Wicked Tribes

We’re working on a wicked problem
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In our ambition to positively change the world one move at a time we have identified some wicked problems that demand our attention!

The world is full of wicked problems, problems that are complex and undefined, far-reaching and little understood, vague yet entrenched. Problems that involve multiple diverse stakeholders and seem unwilling to yield to the very best efforts to solve them. Problems that attract attention when contextual relevance is high and fade into obscurity when the spotlight shifts – still unsolved.

Wicked problems move in packs, connected to and dependent upon one another – in fact, at times the world seems like one big wicked problem – a world-wide wicked web. Our wicked tribes come together to focus on a given wicked problem and to consciously innovate in ways that shift the context. We indulge in wicked thinking to think beyond existing complex problems and to find new ways to co-create sustainable positive progress.

The problem with wicked problems is that people typically try to solve them – this is the first (and last) mistake. Wicked thinking demands that you fall in love with the wicked problem – live with it, learn from it, change with it and nudge it onto an alternative course. There is no one truth to a wicked problem – and a search for such a truth is in vain. Our wicked tribes are purposefully diverse to force participants to step outside of any echo chamber they are unconsciously subject to.

Wicked Tribes ...

  • explore realities from many angles
  • experience a problem from the perspectives of those in its messy midst
  • talk about the seemingly taboo
  • seek out positive deviance
  • design innovative interventions that can be tested in simulated and real environments
  • and experiment thoughtfully to enhance understanding and shift reality

We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.

Albert Einstein | Theoretical Physicist

Why wicked thinking’s so wicked

Wicked thinking takes thinking beyond present reality…its not lazy or prejudiced or fixated on the failures of the past or limitations of the present.
Wicked thinking is open, curious, challenging, energetic, engaging and future-focused.

9 steps to wicked thinking
  • 1 | Create a wicked tribe
    a diverse wicked tribe naturally drives wicked thinking
  • 2 | Frame the problem and set a destiny
    define the problem and ask the right question
  • 3 | Discover the deep problem
    Fall in love with the problem and get down and dirty with it
  • 4 | Map the system(the wicked web)
    explore the problem at altitude and challenge embedded assumptions
  • 5 | Think together and beyond
    engage hive mind (not groupthink) and explore ‘what-if’
  • 6 | Dare to play
    experiment, experiment, experiment!
  • 7 | Dedicate the tribe to learning & wicked thinking
    commit to the cause and show true grit when things get tough
  • 8 | Feed the beast
    enable a culture of systemic innovation and disruption
  • 9 | Lead the beast
    unleash the game-makers; the architects of the future

Positive deviance

Positive deviance is the phenomenon by which a relatively simple but uncommon behaviour, process or approach to a problem produces results that stand out from the norm. Typically, the alternative strategy is well hidden amongst the complexity of the many approaches to the issue and, without conscious investigation, may never come to light. The power of identifying and isolating positive deviance is in relation to finding potentially high-impact and positive interventions for the wicked problem in question.

Opportunities for wicked thinking

Some wicked problems are huge and all-encompassing, others are more localised but equally as complex. Size really doesn’t matter, and wicked problems don’t discriminate in terms of who they affect, and where they might cause disproportionate impact. While they can indeed be problematic and present myriad risks, wicked problems are also a source of opportunity.

With a dedication to wicked thinking they can become the core of a cause or the momentum behind a powerful movement. Everyone, and every organisation, bumps up against a range of wicked problems every day – could one of them be your opportunity to change the world for the better?

What’s your problem?

We are always on the lookout for wicked problems that demand attention. In our work with organisations we find ways to generate ideas, consciously and collaboratively experiment, co-create a brighter future and leverage disruption to evolve human experience.

We also facilitate wicked tribes that seek to make a positive difference to societal wicked problems we all care deeply about.

Want to change the world?

Get in touch and tell us all about the wicked problems in your world…

To infinity and beyond


Organisations that make it big and survive the test of time are shapeshifters.

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