Dr. John Camillus - Strategy as a Wicked Problem

Dr. John Camillus, professor of strategy and former Associate Dean at the Katz Graduates School of Business at the University of Pittsburg and author of Wicked Strategies (https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Strategies-Complexity-Competitors-Rotman-UTP/dp/1442650559) has spent two decades studying the challenge of building strategy in fast-paced, complex, and uncertain environments and helping clients do so.

He argues that fundamentally, large companies and traditional strategy approaches are ill-equipped to deal with the uncertain that we must compete in today. Strategy today is akin to solving a "wicked problem." Wicked problems are beyond complex. And Camillus wrote in a Harvard Business Review article, "A wicked problem has innumerable causes, is tough to describe, and doesn’t have a right answer, as we will see in the next section."

So how do find strategies to win? The key is to shift your approach.

  • Don't sell answers, identify the problems that matter and engage people in collaboratively solving them
  • Don't define yourself by your industry but by your identity
  • Don't work with current capabilities, work with future ones
  • Don't predict the future, create it


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