Creating a System Map on Wicked Problem

by Calvin Ryu, Nurie Jeong & Kaylee White

01 Introduction

As lots of students are struggling to make a decent portfolio for Confluence and other job fairs, we started our group project by thinking about the problems that jobseekers face. Both jobseekers and recruiters have limited amounts of time. However, while job applicants need to show as much of their qualifications as possible, employers don’t have enough time to look over all of their portfolios and resumes. As a result, jobseekers who can’t show their skills well on their websites/resumes are screened, because HR managers tend to scan them at instant. Hence, we define our ‘wicked’ problem with the following statement: Jobseekers are evaluated by their portfolios, but portfolios don’t reflect all their qualities.

02 Brainstorming

At first, each team member brainstormed our wicked problem and drew a system map. We chose communication error as the major cause of the portfolio effectiveness issue. Employers tend to use too many jargons on their job description/company websites. On the other hand, jobseekers might not be able to understand whom companies want to hire.

03 Expanding the System Map

After that, we shared our brainstorming results and expanded the map during the second brainstorming session. We agreed that both job applicants and recruiters have lots of works to deal with, so we added more related causes and consequences about the time constraint issues of both actors. The communication gap between jobseekers and employers may also exist. Portfolios are required to contain so much information, but considering that HR departments scan them for 5 minutes their format might not be appropriate to select the right candidates.

Based on collected ideas, we made a final draft of our system map. Beyond the job seeking and hiring level, we found that the giant systems of business and capitalism are behind the jobseekers and employers. Companies hire new employees to expand their business, increasing production and improving their products through research. On the other hand, they have to reduce the cost in order to maximize their profit. Consequently, the ‘invisible hand’ affects the wicked problem faced by many jobseekers.

04 Conclusion

Nudging is like the butterfly effect; small and seemingly unrelated change can affect the whole system. Although it is hard for designers to change the great circle of capitalism or business principles, they still nudge individuals to reduce the communication gap; improving the format of portfolios and resumes, simplifying the hiring process, and adopting in-depth assessments might be the solution.

05 Revision

Considering the feedback we received, we expanded the area of our wicked problem and redefined the critical point. Employers don’t invest enough amount of time and money to evaluate their applicants because they pursue cost efficiency, so we chose the ‘infinite demand of business growth’ as the pain point of this problem.