Positive Deviance is a method of behavioral and social change based on the work of the Friedman School’s Jerry and Monique Sternin. PD is founded on the observation that there are certain individuals or groups within a community or work environment whose uncommon practices and behaviors have enabled them to solve or alleviate certain prevalent problems.
The PD approach provides a facilitated process that enables the community to discover these "Positive Deviants" for themselves, as well as drive development of interventions that more effectively disseminate beliefs and encourage others within the community to begin practicing these new behaviors.
The focus on the discovery of this existing solution, and the active participation of the community, ensures the sustainability and cost effectiveness of the ensuing initiative.
The PD approach is used in public relations and marketing, education, business child protection, and in healthcare and public health on problems as diverse as childhood malnutrition, neo-natal mortality and morbidity, education performance, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, MRSA eradication and prevention, and HIV/AIDS. PD has been applied in more than 41 countries and has directly altered the lives and practices of more than 3.5 million people.