Below are recent publications on Positive Deviance including articles, books and blogs that caught our eyes.

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The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems


Book Summary

Think of the toughest problems in your organization or community. What if hey’d already been solved, and you didn’t even know it? 

In this inspiring and paradigm-shifting book, Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin, and Monique Sternin turn conventional ideas about problem-solving upside down and reveal a counterintuitive new approach. Their advice? Harness the power of “positive deviants”—the few individuals in a group who find unique ways to look at, and overcome, seemingly insoluble problems. Positive deviants see solutions where others don’t. And they’re the key to spreading and sustaining needed change.

With vivid, first-hand stories of how positive deviance has alleviated some of the world’s toughest problems (including malnutrition in Vietnam and staph infections in hospitals), the authors illuminate this approach’s core principles and practices, including:

  • Initiating an open, curious inquiry into the nature of the problem

  • Using innovative behaviors to shape new thinking, rather than vice versa

  • Confounding the organizational “immune response” seeking to sustain the status quo

  • The Power of Positive Deviance unveils a powerful new way to tackle the thorniest challenges in your own company and community.


About the Authors

Richard Pascale is an associate fellow at Said Business School, and author or co-author of numerous books, including Managing on the Edge. 

Jerry Sternin was the world’s leading expert in the application of Positive Deviance as a tool for addressing social and behavioral change.

Monique Sternin has been an equal partner in these efforts and now heads the Positive Deviance Institute at Tufts University.




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Wisdom Series

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The Positive Deviance Wisdom Series is a collection of powerful stories about how the Positive Deviance (PD) approach has been used in the field. The Positive Deviance Initiative, in collaboration with the Social Justice Initiative in the Department of Communication at University of Texas El Paso, invites readers to explore the use of the Positive Deviance approach to address intractable social problems with local resources and wisdom.  

These highly illustrated, and captivating case studies document the use of Positive Deviance approach to reduce malnutrition in Vietnam, increase school retention in Argentina, reintegrate child soldiers and vulnerable girls in Uganda, and reduce hospital acquired infections in the United States. Please share widely with students, scholars, and practitioners who value asset-based, culturally-appropriate, and indigenous wisdom approaches to social change.  

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