2 March 2012

Book: Wicked Problems – Problems Worth Solving

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Austin Center for Design today published a new book focused on the role of design in social entrepreneurship. Titled Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving, the book is presented as a handbook for teaching, learning, and doing meaningful disruptive design work. The book includes an introduction to wicked problems, describing some of the challenges and opportunities of design-led entrepreneurial activities. The text describes the skills necessary for successful entrepreneurship, and offers both methods and curricula for learning how to engage with large scale humanitarian problems.

The book is available for free in its entirety online, at wickedproblems.com, and is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, which allows anyone to use the contents for their own non-commercial purposes.

Author Jon Kolko described the book as both “a call to action and a granting of permission. I’ve found that many designers desperately seek meaning in their work, but for any number of reasons, don’t feel empowered to act as an entrepreneur. Instead, they find themselves in high-paying jobs at famous corporations and consultancies, but doing work that they find boring or, worse, harmful. This book says to those designers, ‘It’s OK to start your own company. It’s OK to do meaningful work. It’s OK to expect more from your life.”

Kolko, formerly a director and principle at global innovation firm frog design, is now the founder of Austin Center for Design (AC4D), a non-profit school in Austin. AC4D teaches interaction design and social entrepreneurship, and graduates from the program go on to form their own double-bottom line companies. Kolko explained that “This book is a glimpse of what we’re thinking about at AC4D. It’s about working on problems that matter; it’s about problems worth solving. We’ve made the full text of the book available online for free in order to help advance the discussion of design-led social entrepreneurship.”

See also: Core77 book review

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