Wicked Innovation Management (WIM) Working Group
This working group is an initiative of the Center for Technology & Innovation Management, a unit of the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies. It includes a series of forums with associated events and task forces devoted to discussion of examples of Wicked Innovation Problems. Forums include New Energy (FINE), and Health (FICH) with plans for a cross-cutting one focused on Standards Management. The group also pursues new educational and communication vehicles related to wicked innovation.
“Wicked Problems” are distinguished by having a high level of complexity, ambiguity and even volatility (often with limited data to support analysis and decision-making), change-resistant legacies, and multiple stakeholders with widely-varying agendas. Solutions must deeply consider contexts. Wicked problems tend to be highly interconnected and it is often difficult to determine where to begin to address a problem, how to measure progress and when the problem is “solved”. Remediation efforts may reveal and exacerbate other problems; still urgent attention is required. Management of such problems also has significant organizational implications. The Forums draw participants from across Northwestern, other schools as well as industry. They approach the domains from broadly multi-disciplinary perspectives and apply specially adapted analytic and planning tools including scenario planning, mindmapping and roadmapping. Particular attention is paid to ongoing innovation focused Industry Roadmapping. Industry Roadmapping, carried out on a regular basis in a growing number of sectors, establishes a baseline of “best” current thinking and practice. It helps build consensus on industry directions and standards, highlights critical gaps and potential paths to address them, establishes future milestones, and stimulates collaboration across key industry stakeholders and suppliers. Resulting roadmaps influence local, national and even global policies. Although specialized roadmaps exist in the Forum targeted areas, they generally fail to account for the “wicked’ issues and have gaps that the Forums hope to address on a complementary basis.
For more information, contact Michael Radnor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jeffrey Strauss (email@example.com).