The Art of Positive Deviance calls upon us to experience the thrill of discovering how the world’s toughest problems—e.g. endemic malnutrition, maternal and infant mortality, school dropouts, prison violence, hospital-acquired infections—can be solved. In a world where problem-solving rationality is bounded by the manna of evidence-based practice, the Positive Deviance (PD) approach offers a radically different premise—that in every community there exist individuals or groups, often hidden from plain view, who despite heavy odds have solved the problem. PD focuses its laser-like gaze on identifying practice-based evidence—little variations in practice that make a big difference, for instance, caregivers actively feeding their children, husbands providing clean blades to dais (midwives), teachers drafting compromisos (learning contracts) with parents, guards jiggling their keys when summoned by prisoners, and hospital chaplains wiping their Bible covers with alcohol swabs.
In turning the pages of this volume, one realizes that PD’s sacred art and craft lies in experts cultivating the humility and discipline to suspend expertise, take a leap of faith, and shift one’s gaze like a Sherlock Holmes to decipher the “who dunnit it?”
This forthcoming Book 2 of the trilogy, The Craft of Positive Deviance, analyzes how social science researchers can craft positively deviant questions in order to unlock solutions to complex social problems. Through nine PD research studies focusing on topics as varied as reduction of teenage pregnancy and school dropouts, management of diabetes and breastfeeding in workplaces, and overcoming challenges faced by students with disabilities and clients with a mental illness, this volume calls on researchers to adopt a new research paradigm based on the Positive Deviance approach to improve the quality of life of individuals, organizations, and societies.
The Unshackling of Positive Deviance: Dissemination, Reinvention, and Implementation
Edited by Arvind Singhal
This forthcoming Book 3 of the trilogy, The Unshackling of Positive Deviance, analyzes how the Positive Deviance approach has been unshackled in both practice and research, leading to diverse applications to spur organ transplants, reduce workplace accidents, combat corruption, tackle child marriage, increase cancer screenings, and prevent and control Chagas disease. Through a score of case studies, thought pieces, and methodological variations, this volume celebrates the dissemination, reinvention, and implementation of the PD approach in its many hues and textures.