Experience and connections

In 1990 Jane and Nick Lewis founded Woodward Lewis LLP to deliver strategic, practical change and performance improvement.  They and the team helped many organisations – large and small – in both the private and public sectors to improve performance through their people. We learned that building on strengths and successes is the best way to engage and motivate people.

This attracted us to the “positive deviance” approach. This is a way of releasing the abilities and potential of any group of people.  Its 4-step process uncovers how a quiet minority of positive exceptions do better than their peers within the same resources, and enables these successful behaviours to spread. We were mentored by the co-founders of the Positive Deviance Initiative, Jerry and Monique Sternin, through proof of concept projects.

Since then, we have evolved positive deviance into Hidden Insights®, adapted for organisations and communities in the developed world.  See case studies.

Hidden Insights® delivers innovative and lasting change, within existing resources and processes. It solves wicked problems, and raises success levels by releasing hidden skills, capabilities and wisdom already in “the system,” delivering big changes from small beginnings.   We’ve showcased our learning at Oxford Brookes University and the National College of School Leadership, and in practitioner workshops at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.  Now we have developed a training programme so everyone can learn the key steps and tools and techniques.

We have global connections through the Change Leaders, a worldwide community of alumni of the University of Oxford – HEC Paris Consulting and Coaching for Change masters programme.  This community of practice invites innovative speakers and runs practical workshops about latest developments in change, engagement and design.

We are also connected to other positive deviance practitioner networks in Europe and worldwide.  These include Monique Sternin and Tufts University, the European Positive Deviance Collaborative,  and Professor Arvind Singhal’s Social Justice Initiative UTEP at the University of Texas at El Paso.  We also have close connections to the European Organisation Design Forum. Several of us are Fellows of the RSA and we benefit as a firm from access to their events and website.

Hidden Insights Europe Ltd operates as a social enterprise.  Profits are reinvested in community and development programmes.


Meet the team