The Power Of Positive Deviance

Positive deviance is the interesting phenomenon where people in an organization or community innovate and improvise what no one else is doing, even though everyone has the same scope of resources, opportunities, and constraints. Every community and organization has positive deviants emerging at the edges of norms to create new possibilities that surprise the imagination of the norm.

We see positive deviants in every context. We see students in struggling educational systems succeeding. We see people starting new initiatives and enterprises in communities that are stuck.

Creating a new future means identifying these outlier examples, studying their uniqueness and magic, and spreading this learning to scale into new positive norms. This creates the kind of optimism that inspires others to translate their unique successes into ordinary applications more broadly. It is the reality in every livings system that change happens at the edges, where we least expect them.