The Four Workarounds
Strategies from the World's Scrappiest Organizations for Tackling Complex Problems
Author: Paulo Savaget
FINANCIAL TIMES' BEST SUMMER BOOKS OF 2023
"Groundbreaking" —Next Big Idea Club
"This book helps us live happier, successful, and more fulfilling lives." —Jenn Lim, CEO and cofounder of Delivering Happiness, and bestselling author of Beyond Happiness
We constantly encounter complex problems at home, in our places of work, and in society at large. Even if we had all the time and money in the world, sometimes no good solution can be found. So, what should we do, especially when we can’t wait? The answer: a workaround.
For ages, global corporations have been lecturing small organizations and not-for-profits on how to get things done. As it turns out, it should have been the other way around. In this groundbreaking book, award-winning researcher Paulo Savaget shows how the most valuable lessons about problem-solving can be learned from the scrappiest groups.
Savaget draws most of his examples from small organizations dedicated to social action that have made an art form out of subverting the status quo and have proved themselves adept at achieving massive wins with minimal resources. Through his research, Savaget identified the four workarounds that these groups commonly employ: the piggyback, the loophole, the roundabout, and the next best. With vivid and fascinating examples from his life and travels, he demonstrates how each one works and how to know which one to use when.
The Four Workarounds shows how seemingly intractable problems—from public urination to the challenges of delivering lifesaving medicine to remote communities—were addressed using unconventional tactics. Some of the world’s biggest and most admired companies are already using Savaget’s research to transform the ways they do business. And these same lessons can also revolutionize the ways we approach the challenges we all encounter every day of our lives.