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VCD 1200: Design Thinking

Wicked Problem Project

Step 1: Pick a 'wicked problem' that interests you.

Remember a wicked problem can be broad or complex social issue like poverty, racism, abortion, junk food, genetically modified organisms, and much more!

Need some help with ideas? These sites provide great topic lists and give multiple perspectives & viewpoints:


Step 2: Research your topic thoroughly and comprehensively!

1) Start with background research using encyclopedia entries to help define and fully understand your topic.

2) Brainstorm keywords related to your topic.  Think of synonyms and related terms. Use a thesaurus if needed.  

  • For example, pretend you're researching genetically modified organisms. Some related terms would be: 
    • GMOs
    • genetic engineering
    • biotechnology
    • genetic structure
  • Or if you were searching junk food, you might also search:
    • fast food
    • take out
    • snacks
    • unhealthy foods

3) Examine multiple points of view and avoid confirmation bias.

  • Use the resources listed above, like Opposing Viewpoints and ProCon.Org. Read from news sources across the political spectrum, if researching a political topic. 

4) Find both qualitative and quantitative research on your topic.

For qualitative research, look at surveys, interviews, and public opinion polls:

For quantitative research, look for statistics, figures, charts, graphs, and published reports. 


Step 3: Visualize connections and hierarchies between concepts for your topic.

Use your mind map to bring your research together visually.