Finer Points and Nuances of The Positive Deviance Approach

The foundation of the Positive Deviance approach is the belief that in every community, organization, or social system, there exist individuals or groups whose uncommon behaviors and practices have enabled them to succeed (relative to their peers) while facing the highest odds and with no extra resources. These individuals deviate from the norm (hence “deviance”) and have succeeded in overcoming the problem (hence “positive”). Because these individuals found success in spite of great odds represents social proof that local and sustainable solutions exist, and we may be able to learn from them.