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What are the elements of diffusion?
There are four main elements of diffusion: Innovation (typically an idea),
Communication (the way the innovation is spread), Time (how long it takes to spread), and Social
System. The diffusion of innovation typically has some uncertainty to it and some innovations don't get
A good example of the diffusion in film was when we watched the movie “Road to
Wellville” with Anthony Hopkins. I thought it was a good example of diffusion because in the movie,
the characters are woefully ignorant of the way the human body works. They don't understand how it
functions or what is good/bad for it. The information is basically diffused by a central figure (in the
movies case Dr. Kellogg) to the rest of the people. There are also many other anatomical innovations
that occur throughout the movie that are meant to compete with Kellogg's notions of health and
wellness. For example the European guy who does lewd things with Matthew Brodericks wife (in the
What are the elements of the Innovation-Development process?
There are six phases in the IDP. Need/problem recognition, Research, Development,
Commercialization, Adoption/diffusion, Consequences. The recognition that there even is room for an
innovation is the key first step in the process. This is usually recognized by either political or scientific
advancements, that allow the innovation to exist and prosper. The second phase is research where a
good many of innovations emerge. Typically a small portion of the population is doing this research
however it tends to have far reaching consequences and impact. The third stage of the process is
development which is where the idea is designed and realized. This is the stage where prototypes might
be made, and user testing might be done. This step is crucial to the process because in order for an idea
to take shape it must be developed and created. Another step in the process is commercialization which
is where the product (when ready of course) is marketed and distributed. The second to last step is
Adoption/diffusion which is interesting because this is where the general public decides how they like
certain products and ultimately this is where products can be made or destroyed. If the public doesn't
like a certain innovation or see's it as “junk” or “useless” then they typically won't adopt it, and the
innovation will be unsuccessful and die. The final step of the process is Consequences.
I thought that the movie surrogates showed a good use of the Innovation-Development
process. In the movie the people are faced with a problem which is that, “How can you keep people
safe, in a world that is so dangerous?” They come up with this solution to have basically dolls of
themselves walk around in place of them, this way if the doll gets hit by a car, it doesn't matter much
because the person isn't physically injured. Bruce Willis's character in the beginning of the movie uses
a surrogate but towards the middle changes his mind about the whole situation. He sees that there are
unintended consequences that happen, such as people growing lazy and distant from one another. And
not living their lives (as he's sees it) to the fullest. This upsets him and long story short SPOILER
ALERT he disconnects them.
What is a change agent?
A change agent is somebody who influences other peoples decisions towards something
that the change agency deems “desirable”. Change agents try to push you towards certain products or
innovations for various reasons. Change agents are usually in contact with a group of clients who are
usually influenced by their lexical wizardry. Change agents could sell ice cubes to eskimo's.
A good example from a movie of a change agent is in the movie Terminator. In them
movie terminator there is a large European man (from the future) chasing after a small boy (from the
past). The large European man wants to kill the boy so that the future is different. This of course
presents a time-travel paradox though that I will discuss at a later time. Long story short SPOILER
ALERT, the “terminator” ultimately fails at killing the boy because of another change agent who stops
him. This guy was sent back in time by the humans from the future to protect the boy. Although if the
humans in the future understood anything about time travel, they would know that because the boy is a
man there then, then of course he somehow makes it out alive...which is where the paradox lies.
Without delving too much further into this notion of a paradox, it could be argued that the human, is
actually an Aide rather than a Change agent. An Aide is similar to a change agent except aides are
easy...its a pun. Anyhow, they cost “less” and are generally “easier” to deal with than the change agents.
By using this argument we can determine that the human who goes back in time is actually an Aide
rather than a full-blown Change Agent.
How do Innovations diffuse through organizations?
There are a few subprocesses that occur when innovations are diffused through
organizations. These subprocesses consist of Initiation, and Implementation. Within these two
categories there are further sub-categories. In the initiation stage of the diffusion process there is
agenda-setting and matching. Agenda setting is where an organization typically acknowledges that they
have a problem, and they need rehab, (or just new innovations) the need is defined. Matching is where
they find an innovation that best suits their needs and the adoption is planned and designed. In the
Implementation subprocess there is redefining/restructuring, clarifying, and routinizing.
Redefining/restructuring is when an innovation is redesigned to fit a certain companies needs and
structure more closely. Clarifying is when the company explains the meaning of the new innovation.
Routinizing is where an innovation is so engrained in the process of the organization that it becomes
routine and second nature, and it loses its separate identity.
In class we watched a hilarious movie called, “Pirate Radio.” It was a movie about a
bunch of dudes on a boat broadcasting songs on the radio. The movie portrayed the radio disc jockey's
as people who were trying to bring innovation to the British people. They were trying their best to
diffuse innovations throughout England. It just so happens that the innovation is rock music. The
British government could be seen as analogous to the stick in the mud upper management that run
companies today. The government was used to doing things a certain way and the youth of the country
felt that it was time for a change.
What are the attributes of innovations?
There are five attributes of innovation: Relative advantage, Compatibility, complexity,
trialability, and Observability. Relative advantage refers to how much better the innovation is to the
original. Compatibility refers to how consistent the innovation is with existing values, past experiences,
and needs of potential adopters. Complexity refers to how difficult a product is to use. Trialability
pertains to how much an innovation can be experimented on/with. Finally Observability refers to the
degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others.
In the movie I, Robot will smith played a futuristic police officer who has a beef with
robots. There is a rouge robot in the mix. This rogue robot broke one of the three rules that govern
artificial intelligence. It killed its owner. So for much of the movie, Will Smith plays a police officer
who ironically, “doesn't understand” (reference to his early rap song). Any who, this movie does a good
job with displaying the various aspects and attributes of innovations. Initially the new robots gave the
futuristic humans a relative advantage because they were slightly better than their previous
counterparts. They were just as compatible. The new robots weren't any more complex, in fact that was
part of their selling point as I recall. The company that made the robots even gave them away in
exchange for an older robot model, so the humans were able to try them out. It was very obvious
throughout the movie that the robots were easily observable.