The Project Management Institute (PMI) has been working with various leaders globally to bring project management to many people worldwide. The most recent release was an innovation portal that launches various initiatives, each tackling a different area in the profession, and each aimed at a slightly different audience. If anything, this is a good example of an organisation who has brought the art of a product launch to life. In today’s post, I will be sharing my thoughts on one of those initiatives: The Wicked Problem Solving (WPS) initiative.

Before I talk about the add value, let me give you a high level intro of what is WPS?

Earlier in March, I attended a webinar hosted by PMI introducing Wicked Problem Solving to the public. The event was delivered by the one and only Tom Wujec, the brain behind the concept. So what is the added value for project professionals in taking part in this initiative and getting certified as a Wicked Problem Solver?

To understand the tool of WPS, we must understand Wicked Problems.

wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems.

Wicked Problems (2021) https://www.wickedproblems.com/
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Looking at the definition, I think I will take the approach of a wicked problem is a problem that is complex. Complexity brings a different level of difficulties b ecause of the nature of the issue or the number of stakeholders involved. If you are comfortable with this definition, then Wicked Problem Solving will make sense.

What is Wicked Problem Solving?

Wicked Problem Solving is an initiative launched by PMI to help professionals address complex problems in an innovative, test approach to come up with potential solutions. In the event, Tom Wujec talked about the top 10 skills required in the next decade according to the World Economic Forum. The top 3 skills required are analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, and complex problem solving.

Future of Jobs Report, Worked Economic Forum (2020)

I am always fascinated by the shift of skills required for businesses to sustain their successes or to grow. As a Quality Professional, there are certain skills that are required from me that have started to see the light for the wider footprint of businesses; which is a joy I must admit. The Wicked Problem Solving; while it is a project management initiative; it is a brilliant tool for Quality Professionals out there. How many of you is involved in supporting an improvement initiative to the business based on an audit? How many of you is involved in facilitating a brain storming session to enhance a process that will increase customer satisfaction? Can you see where I am going with this yet?

As a certified project manager and a Quality Professional, these skills have always complemented what I do. To work in a certain context and drive high level of governance, assurance and improvement, having certain project management skills increased the chances of my programme’s success. And this is what the added value of WPS is!!

Creative problem solving, that is structured, easy to follow, built on tools we are already familiar with, and can be conducted in a virtual environment is something definitely worth looking into.

Wicked Problem Solving is now live and I have included the link for you to access. I have not registered yet to take the training. If you have done so already, and would like to share your feedback, please do! I would love to hear from you. And if you are still unsure about Wicked Problem Solving, here is a TED Talk from Tom Wujec 6 years ago!

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