Special Edition Issue: Spring 2019


Special Edition Spring 2019 Issue

In this special edition issue, we announce the renaming of the Positive Deviance Initiative to the Positive Deviance Collaborative.
Additionally, we feature two PD Facilitators, Lars Thusen and Michèle Dabaghian, who will be sharing their learnings from their work.

In this issue:
Spring Announcements   |   Voices from the Field  |   New Publications


Spring Announcements

The New Positive Deviance Collaborative

From 2008-2012, the PD Initiative was funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation that allowed for it to focus on diversification and training. With the dissolve of the Positive Deviance Initiative in 2014, a new international PD Collaborative was launched towards the end of 2017. The renaming is now reflected throughout the website.

The website still intends to keep PD practitioners, researchers and fans informed on the latest projects, studies and other activities related to the PD approach. In addition, this platform aims to connect PD “experts” and different PD networks with each other. However, it does rely on input from the PD community to keep it up-to-date.

For any correspondence, please contact us through email.

Early Stages of the Positive Deviance Research Collaborative

Within the last decade, there has been a sharp increase of PD concept based research in many fields. In the short term, PDRC proposes to inform PD studies conducted by others, establish a broader evidence base, review the efficacy and effectiveness of the PD approach, focusing on PD programming sectors selected by the PDRC members, such as public and global health, health care, education and possibly some frontier sectors such as climate change and population migration.

While PDRC does not aim to be a research center, we are committed to supporting research, which involve PD conceptions. As the theory of PD evolves and the collective vision matures, the scientific foundation, its concepts and strategies have to be systematized and evaluated to meet the burden of proof with funding entities and broad professional organizations and to amplify the impact of PD. Click to learn more about PDRC.

*If you are a researcher who has previously used the PD concept and approach and would like to contribute to the development of PDRC, please fill out this short questionnaire!


Voices from the Field

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Lars Thuesen

Founder and Change Leader, Welfare Improvement Network

Lars Thuesen is a change leader with over 20 years of experience as a leader and senior civil servant, facilitator and consultant in the public sector. In his work the focus is on what already works well to create sustainable solutions in the communities. He leads and facilitates change processes combining different co-creation and community based approaches to obtain the best possible impact.

12 Years of Facilitating Complex Social Change Processes with the Positive Deviance Approach

My team and I have been fortunate to help facilitate solving complex social problems using the positive deviance approach for the last 12 years, firstly with the Danish Prison Service, later with UN agencies, international and local NGO’s in the Balkans and Palestine. Here are 3 key things we have learned over the years:

1. Let go of control – from managers to leaders and facilitators of social change

2. Enlarge solution spaces by distributing ownership at multiple levels

3. Community involvement in all phases of the innovation processes: communities define problems, discover PD solutions, and develop monitoring tools to keep track of progress... (click to keep reading)

Michèle Dabaghian

M. Dabaghian Advisory, International Marketing & Communications, Change Management & Business Development

Michèle is a multicultural and versatile senior advisor in international business development, sales & marketing and change management with a proven track record of successful achievements across the Middle East, India, the Gulf Cooperation Council, European and African countries.

My Experience of Positive Deviance as a Practitioner

I first came across the concept of Positive Deviance (PD) in the context of the thesis that I wrote as part of the CCC Consulting and Coaching for Change course 1.

I had decided to explore how Saudi Arabian women become leaders in their country. My interest in this topic emerged in light of the ongoing reforms which have been revolutionising the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 2017, when the arrival of the 32 year old Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman instigated numerous decrees that would allow Saudi Arabia to diversify its oil-driven economy. A series of social reforms has begun to ease women’s condition in this religious state that is underpinned by Wahabism – a radical form of Sunni Islam... (click to keep reading)

New Publications

In this newsletter edition, we are featuring five new publications that discuss the use of PD for a variety of contexts including elder care, education, diabetes, HIV, and even chimpanzees!
Click here to read them.



Recent articles, books, and blogs on PD are featured here. Let us know if you have additional pieces also worth sharing!

Read Recent Publications


PD facilitators are individuals who have experience using the PD approach in their teachings, projects or research.

Meet Our Facilitators


A variety of audio and video recordings on PD from our Facilitators can be found here for viewing.

Watch Recordings


Read news stories about the most recent updates and stories on PD and the new website.

Read PD News


Contribute to the Positive Deviance Website

With the launch of the new PD website last year, there continues to be development and updates on all parts of the website. Our goal is to create a space where members of the PD community can contribute and connect with each other.

If you would like to provide content for the PD website or make a donation to help maintain it, please let us know!

Donate Email Us