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The Positive Deviance (PD) concept has attracted a lot of attention in the innovation field in the past decade. The PD concept is built on the premise that “in every community or organization, there are a few individuals who have found uncommon practices and behaviours that enable them to achieve better solutions to problems than their neighbours who face the same challenges and barriers, while having access to the same resources and facing similar or worse challenge“. PD is an asset-based, community-driven approach to behaviour change that has successfully been applied to address many socio-economic, environmental and health problems. The approach involves finding individuals who have solved a problem and shared their unique solutions to others.

Following on my previous blog, I will now build on how I managed to sponge on the ideas of our positive deviant hydroponic farmer of Smart Farms Fiji, albeit in a participatory action research format with other stakeholders, and dispatched the ideas generated to five informal settlements, to assist households counter the issues surrounding food accessibility, availability, and affordability.

From a solution mapping and ethnography lens, the sponging of ideas related to hydroponic DWC farming from our positive deviant farmer was as important as getting the experiment design right at the first instance, hence the participatory action format.

I wanted every other actor involved in the entireness of the experiment to be fully engaged and to cross contaminate ideas at each stage of the design of the experiment. The more I involved everyone, the more collaborations emerged, and I noted an increase in sustainable behavioural and social change in the design.

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