Positive deviance is a concept that refers to an approach used to bring about social and behavioral change in a community. It involves the identification of individuals or groups who have succeeded in finding better solutions to a problem than the majority of people in a given community, even in the same circumstances, and who have the potential to influence others positively. Positive deviance emphasizes the use of existing resources and practices within a community to solve problems and promote change.
The key components of positive deviance include identifying and studying individuals or groups who exhibit exceptional behaviors or practices, analyzing and distilling the factors that contribute to their success, and then replicating these behaviors or practices among the wider community to bring about positive change.
The importance of positive deviance lies in its ability to harness the potential of local communities to find solutions to their problems, rather than relying on external interventions. It also promotes community participation and ownership of the change process, which leads to sustainable change.
Positive deviance has been applied in a wide range of fields, including healthcare, education, and community development. For example, in healthcare, positive deviance has been used to improve nutrition and reduce malnutrition among children in developing countries by identifying and replicating the feeding practices of mothers who have healthy children despite living in the same conditions as others who have malnourished children.