5 Steps to explain to the world how to cook pasta. Wicked Problem - Part 2

5 Steps to explain to the world how to cook pasta. Wicked Problem – Part 2

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“We cannot solve the problems we have created with the same thinking we used in creating them.”
A. Einstein

What is a Wicked Problem in my opinion?

As an Italian guy, one of the worst things that I experienced in Canada, is watching people cooking pasta.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…

I’ve seen spaghetti cooked in normal pans with an amount of water that it wouldn’t be enough even for pulling an espresso shot. How am I supposed to explain them that pasta has to be cooked in a pot completely filled with boiling water?

Here you are a real Wicked Problem.


In the first part we’ve seen how it’s possible to recognize a wicked problem. But now you’re gonna read a methodology I created in order to solve them.

Are you ready to understand how to solve a Wicked problem?
Make yourself comfortable, we begin…

Here you are 5 steps to solve a Wicked Problem:

1. Speak with stakeholders and gain feedbacks

The primary objective of a company is (should be) generating value for customer and for stakeholders: so, why shouldn’t you begin talking to them? Therefore, the first step is communicating with them in order to create awareness to the problem, understanding their point of views and getting ready to design a path to follow. This could be a co-creative solution, an essential “way of doing” that is very common in the design world.

2. Understand the problem

It’s mandatory to understand all the root causes and the symptoms of the wicked problem, so to understand how to manage with it. There are two main tools that could help you in this second step:

  • Service Blueprint:
    This tool is effective and easy to use when you have to map one or more processes, both internally and externally to the company. In few words you will have to list and connect all the activities and sub-processes able to transform a product/service from raw material to finished product/service. Once that all the steps are mapped on the chart, it will be possible to understand which of them present inefficiencies. Thanks to these latest, you will have enough data to define rankings and priorities and, thus, understanding which are the ones that’s better to focus on. If you want to learn more about this tool, keep in touch with Design Per Non Designer – DXND: you will see an article about it soon.
  • Customer Empaty map:
    This second tool is exploited when Wicked Problems spotted, are directly connected to the final customer. It’s very important to focus on the customer’s point of view in order to understand if there’s something that is not properly aligned between company’s offering and customer’s demand. If you want to know more about empathy (one of the most important thing you should develop) click here.

3. MVP e Pilot testing

After being done with the analysis, and having decided where to focus on, it’s now the right time to build something real. First of all you have to create an MVP, also known as Minimum Viable Product. The MVP won’t be your final solution, but just a “just enough” solution in order to gain feedback and understand if it’s the right path to follow (read here if you want to know more about MVP).

4. Performance tracking and Re-Iteration

Just like real designers do, the first solution is NEVER the right one. Thanks to the feedbacks generated through MVP, Pilot Tests and thanks to performance tracking, you can now think about re-iterating your solution. Keep what was successful and improve all the things that could be modified and exploited to solve your issues. Re-iteration is one of the main idea that characterizes the design world, but it’s now being used by a lot of “hard-business” companies as well. If you want to know more about re-iteration click here.

5. Introduction of the solution

At this point of the methodology, it’s now the right moment to introduce the action plan, deciding if it’s better to introduce it radically or modularly. It’s highly probable that you won’t find the right solution on your first try, but don’t worry. It’s pretty normal that your current solution, that you just created, is not perfect, but this is the idea of this approach: designing a feasible solution able to slow a problem and, in the meantime, re-designing it to eliminate the root cause of the Wicked Problem.


“Understanding people means foreseeing the future”

Marco Carniel


What do you think about the topics in this article?

Let me know by commenting in the bottom section, I would be happy to talk with you.

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