01The Brief

Wicked Problems

Part of our BA Honours in Creative Brand Communication was the Creative Brand Communication Module, where we were tasked with conceptualising and creating a solution to a complex social issue, also known as a wicked problem, in South Africa.

A wicked problem can be described as a complex social issue that cannot be defined due to the vastness of the problem, its constant evolution and its connection to a host of other smaller problems. Thus the problem is seen as unsolvable.

02My Challenge

On The Problem

When selecting the problem/challenge, I decided to do what is known as a root cause analysis where I moved backwards from one problem to the next by linking one problem as the root cause of another, until I finally found a problem I felt was the root cause for a host of other problems. That was the problem I wanted to create a solution for.


I started with the problem of poverty, an issue that is extremely prevalent in South Africa and something that I am always saddened by, with thousands of South Africans going to sleep hungry every night.


The logical root cause for poverty is unemployment. In South Africa we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the world....


I then tried to think about what the root cause for unemployment could be. Naturally it was due, on a larger sense, to education. Therefore I decided my 'wicked' problem should revolve around education, as it was something that I knew, without having to do much secondary research, was a serious problem in South Africa. I therefore proceeded to investigate the problem further, as well as narrow it down to something I could work with.


From the wicked problem of education, I narrowed down the problem even further. I thought about what the key starting point is to becoming educated. That key starting point is literacy. Having the ability to read is fundamental to learning and gaining new knowledge. Without the ability to read, children and even adults who have grown up illiterate, are unable to progress and advance their studies. I thought about how lucky I am to be able to read and write, and how I take it for granted, everyday. Thus, with my wicked problem narrowed down, I then decided to conduct some research on illiteracy and establish just how big a problem it is in our country, focusing on where it all starts, with the youth.