1st Edition

Wicked World Complex Challenges and Systems Innovation

By Karel van Berkel, Anu Manickam Copyright 2021
    160 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    160 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.



    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





    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.