Lab Theme 01: Hacking Fuel Poverty

In the 1970's, social scientists Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber defined wicked problems as those incomprehensibly complex and messy issues we have trouble defining, let alone attempting to solve.

Last week we revealed how the Lab was switching to a series of 12 week 'wicked problems' which we would attempt to reframe as 'wicked opportunities'. We'll spend 80% of our time assembling a taskforce of tenants, homeowners, colleagues, partners and entrepreneurs to consider and test radical ideas and solutions.

We can reveal the first problem we'll tackle is that of fuel poverty. 

In 2013, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.35 million, representing approximately 10% of households.

But what if we aimed , through design , education and investment - to eradicate it from our homes? 

It's a big ambition - and unlikely to be achieved. Wicked problems can't be solved - but they can be tamed. 

Between now and January we'll be using a mix of systems thinking, design and working out loud to approach the problem in a non-traditional way. We won't be rushing into solution mode - but looking at the problem as one part of an interconnected system of poverty, loneliness, education, health, ageing and housing.

And once we've framed it we may be looking at solutions from smart tech to tiny homes to organisational redesign. 

We don't know where it will end up - but we'll be sharing everything we discuss openly. A wicked problem cannot be solved by one organisation or one tiny Lab alone.

We need your help - so watch this space!