How to Solve Ill-Defined Problems - Jon Kolko

In Chapter 10 of 17 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, designer and educator Jon Kolko shares how he thinks about well-defined, ill-defined, and wicked problems. Kolko sees wicked problems as more likely to be mitigated than solved. Ill-defined problems, however, can be solved, though, as he notes, not algorithmically. Kolko notes the value in bringing interdisciplinary approaches to solve the ill-defined problems and finding satisfaction working on them to the point of exhaustion. Kolko is the executive director of design strategy at venture accelerator, Thinktiv ( He is the founder and director of the Austin School for Design ( Previously, he worked at frog design and was a professor of Interactive and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He has authored multiple books on design. Kolko earned his Masters in Human Computer Interaction (MHI) and BFA in Design from Carnegie Mellon University.