skip to Main Content

Abstract

Agency in a White Water World

In a conference on “Systems Perspectives in Design,” held in Banff, Canada, October 2015, Don Norman presented probably the best description so far of the characteristics that define “wicked” problems. He also initiated a meme that ran throughout the conference when he referenced Charles Lindblom’s complex problem solving mechanism of “muddling through.” This was an approach to public policy formulation which recognized that when dealing with complex socio-technical problems one could not plan definitively, but instead, must just muddle through – “doing well the little things that come up” to make progress. This is a tactical heuristic approach with merit in its bottom up humility and its desire for moving forward through action. And small things, done well, do scale. For Lindblom, ‘muddling through’ was “not a failure or method for which administrators ought to apologize,” but a step-by- step system of successive limited comparisons that aimed for incremental sequential change. It was prescient in that it recognized that contexts change as you do anything to them.

Read Next

Dan Makoski (Walmart)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 4:00 PM
Improbable by Design: Creating a Culture of Bold Risk-Taking for Good
CSE1202 on the UCSD Campus
Design Lab Uc San Diego Safiya Noble Design At Large

Safiya Noble (University of Southern California)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 4:00 PM
Your Search Algorithm is Political
CSE 1202 on the UCSD campus

Dave Ackley (University of New Mexico)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 4:00 PM
Living Computation & Postdeterministic Digital Design
CSE1202 on the UCSD Campus
Back To Top