Problem solving - quickly: look for "bright spots". Loner success story
Imagine: you face a task - no matter at work or in your personal life - that needs to be solved quickly and at no additional cost. How to approach her? The authors of the book “The Heart of Changes” advise you to ask the question: “What already works?”, And then adopt the positive experience that already exists in solving such problems. This approach Chip and Dan Heesy called the search for "bright spot".
In 1990, Jerry Sternin worked for Save the Children, an international organization dedicated to protecting the rights of children around the world. He was assigned to open an office in Vietnam, whose government invited Save the Children to deal with the problem of malnutrition. However, on arrival, the Vietnamese Foreign Minister made him understand that at the top, not everyone is happy with his presence, and said: "You have six months to change the situation."
Sternin arrived with his wife and ten-year-old son. None of them spoke Vietnamese. "Even at the airport, we felt like real orphans," he recalls, "and besides, we had no idea what we would do." Sternin was provided with negligible resources and a minimum of personnel.
He read about the problem of malnutrition everything he could find. According to Sternin, all this analysis was “PNB” - correct, but useless. The fight against poverty and poor sanitation is not a six-month task, especially with little money.
Find "bright spots"
But Sternin had a better idea. He and his small team broke up into groups and began to travel to remote villages and communicate with local mothers. They weighed and measured each child, and then analyzed the results together.
- Did you come across very poor guys who were bigger and healthier than ordinary children? - Sternin asked mothers.
“So, so, so (Yes, yes, yes.),” Said the women and nodded.
- So it turns out that sometimes a well-fed child grows up in a very poor family?
- Co, co, co.
- Let's see how it turns out.
Sternin's strategy was to find "bright spots" - successful approaches that should be imitated. If some children in the village have better health, despite unfavorable conditions, this means that poor nutrition is not a sentence. Moreover, the very existence of such children gave hope for solving the problem in the short term. If at least a handful of children remain healthy, no matter what, maybe the rest of them may follow their example?
At the first stage, Sternin, together with the peasant women, had to discard all non-standard cases. For example, some boy's uncle worked as an official and sent parcels of food to his relatives.
To understand what exactly the "bright spots" do differently, it was necessary to collect everyday experience about baby food. Sternin and his colleagues talked with dozens of people — mothers, fathers, older brothers and sisters, grandparents — and found quite certain norms in the community: children ate “suitable” food — soft and cleaned, twice a day, together with other family members. , high quality rice.
Armed with primary information, Sternin and his mothers went to the children's homes - “bright spots” and watched their lifestyle, housekeeping, carefully monitoring any features. The observations brought a number of unexpected results: first of all, these mothers fed children four times a day (the same amount of food as the others, they distributed not into two, but into four portions). A dense meal twice a day, adopted in most families, turned out to be wrong for children.
The way of eating was also different. Most parents believed that children themselves understand what products the body lacks, so they can eat from a common pot. "Bright spots" fed their children separately - if necessary, even with their hands. They were forced to eat even during their illness, which is not customary among local peasants.
But perhaps the most interesting thing was that the nutrition of children who were healthier than their peers was more varied. Their mothers gathered small shrimps and crabs in the rice fields and mixed them into rice, which they gave to children (in other families this was considered unsuitable food for children). In addition, mothers were added to the tops of the tops of sweet potatoes - sweet potatoes. Such improvements, in the opinion of many, seemed strange and "inappropriate", but gave invaluable results: they increased the content of much-needed proteins and vitamins in the children's diet.
Sternin was a stranger in these parts, and would never have been able to find such recipes. The decision was born on this earth, from the experience of the villagers, and therefore, by definition, it was realistic and feasible. But to know about the experience is not enough. How to make it massively adopted?
How to spread the experience
Most people in the position of Sternin would not resist loud statements - they would call the peasants and announce to them a list of recommendations. Hey, listen to everyone! I studied your problem and found a solution! Here are the "Five Sternin Rules for the Fight Against Malnutrition".
But Sternin decided not to officially announce anything. “Knowledge itself does not change behavior,” he said. “We all faced crazy psychiatrists, obese doctors, and divorced marriage counselors.” He understood that beautiful stories about proper nutrition could not be saved. People need practice.
The community developed a program in which representatives of fifty undernourished families in groups of ten met every day in a hut and cooked food. Families had to bring shrimp, crabs and sweet potato leaves. Mothers washed their hands with soap and cooked food together.
Under the guidance of Sternin, they they did it themselves change. Sternin's role was only to help mothers understand what they can do, to feel that you can cope with the trouble with the means at their disposal.
In organizing the cooking groups, Sternin turned to the Drivers (the rational principle in man) and the Elephants (emotional principle). Drivers of mothers received very specific instructions: This is the way to cook a delicious meal with shrimps and sweet potato leaves.. And Elephants were infected with hope. This is a real way to improve the health of my children, and also not very difficult - I can do it!
Please note that the Trail also played a role. When so many mothers do something together, there is a strong public pressure that forces you to move along the intended path. As a result, simple cooking lessons change the culture of the village.
It is remarkable that the "bright spots" solved the problem called "We did not invent." Some people have a "knee jerk" - skepticism about "imported" solutions. Imagine which wave of protests will rise if any American politician suddenly offers to borrow the French health care system for the US (or vice versa). Regardless of grumbling, we all deep down believe “our own” as the best.
Looking for "bright spots" in every village where he came, Sternin contributed to the fact that the decision was perceived as native. If he brought with him a ready-made plan from another village, there would be much more difficulty. Local mothers would begin to resent: “They don’t have everything there like people! It is not suitable for us! ”
Six months after the Sternin detour of the Vietnamese villages, 65% of the children recuperated, and the result was sustainable. Later, scientists from Emory University School of Public Health visited Vietnam and collected independent data. They found that the children born after Sternin left are as healthy as the ones he was directly involved in. These observations proved that the changes took root.
Sternin's success began to replicate. “People from all over Vietnam came to us who wanted to borrow this model of food. Every day they visited “exemplary” villages, touched, sniffed, tried, watched, listened. After graduating from the "course", they went to their villages and introduced borrowed innovations. The program covered 2.2 million Vietnamese in 265 settlements. ”
It is difficult to find a more ascetic story. Sternin and a handful of people who believe in him with a ridiculous budget managed to deliver a powerful blow to hunger. Even more noteworthy is that these people were not experts in the field of nutrition and did not have ready-made recipes. All they possessed is deep faith in the power of “bright spots”.