Guru Madhavan on Wicked Problems and Engineering a Better World


Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel, talks with Guru Madhavan, Norman R. Augustine Senior Scholar and Senior Director of Programs at the National Academy of Engineering, about his recent book, Wicked Problems: How to Engineer a Better World (W. W. Norton & Company, 2024). In Wicked Problems, Madhavan draws on a rich body of literature from the humanities and social sciences to think through how engineers can do a better job working on problems that include complex social and technical realities. The pair also talk about how Madhavan came to the National Academy of Engineering after working as an engineer and entrepreneur and some of his future work, including ongoing writing on the importance of maintenance and “grind problems” in engineering.

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Lee Vinsel

Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.

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