Great Expectations

Posted on June 20, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |


Two kids are fighting over their new toys on the playground: “Mine is better than yours!” one yells. It sounds selfish, but he may have a point. He is demonstrating what Rogers’ describes as relative advantage. In his book Diffusion of Innovations, Rogers looks at the characteristics that influence the rate of diffusion of an idea. He outlines these aspects in five different points:

1. relative advantage- is the idea better than past ones?

2. comparability- is it consistent with existing values?

3. complexity- how difficult is the idea to understand and use?

4. divisibility- is the idea able to be tired on a limited basis?

5. communicability- how well can the idea be diffused?

Rogers’ states that only 1 out of 25 products tested by ad agencies succeed, and 90% of new products fail within 4 years of release. Ouch. How can we as decision makers help? We can force new ideas that build on past ones (relative advantage), we can demand that the ideas appeal to our cultural norms (compatibility), we can educate ourselves so new innovations are easy to adopt (complexity), we can try the idea through an installment plan before it is released to the whole market (divisibility), and we can make sure good innovations are visible and observable to others in order to diffuse it’s adoption to a larger audience (communicability).

Through eductaion of technology and demanding more compatible prodcuts to be introduced to society; we can help speed up the rate of adoption of these innovations and make the adoption process more efficent.

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