- Social Justice Initiative: Just Drum Roll, The University of Texas at El Paso
- "Unleashing the power of positive deviance", devex.com
- "Positive Deviance: An Elegant Solution to a Complex Problem", Curt Lindberg, Thomas Clancy for Managing Organizational Complexity
- "Exceptional responders in conservation", Society for Conservation Biology
- "Positive Deviance in Theory and Practice: A Conceptual Review", Matthew J. Herington, Elske van de Fliert
- "Positive Deviance: A Non-Normative Approach to Health and Risk Messaging", Arvind Singhal, Lucia Dura
- "Book review: The Power of Positive Deviance", The World Bank
- "Quality Improvement Approaches: Positive Deviance", Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
- "The practicalities of change: Positive deviance and land reform in Vanuatu", Developmental Leadership Program
The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems
- Buy the book
- Visit the book website
- Listen to an HBR IdeaCast audio interview with co-author Richard Pascale
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.
- strategy + business - Best Business Books 2010: Management
- Peter Block's review on AbundantCommunity.com
- About.com - "simple and complex", "revolutionary", "extraordinary", "riveting"
- First Friday Book Synopsis - "brilliant"
- Robert Morris - "... the PD approach is almost always the best to take", "a brilliant achievement", "could perhaps save the human race"
- American Academy of Pediatrics Newsletter (December 2011) - a 'must read' book
- "How schools amplify psychological resilience - A Positive Deviance Inquiry", Centrum Media & Gezondheid
- "Transformer l'education..par la deviance positive", Arving Singhal
- "Alcohol use among university students: Considering a positive deviance approach", Journal of Health Psychology
- "Positive deviance: learning from positive anomalies", Paul G. LeMahieu, Lee E. Nordstrum, Dick Gale
- Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World, Ben Ramalingam, Oxford University Press
- "Grow Simple Interactions Inside Everyday Practice", Junlei Li
- "Learning from positively deviant wards to improve patient safety: an observational study protocol", Ruth Baxter, Natalie Taylor, Ian Kellar, Rebecca Lawton
- "Front-line ownership: generating a cure mindset for patient safety", Healthcare Papers
- "La déviance positive : analyse de concept selon l'approche évolutionniste de Rodgers", Josiane Letourneau, Marie Anderson, Chantal Caux, Lucie Richard
- "Value co-creation in healthcare through positive deviance", Cole Zanetti, Natalie Taylor
- "A Practical Guide to Using the Positive Deviance Method in Health Services Research", Adam Rose, Megan McCullough
- "Applying Positive Deviance for Improving Compliance to Adolescent Anemia Control Program in Tribal Communities of India", Vani Sethi, Monique Sternin, Deepika Sharma, Arti Bhanot, Saba Mebrahtu
- "Deviance and resistance Malaria elimination in GMS", Chris Lyttleton
- "The potential of positive deviance approach for the sustainable control of neglected tropical diseases", Tropical Medicine and Health
- "Engaging Community Resilience for Security: Development and Peace building in Afghanistan", Future Generations Afghanistan
- "The Power of Positive Deviance in Compliance", Bruce Horowitz
- "Becoming a 'Positive Outlier': A Case Study of Oman", Developmental Leadership Program
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.