Amplifying Positive Deviance with ICT

Enabling Community Development and Interdependence
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 504)


Positive deviance is a social mechanism whereby a beneficial practice that is not considered as normal gets taken up and spread within a community. This enables a community to solve its own problems aided by mentorship and facilitation. Through two long term case studies, we have identified positive deviants and are now learning how to leverage the ICT inherent in our interventions to cultivate and amplify positive change. We find both ourselves and beneficiary communities developing through various stages of dependence, independence and interdependence. We consider the latter a strong form of development. We now look at ICT4D projects as opportunities to identify positive deviants, and to amplify positive deviance with ICT. We posit that affordable, accessible and generic ICTs offer a way to do so, and that explicitly aiming to mentor and facilitate positive deviance with such ICT offers a path toward community development and interdependence.


ICT-enabled development Social mechanisms Theory of amplification Computing and society Mixed methods 



Various aspects of this work have been supported by the Telkom Centre of Excellence Programme (including contributions from Telkom, Cisco and Aria Technologies), South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Trade and Industry’s Technology and Human Resources for Industry Partnership (THRIP) programme, the European Commission’s CONFINE project, and the University of the Western Cape. Thanks also to Ineke for the idea origin spark.


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Copyright information

© © IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa

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