Pittsburgh, a sports town, needs to support its citizens, families and athletes in efficient, economical ways so programs and individuals thrive. Improving the city’s recreational landscape, especially for the often neglected sectors of the city, requires the building of the appropriate political will in these human endeavors. Furthermore, the building and changes must include a suite of collective beliefs in technical aspects.
All in all, the quagmire becomes a design problem with complicated, multi-dimensional aspects that spans age groups, abilities, interests, facilities, institutions, and budgets.
Pittsburgh’s sports overhaul is a wicked design challenge.
A report on design thinking deﬁnes wicked design challenges as a “class of social system problems which are ill-formulated, where the information is confusing, where there are many clients and decision makers with conﬂicting values, and where the ramiﬁcations in the whole system are thoroughly confusing” (Churchman, 1967 , p. 141).
One positive outcome is the building of a collective belief, especially among consequential stakeholders. Municipal government, county services, school districts, coaches, volunteers, college admissions ofﬁcers, employers, educators, families and learners are needed for engagement and eventual prosperity.
The challenge of building a collective belief is a far more complicated design challenge than making a new slogan with team t-shirts.
The courses, interactions, pathways, playlists and experiences at Play.CLOH.org offer visual designs with digital badges, yet the movement is surprisingly complex. Badge system design demands more effort than a series of web activities and services. As Play.CLOH.org efforts are designed to function across institutional and other types of boundaries, the meta mission with an entire open badge infrastructure makes the complexity of the struggle and its design task exponentially confusing.