Identifying and coping with digital media project wicked problems
Thursday, November 7, 2019 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Venue: Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa
Room: Marbella
“For every complex question there is a simple answer, and it is wrong.” H.L. Mencken

Computer-based interactive exhibits, immersive digital media, social media plans, website designs, and visitor tracking projects often fit the profile of “wicked problems” and elude our existing repertoire of problem solving strategies. Four different project examples and categories will be discussed: mobile apps, website redesign, social media strategy, and visitation counting.

What are the signs of a wicked problem? 1) There is no consensus on what the problem is. Different stakeholders have different descriptions of the problem. 2) There is no agreement on the solution. 3) Constraints are constantly changing and there are many inter-dependencies. 4) Constraints also arise from interested parties that may come and go, change their minds, mis-communicate, or change the ‘rules’ of solving the problem. Panelists and their projects are evenly divided between internal museum staff and consultancies and each will describe what made their project a wicked problem. They will call out what has and hasn't been successful in dealing with the problem and project. Possible approaches to cope with wicked problems will also be addressed such as creative engagement, systems thinking, learning and collaboration, and incremental experimentation.

Session Type
60-Minute Session (Professional Forum or Hands-on Demonstration)
Chatham House Rule
Key Outcomes
1) recognize the characteristics of a “wicked problem” project
2) temper expectations, avoid over-promising
3) understand that while resolution may not be possible, progress can made from investigations, incremental understanding, and reduction of some uncertainties
Session Leader : Claire Pillsbury, Program Director, Exploratorium
Panelist : Lynda Kelly, Director, LyndaKellyNetworks
Speaker : Pip Gilbert, VP Product, Dexibit
Panelist : Ryan Dodge, Head of Digital Experiences, Canadian Museum of History