“Wicked Problem Innovation” is a new, innovative, cross-disciplinary course that brings together graduate students from Pitt Law, the Katz School of Business, and other units across the University of Pittsburgh to engage deeply in a selected acute problem that faces Pittsburgh and the broader world. “Wicked” problems are stubborn, complex societal and business challenges – like global climate change, income disparity, inclusive economic growth, and universal healthcare. These problems arise from a variety of causes and affect multiple stakeholder groups, each of which has a different idea of how the problem arises and what can be done to improve it. While it is likely not possible to “solve” these problems in a traditional sense, it is possible to make sustained progress in tackling them.
Course participants will research the selected problem from legal, business, historical, and other perspectives, identify and consult with stakeholders, and ultimately design a process to improve progress on the selected problem. During the course, students will learn to work collaboratively with peers and instructors from a variety of disciplines, and will practice a host of practical skills, including interviewing witnesses and clients, negotiating outcomes, and actively problem solving across a range of subject matter areas. Additionally, students will gain substantial and deep contacts in local, state, and potentially national, government, nonprofit, and business communities. Students will come away from the course will critical skills in working collaboratively across subject matter boundaries and experience creating an innovative problem-solving process from the ground up.