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Ad hoc solutions to wicked problems: Pandemics and other challenges in context


Published: Jul 22, 2021
Keywords:
Systems thinking wicked problem pandemic complexity group work peer learning
Alexios Brailas
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2016-4438
Abstract
Wicked problems are considered to be any social, cultural, or other challenges that are difficult to address and hard to devise an effective and sustainable solution for. The utopic wishful thinking humanity relied on for so many decades, that technology and science alone, like a new Deus ex machina, would ultimately save us from any problematic situation we would ever face, and from any possible catastrophe we would ever confront, proved to be unrealistic. In the complex techno-social reality we live in, symptomatic solutions are not enough to address wicked problems. We keep looking for simplistic solutions in an inherent complex world. Something different is needed. Newtonian science and technology can provide working and sustainable solutions, only if they are combined with a systems thinking approach providing a holistic view in context. When we are in an urgent need to take ad hoc measures, for example, to address a direct lethal threat like a new virus, it is critical to take advantage of the time gained through the treatment of the symptoms to devise more sustainable solutions. Otherwise, things can get even worst in the long run.
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