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The Four Workarounds

The Four Workarounds

'A hymn to deviance and "scrappiness" and a rich repository of stories about how to work around rules and norms to solve complex problems . . . Entertaining' Financial Times

'An original and inspiring read for anyone interested in non-traditional problem-solving approaches' Olivier Sibony, bestselling co-author of Noise

'This book helps us live happier, successful, and more fulfilling lives' Jenn Lim, CEO and co-founder of Delivering Happiness and bestselling author of Beyond Happiness

Real-world problems need real solutions. Often 'perfect' isn't an option, and we need something easy, smart, and quick: we need a workaround.

In this groundbreaking book, Oxford University professor and award-winning researcher Paulo Savaget shows how the most valuable lessons about problem-solving can be learned from the scrappiest, poorest groups. Savaget draws examples from organizations dedicated to social action that have made an art form out of subverting the status quo, proving themselves adept at achieving massive wins with minimal resources. They do this by employing four particular workarounds: the piggyback, the loophole, the roundabout, and the next best.


From remote Zambia to the waves of the North Sea, Brazilian mines to American biohackers, The Four Workarounds shows how seemingly intractable problems have been solved using unconventional tactics. Through these remarkable cases - spanning public urination to the challenges of delivering life-saving medicine to remote communities - we see how some of the world's most admired companies are already using Savaget's research to transform the ways they do business. And they can revolutionize how we approach the real challenges we encounter in our everyday lives.

Paulo Savaget is Associate Professor at the University of Oxford's Department of Engineering Science and Said Business School. He holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar, and has a background working as a researcher, consultant, and entrepreneur, finding innovative solutions for a more inclusive world. He lives in Oxford.

Category:  Business & Management
ISBN:  9781529346046
Publisher:  John Murray Press
On sale:  April 2023
Format:  Paperback
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