Innovation is a change in the thought process for doing something, or the useful application of new inventions or discoveries. It may refer to an incremental emergent or radical and revolutionary change in thinking, products, processes, or organizations.
It is any idea which is perceived by individuals of the social group. Empathy is the ability of a person to project himself as another person.
Elements of Adoption of Innovation:
The key elements in diffusion research are:
Rogers defines an innovation as "an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption" .
A communication channel is "the means by which messages get from one individual to another"
"The innovation-decision period is the length of time required to pass through the innovation-decision process". "Rate of adoption is the relative speed with which an innovation is adopted by members of a social system”.
"A social system is defined as a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal".
Process of decision making in an innovation:
There are five stages in process of decision making and adoption of innovation process;
In this stage the individual is first exposed to an innovation but lacks information about the innovation. During this stage of the process the individual has not been inspired to find more information about the innovation.
In this stage the individual is interested in the innovation and actively seeks information/detail about the innovation.
In this stage the individual takes the concept of the innovation and weighs the advantages/disadvantages of using the innovation and decides whether to adopt or reject the innovation. Due to the individualistic nature of this stage Rogers notes that it is the most difficult stage to acquire empirical evidence.
In this stage the individual employs the innovation to a varying degree depending on the situation. During this stage the individual determines the usefulness of the innovation and may search for further information about it.
Although the name of this stage may be misleading, in this stage the individual finalizes their decision to continue using the innovation and may use the innovation to its fullest potential.
Types of innovation decisions:
There are three types of innovation-decisions within diffusion of innovations. Two factors determine what type a particular decision is: 1. whether the decision is made freely and implemented voluntarily and 2. Who makes the decision? Based on these considerations, three types of innovation decision have been identified: Optional innovation-decisions, collective innovation-decisions, authority innovation-decisions.
This decision is made by an individual who is in some way distinguished from others in a social system.
This decision is made collectively by all individuals of a social system.
This decision is made for the entire social system by few individuals in positions of influence or power.
Consequences of Innovation:
Functional vs. dysfunctional
Whether a consequence is desirable or undesirable depends on whether the effects of an innovation are functional or dysfunctional from the point of reference of the organization. In making this distinction, the assumption is that usually, the desirable and undesirable effects of an innovation cannot be managed separately.
Direct vs. Indirect
Whether a consequence is direct or indirect depends on whether the changes in response to
The innovation are first -order or second order. Direct consequences are changes to an
Organization that occur in immediate response to an innovation. Indirect consequences may
Take years to develop.
Manifest vs. Latent
Manifest functions are the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern.
While latent functions are unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern.
Power Law 1: Donâ€™t think â€œnew productâ€ - think social value.
Power Law 2: Think social value before â€œtechâ€.
Power Law 3: Enable human agency. Design people into situations, not out of them.
Power Law 4: Use, not own. Possession is old paradigm.
Power Law 5: Think P2P, not point-to-mass.
Power Law 6: Donâ€™t think faster, think closer.
Power Law 7: Donâ€™t start from zero. Re-mix what's already out there.
Power Law 8: Connect the big and the small.
Power Law 9: Think whole systems (and new business models, too).
Power Law 10: Think open systems, not closed ones.
Factors affecting Adoption of Innovation:
Characteristics of Innovation
Rogers defines several intrinsic characteristics of innovations that influence an individual’s decision to adopt or reject an innovation. The relative advantage is how improved an innovation is over the previous generation. Compatibility is the second characteristic, the level of compatibility that an innovation has to be assimilated into an individual’s life. The complexity of an innovation is a significant factor in whether it is adopted by an individual. If the innovation is too difficult to use an individual will not likely adopt it. The fourth characteristic, trial ability, determines how easily an innovation may be experimented with as it is being adopted. If a user has a hard time using and trying an innovation this individual will be less likely to adopt it. The final characteristic, observability, is the extent that an innovation is visible to others. An innovation that is more visible will drive communication among the individual’s peers and personal networks and will in turn create more positive or negative reactions.
Characteristics of Adopters
Innovators are the first individuals to adopt an innovation. Innovators are willing to take risks, youngest in age, have the highest social class, have great financial lucidity, very social and have closest contact to scientific sources and interaction with other innovators. Risk tolerance has them adopting technologies which may ultimately fail. Financial resources help absorb these failures.
This is the second fastest category of individuals who adopt an innovation. These individuals have the highest degree of opinion leadership among the other adopter categories. Early adopters are typically younger in age, have a higher social status, have more financial lucidity, advanced education, and are more socially forward than late adopters. More discrete in adoption choices than innovators. Realize judicious choice of adoption will help them maintain central communication position.
Individuals in this category adopt an innovation after a varying degree of time. This time of adoption is significantly longer than the innovators and early adopters. Early Majority tend to be slower in the adoption process, have above average social status, contact with early adopters, and seldom hold positions of opinion leadership in a system.
Individuals in this category will adopt an innovation after the average member of the society. These individuals approach an innovation with a high degree of skepticism and after the majority of society has adopted the innovation. Late Majority are typically skeptical about an innovation, have below average social status, very little financial lucidity, in contact with others in late majority and early majority, very little opinion leadership.
Individuals in this category are the last to adopt an innovation. Unlike some of the previous categories, individuals in this category show little to no opinion leadership. These individuals typically have an aversion to change-agents and tend to be advanced in age. Laggards typically tend to be focused on “traditions”, have lowest social status, lowest financial fluidity, oldest of all other adopters, in contact with only family and close friends, very little to no opinion leadership.
Constraints of System
Opinion leadership: number of nominations as source of information
Number of contacts within each adopter category.
Throughout the diffusion process there is evidence that not all individuals exert an equal amount of influence over all individuals. In this sense there are Opinion Leaders, leaders who are influential in spreading either positive or negative information about an innovation.
Opinion Leaders have the most influence during the evaluation stage of the innovation-decision process and late adopters.
In addition opinion leaders have a set of characteristics that set them apart from their followers and other individuals. Opinion Leaders typically have greater exposure to the mass media, more cosmopolitan, greater contact with change agents, more social experience and exposure, higher socioeconomic status, and are more innovative.
Homophily and Heterophily:
Homophily is "the degree to which pairs of individuals who interact are similar in certain attributes, such as beliefs, education, social status, and the like". When given the choice, individuals usually choose to interact with someone similar to him or herself. Furthermore, homophilous individuals engage in more effective communication because their similarities lead to greater knowledge gain as well as attitude or behavior change. However, most participants in the diffusion of innovations are heterophilous, meaning they speak different languages, so to speak. The problem is that diffusion requires a certain degree of heterophily; if two individuals are identical, no diffusion occurs because no new information can be exchanged. Therefore, an ideal situation would involve two individuals who are homophilous in every way, except in knowledge of the innovation.