Blog Post

Introduction to the August 2010 Knowledge Letter

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 29 July 2010



Introduction to the August 2010 Knowledge Letter
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 122
Posted DateThursday 29 July 2010 10:10 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
CategoriesPositive Deviance

I have just come across a KM tool (thank you Anecdote) that I had not heard of before although it has been around for ten years or more.

I have never read about it in a KM book, blog or tweet, or heard anyone talk about it in a conference. But it is the most powerful, exciting tool I have come across.

Why have I not heard of it? And why, I suspect have most of you not heard of it? Well, it has never been described as a KM tool and has little been used in business. Though a KM tool its most definitely!

It comes from the international development world and is called Positive Deviance (PD). Yes, I know it is a terrible name but that's what it is called!

I have always had great respect for the KM folks working in international development field. Unlike their corporate counterparts, they have few financial or technical resources and they face problems on a massive social scale. But to my mind they seem to understand KM better than most. They understand that it is fundamentally about engaging people. And this is what PD is all about.

I have just finished reading the book The Power of Positive Deviance by Jerry Sternin, Monique Sternin, Richard Pascale and I believe the breadth of opportunity presented by Positive Deviance, as an idea, a mindset, and a methodology, is staggering.

I won't take up space explaining it all here but skip over to this new Positive Deviance section of my website where I describe the concept in simple terms and am slowly collecting the best resources on the web that I can find.

As a tool, it is best suited to problems that involve behavioural and social change and most success stories to date relate to the international development and health care fields though there have been some limited success in the corporate sector. I think though its potential is vast and you will be hearing a great deal more about if both from me and others.

Foot note: Do not confuse PD with Appreciative Inquiry (AI) they are totally different processes with very different aims though they do have some principals in common.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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