1st Edition

Wicked World
Complex Challenges and Systems Innovation

ISBN 9789001296964
Published December 24, 2020 by Routledge
160 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations

USD $32.95

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Book Description

Wicked World advocates the need to acknowledge the complex contexts in which managers, professionals and policymakers operate. Conventional tools do not serve us well in these new contexts and regularly aggravate the situation. This book offers a systemic perspective in exploring complex challenges and a sensemaking framework to deal with interconnected, persistent problems. Looking beyond the problem; seeking deeper patterns and linkages to other problems; realizing that cause and effect may not be obvious or close by; and that small changes can have major impacts…these are essential steps in operating in a wicked world.

It is time for new perceptions and concepts that can support us. Systems and complexity theories are a starting point for this book. A comprehensive sensemaking framework can guide us in dealing with challenges such as digitalization and robotization impacting businesses, institutions, homes and society as a whole; social inequity and polarizing discourses; obesity, burn-out and cybersecurity.

The first step is to become ‘systems savvy’ – Wicked World takes you on this journey.

Table of Contents



Wicked World

Three Worldviews

Systems intelligence and complexity theories


In conclusion

Systems Analysis

Systems analysis framework





In conclusion

Systems Innovation

Systems innovation framework

Trust, transparency and integrity

Shared awareness and perspectives

Smart systems interventions

Mobilizing allies for change

In conclusion

Policy Innovation

Traditional approaches

New approach

Wicked problems and global policy innovation

Strengthening regions

In conclusion

Who is in Charge?

Leading in complexity

Shifts in the leadership bubble

Span of control: power and influence

The playing field

Who is in charge?

Systems innovation: attitude, demeanour and behaviour

Value driven futures

In conclusion

Moving Forward




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Karel van Berkel is associated with Schouten University of Applied Sciences and Hanze University, Netherlands.

Anu Manickam works for Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, Netherlands.

Together, they are partners at We-Sense, a coaching and consulting organisation in the Netherlands.