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Wicked Challenges ™
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Overview of INNOV-IT

Introducing the forth of the Six ITs™ INNOV-IT .. Finding solutions that enable us to resolve Wicked Challenges™ will often require us to apply innovative thinking to find resolutions. Different enabling frameworks – or lenses – can prove helpful.

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In Managing Problems Creatively (The Open University Business School, 2002, page 156)  sets out six frameworks or metaphors that can be applied:

1. Problem-solving as answering – answers/solutions are “essentially an exercise in intelligent analysis.

2. Problem-solving as searching – “searching a very large ‘idea space’ to locate the idea that best fits your needs.

3. Problem-solving as cultivation – “opening up .. Possibilities .. then developing some .. until one is head and shoulders above any other option.

4. Problem-solving as mapping – “mapping personal perceptions .. then merging and developing ..  to create a shared map of possibilities.

5. Problem-solving as a debate – “provision of effective support for participant negotiation and debate .. to help them learn about the situation ..

6. Problem-solving as reperception – “a change of perception of the situation so that it can be seen in a way which is richer in actionable possibilities.

In resolving Wicked Challenges™, each of these approaches – deployed skillfully separately or in combination – will provide a helpful step-by-step approach to breaking it down and ultimately resolving it. (See Iter-IT!).

Inevitably, it is necessary to make difficult choices and trade-offs and not be put off by the messy, combative, iterative ways decisions are often made. Through encouraging the use of models and frameworks to do the heavy lifting, we empower colleagues by reducing the load on them so they can focus on important matters. Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is one approach to organisational and business process modelling, which can be used both for general problem solving and in the management of change.


Time to see your trickiest challenges in an innovative new way! In this paper, we identify a different kind of challenge that could be inhibiting or worse risking your whole organisation. We describe it's Essential and Supplementary Elements and provide a Six IT approach to resolving it.