Workshop 2


The second workshop covered:

  • Problem mapping
  • Scenario planning

Problem mapping

The literature mentions a number of tools that could be used to come to ‘clumsy solutions’ for wicked problems. Horn and Weber (2007) introduced ‘Mess Mapping’ and ‘Resolution Mapping’. These complementary approaches each have a long history. Mess Mapping is in fact a form of stakeholder analysis in a visual form that has many similarities with Soft Systems Methodologies. Resolution Mapping is based on a technique known as Scenario Planning which was first introduced by Royal Dutch Shell in the 1970s, and has since been further developed. We adapted these tools to make them more suitable for individual or small group use within the scope of one fairly short session. Our ‘problem mapping’ tool was designed to gain an overview of a Wicked Problem via a form of stakeholder analysis, and to identify areas of common ground via ‘cross-cutting issues analysis’. These areas of common ground may be points were action can be undertaken to work towards solutions for parts of the larger wicked problem.

The concept was operationalised as follows. Participants worked in threes to work with flip chart paper and post-its to construct a view of one stakeholder’s view of the drivers and barriers for RDM. Stakeholders included a number of professional services and researchers. After twenty minutes groups changed stakeholder, and were allowed to adapt/review what the previous group had suggested. They were asked to produce a summary of how the stakeholder saw RDM. A plenary session reviewed the work so far and looked for recurrent themes. Groups then worked on an analysis of one of the themes.

Problem mapping – Stakeholder analysis – Academics in science and engineering
Problem Mapping – Stakeholder analysis – Staff development office
Problem mapping – Stakeholder analysis – Research office
Problem mapping – Stakeholder analysis – Library
Problem mapping – Stakeholder analysis – IT services
Problem mapping – Cross-cutting issues
Problem mapping – Cross-cutting issues – Integrity

Scenario planning

Our ‘scenario planning’ tool – like Horn and Weber’s resolution mapping on which it was based – was intended to be a sequel to problem mapping: it presents a more resolution-oriented way of looking at a Wicked Problem by using simulated hindsight. Each group of participants gets an end state that describes a possible outcome of the Wicked Problem at a given time in the future. Participants are asked to determine how they arrived there.

The exercise was operationalised as follows. The participants were split into three groups. Each were given one of three end-states and a pack of event cards. One end-state was of a fully developed institutional service. Another was of a minimal service based largely on web based advice. The third was a middling solution, with on-going reliance on some support distributed across departments or faculties. The twenty events cards were short descriptions of things that could happen such as: “DAF survey results show strong desire for training in RDM from PhDs and ECRs; Major engineering research group ask to deposit all their data in a local archive. A new PVC research has been appointed. She is a theologian with a keen interest in philology.” Included were two “jokers” which allowed the teams to define events themselves. The task was to pick which events had to occur to achieve the end state and place them in order to construct a narrative of progress towards the end state. The narratives were set out and discussed in a plenary.