It’s 2002, and I’m sitting at my desk in a corner of the newsroom. The place smells of old ink, stale coffee and burnt microwave popcorn. I don’t want to write anything today, and that’s a problem.
My job is to have an opinion, five days a week, boldly stated in 48-point type atop A2. I’d planned to write about the chronically poor test results of local students, but I find myself in a pickle: I don’t agree with anyone in this story. Each person I interviewed claims the problem lies solely with the other guy. It’s the only thing they can agree on. I’ve written this story too many times and not just about education.
I’d heard the same blame game for other big issues: job losses, business uncertainty, crumbling infrastructure, urban and rural land use, anti-racism, gender discrimination, Indigenous rights, and climate change. Different issues, same cast of characters, same results: deadlock, division and distrust.
There has to be a better way I thought, so I set out to find it.
Over the past two decades, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people, stood behind barricades and in front of boardroom tables, been put in my place and under the spotlight. I’ve created award-winning programs, wrote a best-seller, wiped some tears and shared some laughs, all in service to uncovering stories that bring a diversity of people and perspectives together to explore complicated, contentious and controversial issues, otherwise known as wicked problems.
I’ve written for a bunch of publications, been a guest speaker on radio and TV, won a few awards, and these days I’m deeply involved in the ‘business as a force for good movement’, as a certified BCorp and as the co-lead of We The Change, the BCorp women CEO and executive leaders group.
I grew up near the shores of Lake Ontario and now live 10 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean with my husband, daughter and our 66-pound mutt Wesley. Be forewarned if you come to visit, he’s a hugger.
Are you ready to take charge of your Wicked Ideas?