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Diffusion of Innovations

Learn how innovations are put to use.

By Everett M. Rogers
21-minute read
Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers

Diffusion of Innovations is an examination of the many ways that new ideas and technologies come to be adopted by users. In particular, this book describes in detail the stages an innovation passes through on its route to adoption, the different types of people that adopt innovations and how the process of diffusion can be influenced.

  • Salespeople and researchers interested in the theory of innovation diffusion
  • Anyone interested in how ideas are adopted and spread throughout a culture
  • Innovators curious about how to increase the chances of their innovation being widely adopted

Dr. Everett M. Rogers is a pioneer of research on innovation diffusion, and coined the now-famous phrase, “early adopter.” Before his death in 2004, Rogers was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of New Mexico.

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Diffusion of Innovations

By Everett M. Rogers
  • Read in 21 minutes
  • Contains 13 key ideas
Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers
Synopsis

Diffusion of Innovations is an examination of the many ways that new ideas and technologies come to be adopted by users. In particular, this book describes in detail the stages an innovation passes through on its route to adoption, the different types of people that adopt innovations and how the process of diffusion can be influenced.

Key idea 1 of 13

In the Knowledge stage, an individual learns of the innovation’s existence.

Think back to the last time you decided whether you were going to use a new product or service. Do you know what motivated your decision?

We may not be aware of it, but our decision making always follows a certain pattern, which comprises five stages.

The first is the Knowledge stage, the moment that we first learn of a new technology or innovation. But what leads us to enter this stage? Is it that we have a specific, prior need for a particular technology? Or, is it simply that we have become aware of the innovation?

Some people actively seek out a particular innovation, such as a specific technology, because they have a certain need for it in their lives.

In this context, a need is a state of frustration or dissatisfaction which arises when an individual’s desires exceed the currently available resources. This need will drive that person – who has a specific problem and a desire to fix it – to ask around and seek a solution.

For example, imagine that you’re a farmer and that your crops are being destroyed by a particular pest. In such a case, you’ll likely actively seek out a pesticide to deal with that bug.

Other people, however, enter the Knowledge stage not because they were actively searching for a particular innovation but because they were made aware of the innovation’s existence.

Sometimes, the release of a new product into the market is communicated via channels that don’t target you specifically. However, you might learn of a product by word of mouth: perhaps a friend informs you about a new device they think you’d be interested in.

For instance, when the latest version of Apple’s iPhone is announced at a developer conference, many technology magazines will provide details of its release and new features. As a result, one of your friends – perhaps a tech expert, always on the lookout for new gadgets – will read one of those magazines and, knowing you’d be interested, tell you all about the new iPhone.

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