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As the world faces a growing number of existential challenges, our governments and institutions are failing us precisely at the moment we need them most. What if we could come together to work on identifying and developing public, common-good solutions to the world’s most urgent wicked problems?

It’s time to re-design society by tackling the Wicked 7. What might that look like?

We call them the “Wicked 7” because they are key components of the “ecosystem of wicked problems” – intertwined and not easily solved – and yet, these are the very problems we must solve if we are to have a future.

The Death of Nature: the interlinked global crisis of environmental impacts and weather-related events — heat waves, forest fires, flooding, hurricanes, ecosystem degradation and collapse, pollution, and species extinction.

Inequality: the various forms of inequality — economic, social, and inequality is a way to measure social and gender inequality. The growing gap between the 1% and the rest of the population creates an unequal and unjust society.

Hate & Conflict: the growing intolerance and hate fueled by racism, sexism, and extremism. Includes identity-based or ideological groups which create social unrest and commit acts of terror. Conflict includes militarism, the culture of war, armies, arms-profits, policies, plans, propaganda, prejudices, and rationalizations that lead to lethal group conflict.

Power & Corruption: the abuse of power—individual and systemic. Dishonest conduct by those in power or those seeking to influence them. Includes fraud and bribery.  Corruption creates a system that governs not for the many, but for the few.

Work and Technology: the future of work, data and surveillance. The growing digital divide, digital monopolies and exploitation. Includes the use of media to create false narratives for politics and profit. Robots and automation and the policies to govern the “intelligent” economy.

Health and Livelihood: the worldwide challenge of public wellbeing – economic and physical health. Includes the economy, employment, education, and the new skills and capabilities required to “make a living.”

Population & Migration: the domestic and global population growth leads to increased conflicts over water, energy, food, open space, transportation, and schooling.  Carrying capacity, the number of people, other living organisms, or crops that a region can support without environmental degradation – becomes a key metric for local and national wellbeing.   Also includes the growing problem of refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from the “Global South.”

The Wicked 7 — for illustrative purposes

We view the Wicked 7 Project as a design project to save humanity from itself.

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