I am noted for having an unusual way of approaching problems. In fact, over a decade ago, someone leaned across the cube wall to me at my first real project and said “I need your non-linear approach to help me solve this problem”.

I still consider that the greatest compliment that I have ever received.
Then I stumbled across this post, which quotes the paper Wicked Problems: Naming the Pain in Organizations

“The natural pattern of human problem solving appears chaotic on the surface, but it is the chaos of an earthquake or the breaking of an ocean wave. It reveals deeper forces and flows that have their own order and pattern. The non-linear pattern of activity that expert designers follow gives us fresh insight into what happens when we work on a complex problem. It reveals that in normal problem-solving behaviour, we may seem to wander about, making only halting progress toward the solution. This non-linear process is not a defect, not a sign of stupidity or lack of training, but rather the mark of a natural learning process. It suggests that humans are oriented more toward learning (a process that leaves us changed) than toward problem solving (a process focused on changing our surroundings).”

Have you and your team solved any wicked problems lately?

Johnnie Moore extracts another salient quote from the original paper. He focuses on the last sentence of the large quote above.

I am searching for those things that leave me changed.