Horst Rittel

Horst W. J. Rittel (1930 – 1990) was a German-born design theorist and university professor, educated as a theroretical physicist. He is best-known (along with M. Webber) for coining the term ‘wicked problem’, but his influence on design theory and practice was also much wider. In 1963 Rittel went to Berkeley. In 1973 he also joined the University of Stuttgart in Germany.

In his work he also thought about information systems and developed a planning/design method known as IBIS (Issue-Based Information System) for handling wicked problems. With his German colleague Werner Kunz Rittel also wrote a book on the foundation of information science in Germany (Werner Kunz and Horst Rittel, Die Informationswissenschaften: ihre Ansätze, Probleme, Methoden und ihr Ausbau in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, München 1972).

A short biography about Horst Rittel in the publication “University of California: In Memoriam, 1992 : A publication of the Academic Senate, University of California, Information on this publication may be obtained by contacting the Academic Senate Office on any of the University of California campuses / David Krogh, Editor”

Werner Kunz and Horst W. J. Rittel, Issues as elements fo information systems. Working Paper No. 131
July 1970, reprinted May 1979, University of California, Berkeley

Chanpory Rith and Hugh Dubberly, ‘Why Horst W. J. Rittel Matters’, Design Issues 23 (2007)1, 72-91.