Oct 24, 2010

ACTKM10 KMLF TEDXCanberra - so many cracking ideas this week like Positive Deviance

David Gurteen on Positive Deviance at #ACTKM10 was the start of my rich week of new ideas &.new contacts. David was the opening ACTKM 2010 Keynote Speaker on Monday, October 18 2010.

My notes on my learnings from David's preso ...

David shared how he came to discover the work of Ricard Pascale & the Sternims on PD, & his initial thoughts on its importance in making positive changes stick.I had heard that David would be sharing his exploration of a new field (for him), and was intrigued to realise so much had been published already on PD. However David indicated that he believed that PD has been applied in the private sector, but so far with nowhere near the success as in international development and health.

PD Case study on international development community - malnutrition in Vietnam : found the PD and used them to tell their stories to change attitudes in the community

· Successful in changing cultural attitudes

· Need to have agree that there is a problem

· Other cases – female circumcision in Egypt / infant mortality put baby on blanket on ground whereas others would leave baby on cold ground as relatives came to inspect new baby

PD has not been so successful in the business world as it cannot be used in all circumstances especially as it was considered “not invented here” – who is there, in the shared community, who will listen to you : differences between enforcement & engagement - – is there a case for undercover PD in business context ? People resist being given the solution examples :

  • Merck – ( I need to follow up info on this)
  • Goldman Sachs – (also need to follow up)
  • USA health system – PD starting to be used as a tool for Infection Control

Key themes & principles of PD according to DG :

  1. Avoid grandiose aims & solutions
  2. Start with the problem- real tangible intractable problems not aspirational goals
    • Deal with evolutionary approaches
    • The community defines & frames the problem
  1. Involve everyone – self organizing – knowhow is not concentrated in leadership
  2. Don’t coerce people – involve people who want to work on problem – can opt in or opt out
  3. If the problem is repeated in another community then start from scratch again – ie people discover the solution for themselves : people resist be given the solution
  4. Seek sustainable solutions
  5. Only facilitate – teach & support the process – light touch – they are not the experts in the problem or the solution- do not contribute directly to defining the problem or the solution – do not be controlling
  6. Ownership of the problem & the solution
  7. Avoid best practice – can trigger Not Invented Here (NIH) syndrome – there is no silver bullet


· Learning is shaped by social context – aim to use implicit knowledge – intuition not explicit knowledge- we are walking on a trampoline : unintended consequences – don’t suppress variation- information has a social life despite faith in “communication” and “knowledge transfer” – unless new insights are embedded in the social system they evaporate – flies in face of lean manufacturing

· People may not have knowledge around a topic to take advantage of the transferred knowledge because of the cognitive valley.

· It is practice that advances knowledge ( not theorising )

· It is easier your way to think your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting – active learning

Tweets generated during David's PD preso ....

David's Preso Abstract:

Positive Deviance (PD) is an approach to behavioural and social change based on the observation that in every community there are individuals or groups of people (so called Positive Deviants) whose behaviours and strategies enable them to find better solutions to problems than their peers even though they have access to the same resources and face similar challenges.

In the international development and health sectors, PD has been used to address issues as diverse as childhood malnutrition, neo-natal mortality, girl trafficking, school drop-out, female genital mutilation (FGM), MRSA infections in hospitals and HIV/AIDS.

There seems to me to be a number reasons for this but the main one is that the PD approach is totally facilitative. The community not only identifies the problem they wish to tackle but are then fully responsible for the inquiry that takes place and the development and execution of the solution.

This is not how things normally work in business organizations. We are still caught up in the paradigm of “telling people what to do” and “doing things to people” rather than helping them figure it out for themselves.

In this talk, David will take a look at some of the principals that underlie Positive Deviance and what he thinks KM practitioners can learn from the approach.

Posted via email from kerrieannesfridgemagnets's posterous

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