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Terri A. Lewis (Part 1): Wicked Problems and Systems Thinking

The Social Exchange

Release Date: 11/01/2019

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This is part one of a two-part episode with guest Dr. Terri A. Lewis

Part 1: Wicked Problems and Systems Thinking

Part 2: Civil Suits Against Big Pharma 

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In 2019, virtually countless  cities, counties, and states filed lawsuits against major drug companies-- a sociopolitical trend with no signs of slowing down.

The basis for these lawsuits, according to their many plaintiffs, is two-fold:

1.) Drug companies are responsible for our nation's drug death epidemic, and they deserve to be held accountable.

2.) The money awarded from drug companies to cities/counties/states will be used to fund further community efforts to combat addiction in those respective areas. 

Today's guest, Dr. Terri A. Lewis, believes that, while the sentiment behind these premises may be perfectly good, the premises themselves are ultimately illogical and bound to fall short of success. . . . Or worse! 

Dr. Lewis is a healthcare consultant, helping people solve (or even wrap their minds around) major systematic problems that cannot be fixed through only one solution-- and to which certainly no simple solutions.  These problems are called "Wicked Problems,"  and Terri Lewis believes our nation's addiction and drug-death issues are both facets of a major nation-wide wicked problem!

In part 2 of this interview, Terri Lewis explains that filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical industries are attempts to solve a "wicked problem" with a single simple solution, and under a false set of assumptions. She expresses concern that, while we believe we are making headway in solving a major problem, we may actually be headed in the exact wrong direction-- perhaps even fueling the problem rather than fixing it. 

Part 1 is broader. Before addressing that problem specifically, Terri spent some time educating Zach (and listeners) about the nature of wicked problems and ways of solving said problems using systems-thinking. This crash-course in systems-thinking is what you will hear today.

Stay tuned next week for part 2 of this discussion, when Terri and Zach will talk about some of the major issues underlying the modish trend of attacking drug companies for our problem. They will also offer an alternative way to conceptualize addiction/drug death problems and suggest ways to operationalize a systems-oriented approach to solving them. 

Enjoy Today's Episode:

"Terri A. Lewis (Part 1): Wicked Problems and Systems Thinking"

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