Migration, poverty, racism, loneliness, ect. All these urgent issues are ‘wicked problems’ existing in the social domain. Wicked problems are, as firtsly defined by professor Horst Rittel and professor Melvin Webber in 1973, ‘a class of social systems problems which are ill-formulated, where the information is confusing, where there are many clients and decision makers with conflicting values, and where the ramifications in the whole system are thoroughly confusing’.

In order to positively change the status quo of wicked problems a new approach is needed. Different from the one most policymakers are used to: an approach based on liniar and analytical thinking. This “old” approach has proven to be inadequate when dealing with the uncertainty, social complexity and interactivity of wicked problems.


Design for Humanity wants to solve wicked problems and realize social innovation through design thinking. Design for Humanity believes design thinking and co-creation are approaches more than capable of impacting wicked problems and, in doing so, better people’s lives.

That is why every year we choose one wicked problem to work on. Together with creatives, experts and users we want to find new solutions to tackle the problem. This can be products, services, interventions or a combination!


Previous wicked problems were the refugee crisis (2015-2016) and loneliness of elderly (2016-2017). This year we will work on democracy! Find all about it here.