DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS

Examples:

Water boiling in a Peruvian Village

Controlling scurvy in the British Navy

The Dvorak Keyboard

Diffusion of Hybrid Corn in Iowa

 

Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system

 

An innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption.

 

Characteristics of Innovations:

  1. Relative advantage is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as better than the idea it supersedes.
  2. Compatability is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being consistent with the existing values, past experiences, and needs of potential adopters.
  3. Complexity is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as difficult to understand and ujse.
  4. Trialability is the degree to which an innovation may be experimented on a limited basis.
  5. Observability is the degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others.

 

The Innovation-Decision Process

The innovation-decision process is fundamentally grounded in Rogersí (1995, 1983, 1971, 1962), communication-based theory on 'The Diffusion of Innovations'. Not only does Rogers provide a reasonably comprehensive view of innovation diffusion, but the modelís focus on the adoption process makes it the most parsimonious theoretical framework currently available (Brown, 1981). Rogersí (1995), paradigm of the innovation-decision process is described as the process through which an individual (or other decision-making unit), passes from 1) first knowledge of an innovation; 2) to the formation of an attitude toward the innovation; 3) to a decision to adopt or reject; 4) to implementation of the new idea; 5) to confirmation of this decision. The conceptualization of Rogers' innovation-decision process is further described as:

    1. Knowledge, which occurs when an individual (or other decision-making unit) is exposed to the innovationís existence and gains some understanding of how it functions.
    2. Persuasion, which occurs when an individual (or other decision-making unit) forms a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward the innovation.
    3. Decision, which occurs when an individual (or other decision-making unit) engages in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject the innovation.
    4. Implementation, which occurs when an individual (or other decision-making unit) puts an innovation to use.
    5. Confirmation, which occurs when an individual (or other decision-making unit), seeks reinforcement of an innovation-decision already made, but he or she may reverse this previous decision if exposed to conflicting messages about the innovation (Figure 1).

 

 

A technology cluster consists of one or more distinguished elements of technology that are perceived as being closely interrelated.

 

Adopter categories are the classifications of members of a social system on the basis of innovativeness or adopter categories as ideal types.

  1. Innovators- are venturesome, love new ideas and usually create the innovation.
  2. Early adopters-respect leadership and are usually the first to adopt an innovation.
  3. Early majority- are the average members of a system who usually adopt new ideas after the early adopters.
  4. Late majority-are skeptical and usually adopt new ideas after the average member of a system.
  5. Laggards-are the last to adopt an innovation in a social system.

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SOURCES:

Rogers, Everett. (1995). "Diffusion of Innovations". The Free Press. Fourth Edition.

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