It’s Wicked – Week 2

Written 12/05/2016

Another excellent session today.  There were 11 of us in the room and a good selection of organisations represented.  We discussed the “wicked problems” paper and our own experiences of this type of problem in our work.  Conversation regularly returned to subject of “inappropriate” and “unnecessary” A&E attendances and admissions.

For those of you who couldn’t make it to the meeting, and weren’t able to pick up the print outs for this week’s reading, I’ve attached the papers for you.  There is a zip file containing a selection of short papers/notes on different aspect of properties of systems.  In particular, I’d like us to focus on thinking about system “purpose” in advance of our next meeting. Here are some links:




Boundary and Environment

The paper on “purpose” uses a pen as an example.  I’d like it If we could think of the example of a GP practice (it’s probably the part of the NHS everyone is most familiar with) and try to define its purpose.  Please have a think about that before we meet again.  It’s actually a pretty tricky example for us to begin with, but let’s challenge ourselves and go for it. It will at least surface some interesting issues I think.  So, what is the “purpose” of a GP practice???????

When we discussed wicked problems and the cycle of over “studying” problems and “paralysis through analysis” we covered the option of modelling and simulation of potential solutions as being a productive approach.  I thought I’d send out this short video clip.  It’s a basic simulation put together by a fellow systems thinker called Simon Dodds.   It’s only 5 or so minutes long, so do have a look.

Simon is someone to keep an eye on.  He’s very heavily into using systems appraoches for quality improvement including system dynamics approaches and writes a very good weekly blog, which is well worth following:

As ever, please do just get in touch if there’s any aspect of any of this you’d like to discuss more.  If you’re in Castlewood, we can always discuss over lunch, or if not, just call me.


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