Wicked Problems

Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber introduced the term "wicked problems" in their 1973 seminal paper. The paper describes 10 criteria for what counts as a "wicked problem." In short, "wicked problems" are uncertain, disputed situations that can only be engaged with the difficult process of stakeholder collaboration and consensus building. This describes many issues surrounding sustainability. Below are video resources SMEP has generated about defining and addressing these wicked problems. For further information, explore the other media resources on this website or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Sustainability as a Wicked Problem, Dr. Sandra Batie


The Wicked Problems in Sustainability


Research for Sustainability and Wicked Problems


Wicked Problems and Sustainability: Lessons Learned

Managing Sustainability Seriously: The Lessons from the Transforum Experience, Dr. Chris Peterson

The Wicked Problem of Egg Production and Animal Ethics: A Case Study, Dr. Paul B. Thompson

Wicked Problems and Water Sustainability: A Case Study, Dr. Joan Rose

Wicked Problems and Local Governance: A Case Study, Dr. Mark Skidmore


Wicked Problems and Solar Power and Agriculture: A Case Study, Dr. Rosamond Naylor

Michigan State University Michigan State University Close Menu button Menu and Search button Open Close