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Wicked notes #3


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Hivos and Kennisland co-operate in organizing the Wicked Series. In this series the objective is to learn more about the complex dynamics of wicked problems by generating new insights derived from innovatives strategies and approaches that are currently deployed and experimented with in the context of wicked problems.

The Wicked Notes are a direct knowledge product of the Wicked Series and reflect on the ideas and findings generated by the members of this new network during the series.

The Wicked Notes will eventually be part of a Wicked Publication, co-created by Hivos, Kennisland and the Wicked-members to share insights and ideas on the dynamics of wicked problems.

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Wicked notes #3

  1. 1. Ken nisl THE WICKED NOTES # 3 and &H ivos 3 March 2013, Issue 3 Expedition Log by Marlieke Kieboom EM MK@ AIL KL. NL TEL 020 EPHON -57 56 7 E 20From Problem to Opportunity:Crowdsourcing the Wise Elders EXPEDITION: AGEING SOCIETY30 JANUARY 2013, OPEN CO-OP, AMSTERDAMKennisland and Hivos are organising theWicked Series. Over the course of threeevenings we have learned about newinnovation strategies that are beingdeveloped in response to wickedproblems. This report wraps up ourfindings and makes you part of our lastexploration that set out to learn moreabout how new approaches are wired. Tofind out we worked on another societalchallenge: ‘the ageing society’. Whatinnovative approaches exist that respondto the wisdom and potential of theelderly? What can we learn from theseinitiatives? And how can we strengthenthem? At Wicked 3 we recast the problemas an opportunity by harnessing theuntapped potential of The Wise Eldersand reframing it as a value producingsegment of society, our grey gold. It wasan exciting evening with an entertainingtalk show, a refreshing Metropolis moviefrom Burkina Faso and energetic WickedTeams. Photographer: Aukje Dekker Kennisland / Hivos | Wicked Series | /
  2. 2. THE WICKED NOTES #3! PAGE 2RECAP: WICKED 1 AND 2 the written words on the postersChris Sigaloff opened the evening in during the group sessions in thea buzzing, full Open-Coop in series, and the wicked notes thatAmsterdam. In two previous episodes summarised the group work. Theof Wicked we have learned about Wicked Cloud hints at our lessons 1. Analysis (Think)tough issues: social challenges that learnt, but also provides clues for 2. Strategy (Design)cannot simply be solved. At Wicked 1 working with wicked problems in 3. Approach (Act)we became hopelessly trapped in your own work practice.analysing a big problem: theeconomic crisis in Greece. From thisevening we experienced that it is nothelpful to get completely entangled infully understanding and attempting tosolve a wicked problem. But onepractical strategy seemed to emerge:transparency. What happens whentough issues become moretransparent? We yielded veryinteresting insights during Wicked 2about strategies that attempt to moveaway from wickedness. Unfortunately,the strategy proved itself to be awicked problem too. Transparencynot only leads to more openness, italso leads to other new, opaquedynamics. You can read more onWicked 2 in the Wicked Notes2!Besides describing the outcomes inthe Wicked Notes we have visualisedresults in a Wicked Cloud: a wordcloud that we have derived from all Kennisland / Hivos | Wicked Series | /
  3. 3. THE WICKED NOTES #3! PAGE 3WICKED 3 elderly? Watch the Metropolis movie here.So what can you do, when you cannotunderstand or solve a wicked problemin its entirety? Instead of thinking introubles, or talking in possible solutions, ELDERS IN THE NETHERLANDSwe look at what people are alreadydoing in their daily practices on a small Which initiatives are created in Dutchscale. How do they work? And how can societies that anticipate on connectingthey strengthen their approach? the social and economic capital that resides within the current andOur thematic focus of the evening is upcoming elders? To find out wethe ageing society. In the media our invited four inspiring pioneers whorapidly ageing population is often each in their own way engage in newportrayed as a costly challenge in the ways with an ageing society. In a talklight of the imminent retirement of the show setting they each told us whatBaby Boomer generation. By 2050 35 they are doing. Sageetha Hoeba ofpercent of the Dutch will have reached Volunteers Centre Utrecht is the leaderthe respectable retirement age of 65. of the project ‘Life Books’. TheThe onset of sudden strains and concept of Life Books is simple andintense pressures draw increased powerful: a volunteer works with anattention to shortcomings of our older person to document his or her lifeexisting welfare system. To make good in a personalised book. The projecton the social contract between brings volunteers in touch with oldergenerations, we must therefore rethink people in their city to make newhow and why we deliver welfare connections over old to the elderly, as well asredefine the general understanding of Pluspunt Rotterdam is an expertiseall life stages. By recasting ageing as an centre for senior participation. Marjanopportunity rather than as a problem Tuk speaks enthusiastically about thewe change the very understanding of course Ongekend Talent that is‘elderly’. This is one important step designed to support seniors in mapping Mary: “If youtowards a deeper conversation about their talents and skills, and to use these want to dothe future of our welfare systems, its in volunteering activities. The method something, thenunderlying values and the populations can be downloaded here. do not look atthey support. The third pioneer is Mary van Vucht. others. Just goELDERS ACROSS BORDERS She takes us to the initiative ‘City and sail your own Village South’ in Amsterdam: an race!”To broaden our mental horizons on alternative system that offersthis topic we first look at initiatives customised and low-cost reliabletaken across our own borders. For services in the neighbourhood. Basedexample the Granny Cloud, where on a membership scheme, they ensureelderly teach children in India through that older people can stay in their ownSkype. In the project The Amazings home in an active, healthy and safeelderly from the UK offer their way. Mary provided us with a tip inknowledge and skills through advance: "If you want to do something,workshops and courses on a then do not look at how others do it,crowdfunding platform. And what but just go and sail your own race!".happens in Burkina Faso with the Kennisland/Hivos | Wicked Series | /
  4. 4. THE WICKED NOTES #3! PAGE 4The fourth and final pioneer Caro van such a rooted framework a good ideaDijk presented her initiative Design cannot even spawn. But a strong, solidAge. How do new designs help to initiative cannot grow without (2) newvisualise and shape a new type of connections, as we learn from Citywelfare state? She shows how design Village South. This initiative gets itscan work to influence public opinion: energy from the new contacts thatby having people to look at ageing in a occur nearby, between young and oldpositive way, it becomes a lot more and between different culturalattractive to design fun, convenient and communities. Once this foundation isinnovative products and services. well put together, as in the project Life How to strengthen Books, it is easy to get an idea to roll an approach:SMALL SOLUTIONS, VALUABLE INSIGHTS over to (3) creative spin-offs. So many new ideas were delivered in oneAfter the introductions of the pioneers hour: an old tales festival, a day of 1. Solid Foundationthe Wicked teams started to work with wisdom, history lessons, and special 2. New Connectionsthe initiatives to find out what makes editions of the living books on old arts 3. Creative Spins Offgood approaches, and how can you and crafts. But how do you grab the 4. Smart Designmake them more contagious? After an attention of a wider audience abouthour of sweating, drawing, talking and your projects? That is where a (4)digging with the change makers each smart design comes around theteam came with its own insights on the corner, tells the Design-Age Group. Aplanning, implementation and good design is nice and attractive, butreinforcement of successful change also challenges underlying assumptionsapproaches. and behaviours and ways we look at problems. For example, a campaign likeFrom Pluspunt Rotterdam we learn that "Getting Old is Your Best Option!" maya change approach begins with one (1) constitute a cultural manifesto againstsolid foundation: a mission and the trend that we need to look forevervision that is rooted in the needs of young.daily practices of the elders. Without Kennisland / Hivos | Wicked Series | /
  5. 5. THE WICKED NOTES #3! PAGE 5HORIZONTAL SOLIDARITY WICKED THEORYNaturally the question arises: what can we do After three times Wicked little hunches ofwith all these small initiatives? Do they offer understanding emerge from analyzing,real alternatives to a dysfunctional health care strategizing and approaching wickedness.system? No. Not by themselves. But the From an attempt to tackle and analyze aapproaches give us ideas on how to work with wicked problem, and failing miserably at it,such big problems in a positive, innovative new strategies (stuff you think you can do)way. The belief is that plenty of new sounds and approaches (stuff you actually do) arise.from our society force broader changes in the Together they may create new (intellectual)underlying values of a system, such as the views, or new (physical) spaces. These arewelfare state. Albert-Jan Kruijter, director of what we have started to call: windows ofthe Institute for Public Values and initiator of opportunities, or experimental learningthe Social Hospital led the fifth wicked table spaces. They are actual or mental spaces toon strategies that strengthen innovative experiment with new initiatives that bringinitiatives on a national level. He gives his forth approaches and strategies that addressown vision on the aging problem. Albert-Jan: systemic failures, from which we can derive"The Baby Boomers have truly transformed new perspectives on old paradigms and theirour view of society. In the sixties they were underlying values. Sometimes they are bornthe ones who came loose from traditional care out of pure necessity in very poor, dire,systems like religion, families and the politically restrained situations in developingneighbourhood. The individual flourished like countries. But they also emerge here, in thenever before and retirement care became an Netherlands as reactions to systems that doissue taken care of by the state. And now we not work. One of those experimental learningare a facing a big problem. It is time that spaces has been the Wicked Series itself.those who caused the problem, themselvestake responsibility to solve it. I plead for morehorizontal solidarity: people must begin againwith taking joint responsibilities and formcollectives to settle problems in a cheap,efficient way. Instead of the current standardwhere the younger generation is the soleresponsible for the maintenance of olderpeople through an out-dated institute like thewelfare state. Especially also because it is notgoing to solve the current issues of our time:loneliness and a feeling of irrelevance tocontribute to society. Mary of City VillageSouth backs up Kruijter: "Thats exactly whatwe do! I feel challenged! I believe that withour initiative we contribute to a newperception of how things could be. And as webegin, there will be others who follow." Kennisland / Hivos | Wicked Series | /
  6. 6. THE WICKED NOTES #3! PAGE 6In the middle of it all remains the black WICKED: THE END?box: which dynamics make a dysfunctionalsystem really tip? We do not know. We have The Wicked Series is over, but together welearned that in the black box persistent have constructed the basis for new insights,power structures, vested interests, relationships and partnerships aroundknowledge gaps, financial markets, tough, social challenges. Hivos andtechnology, skills, values, behaviors, rules Kennisland continue in a new projectand regulations all work together. But how where we work together with partnersthey exactly work together to make shifts worldwide continue to work and learn inremains a top secret, puzzling mystery. experimental learning settings on this theme. Stay tuned, stay Wicked!It might be a daunting idea to think thatwicked problems cannot be solved. And if View photos of Wicked 3 here.they do finally submerse in the history oftime, other grand challenges and wickedproblems will emerge. You might thenwonder: so what the $#%&^ can I, me,myself do then? Well. In collective nodes ofaction, windows of opportunity do arisefrom which actions, small or big, follow. Itis a matter of making the outcomes ofthose windows of opportunity, thoseexperimental learning spaces moreaccessible and visible to a wider audience.In this way it becomes easier to learn fromnew approaches and strategies, and kickstart transformation processes. Windows ofopportunity create movement and leverage,to challenge the status quo and developalternative ways of living. Kennisland / Hivos | Wicked Series | /