The trigger for the formation of our organization was an online discussion in the forum available to members of the Sigma Xi scientific society. The topic threads swirled around the underlying science of global warming, the indicators for anthropogenic fingerprints, ideas for how to stop global warming and the barriers to action. Global warming and the actions needed to solve it were so complex and messy that the only methods we could imagine that could solve the problem in time involved a very messy and complex mix of technical, social , economic, ideological and intertwined issues of timing. To make matters worse, the triggers to unleash very significant impacts from the effects of global warming are much closer in time than the impacts themselves. And once the trigger points have been passed, the metaphorical global warming bullet has left the gun and there is no way to reverse the shot.
We began to contemplate what could be done and collectively realized that the only methodology we knew of that could handle this type of problem was called wicked problem solving. Alan Emery agreed to lead a small group of volunteers to explore the idea. Initially we worked within the Sigma Xi forum, then we moved to an online series of discussion using simple emails. Sigma Xi declined to see us as a project that fell within its purview so we decided to form an independent group and set up our own website and action-oriented wicked problem approaches to reducing the risks associated with global warming.
As it happened, three of us had experience in the use of wicked problem techniques: Alan Emery uses route and message mapping, Derle Smith uses the principles of Lean Six Sigma, and Dick Hutchinson uses a process of focus group analysis. Our group began working on integrating these three approaches.