Betting on Anomaly: When Positive Deviants Become a Collective Resource Premium

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Positive deviants: they find innovative answers to seemingly unsolvable problems by transgressing the norms of their community.

Merck tried out positive deviance in Mexico to improve faltering sales. David Gasser recounts how management agreed to hand over responsibility to teams in the field to identify and share what was working, rather than trying to fix what wasn’t.

Similar story, similar success: the eradication of a fatal nosocomial infection. Jon Lloyd of the Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System used the strategic arm of the incriminated bacterium itself to find effective solutions: teamwork.

 

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Betting on Anomaly: When Positive Deviants Become a Collective Resource

Business Digest no. 213, February 2011.

Based on The Power of Positive Deviance by Richard Pascale, Jerry and Monique Sternin (Harvard Business Press, June 2010), their article “Your Company’s Secret Change Agents” (Harvard Business Review, May 2005), and the interviews with David Gasser, consultant and former Associate Director Corporate Engagement at Merck & Co., Inc. and Jon Lloyd, ex-Project Coordinator at VAPHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), January 2011.