Multiplication Center

how different people accept something new

August 26, 2008

Everett Rogers’ research has been formative in the strategies of how (some) new ideas become a commonly adopted practice, popularized in his book, Diffusion of Innovations. I’ve seen Rogers’ bell curve used in presentations to describe different groups of people and their attitudes towards trying or using something new. Would you believe that this theory was first developed from researching the purchasing patterns of farmers buying hybrid seed corn? It’s true!

Some of my Leadership Network colleagues have put together this really great graphic about how innovations spread. [click on the chart to see full size]

Adoption of innovation

What I like about this chart is its additional overlay of learning styles for each psychographic profile and 3 factors that can accelerate the development and the spread of a new idea. This chart is certainly very important for an organization like Leadership Network that has a mission to help innovative leaders multiply their impact. I think it’s fair to say that multiplying impact has a lot to do with accelerating the development of an innovation that results in positive change, and to spread that innovation so that many more can learn how to do likewise.

Additionally, this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on diffusion of innovations further describes the thought process someone goes through when encountering a new idea or practice —

Rogers’ Innovation Decision Process theory states that innovation diffusion is a process that occurs over time through five stages: Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation and Confirmation. Accordingly, the innovation-decision process is the process through which an individual or other decision-making unit passes through 5 steps:

  • from first knowledge of an innovation,
  • to forming an attitude toward the innovation,
  • to a decision to adopt or reject,
  • to implementation of the new idea, and
  • to confirmation of this decision.

What do you find most helpful in this chart? What do you think of these learning styles and accelerators? Are these strategies and/or programs that your organization (or you) have used to introduce something new?

— DJ Chuang, Leadership Network director

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