Wicked Problems - Social Messes

The first comprehensive treatment of GMA

Wicked Problems/Social Messes

Decision Support Modelling
with Morphological Analysis

Tom Ritchey

Springer, July 2011
Amazon Book Review by John L. Peterson (The Arlington Institute) September 5, 2011

* * * * *  "Absolutely necessary for futures research"

"This book presents the theory and process of how to use the computer to analyze very complex social situations that do not lend themselves to simplistic scenario analysis. It therefore provides an extraordinary view into a methodology that has great applications for very important situations, whether for governments, businesses or research institutes. The principles and methodologies of this book have been practically used for developing national early warning systems for governments, so the approach is well tested and shown to be very effective."


This is the first dedicated book to be published on computer-aided General Morphological Analysis (GMA). It presents the history and theory of GMA and describes how it is used to develop interactive, non-quantified inference models. Ten case studies are presented — out of more than 100 projects carried out since 1995 — illustrating how GMA has been employed for structuring complex policy and planning issues, developing scenario and strategy laboratories, and analysing organisational and stakeholder structures.

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. General Morphological Analysis (GMA)
  3. Wicked Problems and Genuine Uncertainty
  4. Modelling Complex Policy Issues with Morphological Analysis
  5. Strengths, Limitations and Advanced Topics
  6. On the Formal Properties of Morphological Models
  7. Facilitating GMA workshops
  8. GMA Case Studies
    • Evaluating Preparedness for Chemical Accidents
    • Transport Disruption Scenario Laboratory
    • The Governance of Scientific and Technological Development
    • Anonymous Communication over the Internet
    • Nordic Energy Scenarios Framework
    • Electricity Grid Sabotage Scenarios
    • Multi-Hazard Disaster Reduction Strategies
    • Youth, Criminality and Social Exclusion in Sweden
    • Municipal Accident Strategies Model
    • Market Evaluation Template for a Govt. Authority
    • Modelling the Bioethics of Drug Redevelopment
  9. About Fritz Zwicky
  10. Glossary of Terms
  11. References and Further Reading
The Author
Dr. Tom Ritchey is a former Research Director for the Swedish Defence Research Agency in Stockholm. He is a methodologist and facilitator who works with decision support modelling under genuine uncertainty. In 1995 he developed advanced computer support for Morphological Analysis and has carried out over 100 projects for Swedish government authorities, NGOs and private companies. He is founder of the Swedish Morphological Society, head of Ritchey Consulting AB and a founding partner of the UK based Strategy Foresight Partnership.

Swedish Morphological Society - Book Description