A wicked problem is:
a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing [variables] that are often difficult to recognize.
According to Jeff Conklin (via Wikipedia), the defining characteristics of a wicked problem include:
- The solution depends on how the problem is framed and vice-versa (i.e. the problem definition depends on the solution).
- Stakeholders have radically different world views and different frames for understanding the problem.
- The constraints that the problem is subject to and the resources needed to solve it change over time.
- The problem is never solved definitively.
I don’t know about you, but sounds like obesity to me!