Designing for Health Promotion, Social Innovation, and Complexity: The CoNEKTR Model for Wicked Problems



Global health care and promotion in the twenty-first century faces challenges posed by aging populations, mass migration, environmental threats, and the rise of new types of infectious diseases; issues that are interconnected, dynamic in nature, and without precedent. These are commonly calledwicked problems: ones that are complex, ill formulated, “joined-up”, confusing, and require multi-party collaboration to address [1]. Wicked or complex problems are resistant to the linear and simple solutions sets that are often employed in health systems that typically come with a push towards models of best practice and evidence-based medicine [2, 3]. While these solution sets demonstrate utility in certain areas pertaining to healthcare, they typically fail when applied to health promotion and population health [4] which commonly deal with multi-causal, contextually bound, and dynamic problems. It is for this type of problem space that complexity science and systems thinking are most appropriate [5]. In terms of action, it is often the place frequented by designers [6].


Migration Recombination Marketing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.CENSE Research + DesignTorontoCanada

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