The Wicked7 Project Meets the #ForkintheRoad

What are we going to do now?  The #forkintheroad which Buckminster Fuller warned us about is here now >> “Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment… Humanity is in a final exam as to whether or not it qualifies for continuance in the Universe.” 

What will it take to leap across the chasm and undo the destruction we’ve caused? Why can’t the UN fix it?

We’re hurtling into a state of climate emergency whilst we simultaneously face the convergence of the Wicked7.

What are the Wicked7? The world’s most urgent problems.

We’ve distilled over 200 problems into the Wicked7:

  • The Death of Nature
  • Inequality
  • Hate & Conflict
  • Power & Corruption
  • Work and Technology
  • Health and Livelihood
  • Population & Migration

You can’t solve wicked problems. That’s what we’ve been led to believe. And for years, we haven’t. Solve them, that is.

Well, if not now, then when?

Wicked problems must have virtuous solutions. If any lesson has emerged from this COVID-19 pandemic, it is this: we must address the urgent problems of the world now, or perish. Why? Because COVID-19 is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg… the ecosystem of wicked problems will not wait.

After working on this idea for over a year, Philip Kotler and I kicked off the Wicked7 Challenge on April Fool’s Day, 2021.

Our first challenge? The Death of Nature.

Join us >>

P.S. – Bucky Fuller was wrong. Thanks to Sonmoy, one of our W7 advisors, we now see that there’s a triple fork in the road, and utopia is simply no longer an option. What we must fight for is survival.

Leverage Points: Where to Intervene in an Ecosystem

Once again, it is useful to study the past to learn what applies here to our ecosystematic journeys. Of particular interest is the work of Donella Meadows, who taught us how to focus on having the most impact on a system (Bill Gates, listen up!) >>

Where to intervene:

12. Constants, parameters, numbers (such as subsidies, taxes, standards).
11. The sizes of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows.
10. The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport networks, population age structures).
9. The lengths of delays, relative to the rate of system change.
8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the impacts they are trying to correct against.
7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops.
6. The structure of information flows (who does and does not have access to information).
5. The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishments, constraints).
4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure.
3. The goals of the system.
2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises.
1. The power to transcend paradigms.

Read all about it >>

The 11th Type of Innovation

I still think of Larry Keeley‘s 10 types of innovation – and think about how the model can be applied to social innovation – to meet the “unmet needs” of society.

The 11th type of innovation is purpose – to what ends are your capabilities and talents being deployed? Are you inclusive or is your company supporting new forms of apartheid? That is what Brand Activism, and by extension – the Wicked7 Project – are about.

Multi-stakeholder Jobs to be Done

One of the points of the Wicked7 Project is to demonstrate how we have a shared responsibility — business, government, and social institutions — to work together for the future of the planet.

By definition, solving society’s most urgent problems is a balancing act between the various requirements and needs of the different stakeholders across all sectors.  Our policy-making must be driven by this idea of balance if it is to create a sustainable and resilient society.


Read >> The Unmet Needs of Society: Introducing Multi-stakeholder Jobs to be Done by Christian Sarkar, Anthony Ulwick, and Philip Kotler.

Politicians and Decision-Making

We are now at that point in history where collapse seems inevitable: political, social, environmental, civilizational. The decisions our politicians make are killing us.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”Proverbs 29:18

In Texas, we can applaud our fearless Governor Greg Abbott and his Republican mafia for destroying any pretense of serving the public good (see exhibits A and B). Every decision made by leaders in the Republican Party is made based on ideology, not reason, science, or even common sense. Some argue we live in the Age of Social Murder. The Democrats, for their part, are slightly better — but certainly not equal to the task which lies ahead.

It’s time to depoliticize decision-making.

Either that, or our time is up.

The Pyramid of Love: can we escalate peace and justice?

The work of leadership has never been more clear: it is to bridge the gap — across all boundaries — and to create a way forward for the common good. The pyramid of love reminds us that it is possible to resolve conflicts and escalate peace.

Says David Hinds of Steel Pulse: “Where there is no love, there can be no justice; and where there is no justice, there will never be peace.”

That about sums it up.

(RE)VISIONing

2021 has already shown us that the wickedness of 2020 was just the beginning. The “new normal” is that there is no “new normal.”

The job of leadership now is (re)visioning – rethinking what it means to live in an age of collapse.

We will explore this topic in an article we’re writing (Phil Kotler and I) on the leadership we need now. This is also part of the agenda for The Wicked7 Project.