The Power of Positive Deviance by Jerry Sternin, Monique Sternin, Richard Pascale
How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems (Jun 2010)
Think of the toughest problems in your organization or community. What if they'd already been solved and you didn't even know it?
In The Power of Positive Deviance, the authors present a counterintuitive new approach to problem-solving. Their advice? Leverage positive deviants -- the few individuals in a group who find unique ways to look at, and overcome, seemingly insoluble difficulties. By seeing solutions where others don't, positive deviants spread and sustain needed change.
With firsthand stories of how positive deviance has alleviated some of the world's toughest problems (malnutrition in Vietnam, MRSA infections in hospitals), the authors illuminate its core practices, including:
BookThe Power of Positive Deviance (June 2010) by Jerry Sternin , Monique Sternin , Richard Pascale
How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems
CategoryPositive Deviance [12 items]
Media FileVideo: Positive Deviance
QuotationOn best practice and the immune rejection response by Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin and Monique Sternin
On engagement by Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin and Monique Sternin
On knowledge and practice by Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin and Monique Sternin
On suppressing variation by Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin and Monique Sternin
Quotations from The Power of Positive Deviance:
Discoveries from one community cannot be repackaged and provided to another as a silver bullet, That's a "best practice" rollout and it invariably evokes the immune rejection response.
The real objective isn't just "knowledge" or getting an 80--20 understanding of the situation. The overriding objective is engagement, creating a buzz, mobilizing people to take action.
Knowledge does not advance practice. Rather practice advances knowledge.
Explicit knowledge, conventionally delivered like pizza (neat boxes with toppings of concepts, theories, best practices and war stories), is consumed by the brain but not metabolized into action.
The learning we call intuition, know-how and common sense gets into the blood stream through osmosis. It is shaped by social context.
Corporations, in the name of efficiency, suppress variation by "getting all the ducks in line."
To optimize productivity, they evolve highly refined and internally consistent operating systems.
Payoff - results - as long as the music lasts.
But ... all that streamlining and re-engineering limits diversity, suppresses self-organization ... and curtails a bottom up emergent response to disruptive change.
Contrary to widespread faith in "communication" and "knowledge transfer," information has a social life, and unless new insights are embedded in the social system they evaporate.
Unintended consequences get to the heart of why you never really understand an adaptive problem until you have solved it.
Problems morph and "solutions" often point to deeper problems.
In social life, as in nature, we are walking on a trampoline.
Every inroad reconfigures the environment we tread on.
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