Finding solutions for ‘wicked’ problems in public policy

Published 25 March 2008

Finding solutions to ‘wicked’ problems in public policy will be the focus of a one-day colloquium being hosted by Southern Cross University at the Byron Bay Community and Cultural Centre on March 31.

The ageing population, environmental degradation, infrastructure coordination and homelessness are just some of the ‘wicked’ public policy areas that all tiers of government face, according to Professor Neal Ryan, Southern Cross University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) and chair of the colloquium.

“Climate change is one example that is always on the front page of the newspapers. Indigenous health is another major public policy area that governments can’t achieve acceptable outcomes in,” Professor Ryan said.

“Normally wicked problems are big public policy issues that will not go away. Typically, they span a range of public sector agencies and several tiers of government.”

Professor Ryan said the colloquium would be a series of strategic conversations about the issues, dilemmas and ways to resolve the wicked problems facing public organisations.

“We are bringing together leading academics from around the world who will be able to provide suggestions for dealing with these problems through means such as coordination and cooperation across government,” he said.

Among the speakers will be: Associate Professor Joop Koppenjan, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands; Emeritus Professor Myrna Mandell, California State University; Associate Professor David Pickernell, University of Glamorgan, Wales; Professor Kerry Brown and Dr Robyn Keast, Queensland University of Technology; and Professor Brian Head, University of Queensland.

The colloquium is being held at the Byron Bay Community and Cultural Centre, Johnson Street, on Monday, March 31 from 10am. The cost for the colloquium is $80. Please go to to register. For enquiries contact Leanne Stewart at

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.