological developments which have fundamentally changed the way we live and work. Their complexity requires us to look beyond conventional boundaries of managing risk in our respective fields, to find new and innovative solutions fit for an increasingly complex world.

‘Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning’
Rittel & Webber (1973)

Wicked problems are a class of complex issues that defy definition. They are problems for which any resolution that could be proposed only generates further issues, and where solutions are not true or false or good or bad, but merely the best that can be done at the time based on the available evidence.


Addressing wicked problems is a critical challenge for organisations, governments and communities worldwide. It requires us to think creatively, work collaboratively and remain committed to finding sustainable solutions.