Tackling Wicked Problems

Tackling Wicked Problems

The challenge, as Albert Einstein once remarked, is that “the problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” Our generation is faced with many wicked problems that are by definition large, messy, complex and systemic so there are no easy solutions.

Some of yesterday’s attempts to fix these problems generated unforeseen consequences … but not right away. Too often what works in the short-term makes things worse in the long-term, and what works in the long-term makes things worse in the short-term, leaving us confused and frustrated with our attempts to solve the wicked problems.

Tackling Wicked Problems is about helping problem-solvers develop the skills to break through barriers and accomplish meaningful change. After all, we all know that programs and strategies don’t solve problems: people do.

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is committed to moving this important work forward in our community by nurturing a change of mindset across all sectors and encouraging the development of initiatives that bring about real and lasting change.

We are excited to take this journey together! Please contact us with your thoughts, ideas and questions.

Results-Based Accountability

Getting from talk to action

Results-Based Accountability (RBA) uses a data-driven, decision-making process to help communities and organizations get beyond talking about problems to taking action to solve problems. RBA starts with ends and works backward to means. What do we want? How will we recognize it? What will it take to get there? RBA can be used by agencies to improve the performance of their programs and by collaboratives or coalitions striving to achieve shared community-level goals.


The Results-Based Accountability Guide
This Clear Impact publication is based upon concepts and materials developed by Mark Friedman, author of Trying Hard is Not Good Enough and founder and director of the Fiscal Policy Studies Institute.

Trying Hard Is Not Good Enough
By Mark Friedman

Turning Curves
By Mark Friedman

What is Results Based Facilitation (RBF)?
From Building Changes

Results-Based Facilitation: Moving from Talk to Action
Excerpt from Book One Foundation Skills
By Jolie Bain Pillsbury, Ph.D.


Tackling Wicked Problems 2018: Results-Based Accountability Part One by Dorothy Chaney (presentation handouts)

Tackling Wicked Problems 2018: Results-Based Accountability Part Two by Dorothy Chaney (presentation handouts)

Turning The Curve Exercise Template


Baltimore Leadership in Action Program
Community-wide effort to accelerate the city’s efforts to ensure that all Baltimore City children enter school ready to succeed.
 5-Year Action Plan for Achieving School Readiness


RBA Implementation Guide, Tools and Success Stories

Results-Based Accountability 101 Workshop (free video)
From Clear Impact
By Mark Friedman

How RBA is Different from Other Community Change Frameworks? (video)
By Mark Friedman

How Can a Program Prove Impact on a Community? (video)
By Mark Friedman

“Data Walk” Is a Key Tool in Results-Based Leadership by Annie E. Casey Foundation

Considerations When Selecting Data

List of Possible Sources Of Data