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How to get a new understanding of your wicked problems?


tumblr mrwfmuOsmr1r4977vo1 400 How to get a new understanding of your wicked problems?

In the old days your  job as  manager was to describe your own universum, was it not?

Once you described your  own territory, you could start controlling the environment.  Using technology on behalf of management science made it possible to create the desired output with the required internal constraints.  As a manager, you did encounter challenges and obstacles but they were – with hard work and a good understanding – manageable: implement SAP worldwide or rationalize the back-office environment.

Some of us claim that these days of management 1.0 are  over.

Those are supported in their beliefs by noteworthy management guru’s like Gary Hamel or Steve Denning. The latter is author of one of the 2013 highlights with regard to the current developments within management.

In the golden age of management he describes ten simultaneous shifts now under way

1.       From maximizing shareholder value to profitable customer delight.
2.       From sustainable competitive advantage to continuous strategic adaptation.
3.       From a preoccupation with efficiency to co-creating value with stakeholders.
4.       From uni-directional value chains to multi-directional value networks.
5.       From steep hierarchies to shared responsibilities.
6.       From control and bureaucracy to disciplined innovation.
7.       From economic value to values that grow the firm.
8.       From command to conversation.
9.       From managing the machine to stewardship of stakeholders.
10.     From episodic improvements to a paradigm shift in management.

The old  days are – in my opinion – indeed definitely over.

In our emerging new world, something is happening that hinders those who excelled in the management 1.0 era.  Companies can no longer thrive on forecasts and management control: the real world has become foggy and blurred. In such a way that no longer one can not look for the ultimate solution.

What does this imply for you as a  professional manager in any kind of organization or institution?

Any  manager’s universum has widened. It has grown from internal facts only to include social responsibility. With an emphasis shift from a cost/value perspective to a more integrated cost/value/functional/emotional perspective. Yes, indeed the old skills are still relevant but they are on their own not sufficient enough.

Do you indeed face wicked problems.  . . problems that are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. And to make life even more complicated, because of complex interdependencies,  solving one aspect of a wicked problem reveasl or create other problems.

And it is here that many of us can benefit from the field of design thinking, and all related concepts like enterprise design and service design,

As – according to Roger Martin and Herbert Simon - design is about shaping a particular context for the better, rather than taking it as it, all managers and professionals should embrace design and the emerging management 2.0 concepts.  It takes these new radical concepts to get things done. Without them, you’re impotent—irrespective of your talents or the attractiveness of your firm…

About Fred Zimny

Dutch senior leader in service innovation, service design, services marketing and service management.
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