Angela Greco, Frank Berkers, and Andrea Kerstens
How ‘wicked’ is your mission actually?
In the last few years, many organisations of public and private origin representing the ecosystem (Cobben et al., 2022) have joined forces to combat societal challenges by means of mission-driven innovation (Wanzenböck et al., 2020). Although the organisation and collaboration among such organisations and individuals are already extremely challenging, we noticed in practice that such collaborations consider their environments wicked problems (Rittel & Webber, 1973). Yet, we also found that collaboration leaders also struggle to understand the complexity of the problem context they are facing at a deeper level (Levin et al., 2012; Mohaghegh & Furlan, 2020) and consequently struggle to design an adequate solution development and innovation strategy (Kemp & Loorbach, 2006; Irwin, 2015; Wanzenböck et al., 2020).
However, we also observe that the contexts (Soliman & Saurin, 2017) and ecosystems of these mission-driven collaborations differ. For example, the shift to preventive healthcare has different properties than the shift to a processing industry that is capable of dealing with periods of abundant renewable electrical energy.
Based on the literature, we identified different dimensions that help to identify the complexity of the problem (e.g., convergent or divergent views on problem and solution (Wanzenböck et al., 2020), ecosystem structure, stakeholder complexity, stakeholder interdependence (Cobben et al., 2022).
In this workshop, we first introduce the context of large-scale public-private impact-driven innovation collaborations (we refer to them as ‘orchestrating innovation’) and discuss the type of challenges these collaborations are addressing. Next, we explore with the participants the challenges of problem classification and design of solution development and innovation strategies in the context of mission-driven innovations. We introduce and experiment with novel approaches based on evolutions of the Cynefin framework (Snowden & Boone, 2007) and other problem-solution classification approaches (as mentioned above). This interactive part consists of several iterations of 1) stylised problem introduction of different domains, 2) problem-solution classification, and 3) discussion with the participants on their responses.
The workshop is of interest to professionals working in the context of systemic change, mission-driven innovation, innovation hubs and networks aimed at societal change. The workshop outputs contribute to the development of a practical framework to support the strategising in impact-driven collaborative public-private innovation networks.
KEYWORDS: orchestrating innovation, problem classification, complexity