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Diffusion of innovation


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Diffusion of innovation

  1. 1. What is the diffusion of innovations?
  2. 2. Different Approaches to the study of innovation. • Rogers - communications and/as development paradigm. • Winston/Bjiker - Science Technology and Society/SCOT • Freeman/Soete/Schumpeter - The Economic importance of innovation.
  3. 3. What is diffusion? • The process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.
  4. 4. What is diffusion? • In this context communication is: • a process whereby participants share information to reach a mutual understanding.
  5. 5. What is diffusion? • Diffusion is a special type of communication in which the messages are about a new idea. • The newness of the idea gives diffusion its special character – it ensures that a degree of uncertainty is involved in diffusion.
  6. 6. What is diffusion? • Uncertainty – the degree to which a range of alternatives are perceived with regard to the occurrence of an event. Uncertainty implies lack of predictability and therefore of information.
  7. 7. What is diffusion? • Thus information becomes a means of reducing uncertainty. • Any technological innovation embodies information and thus reduces uncertainty about cause-effect relationships in problem solving.
  8. 8. What is diffusion? • To put this in a nutshell - for Rogers, "diffusion of innovations" means • The dissemination of uncertainty-reducing information embodied in products or processes through a social system.
  9. 9. The Process of the diffusion of Innovations • Diffusion is a process where an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among members of a social system
  10. 10. Four Elements in Diffusion of Innovations: • Diffusion is a process where: • 1) an innovation • 2) is communicated through certain channels • 3) over time • 4) among members of a social system
  11. 11. The Innovation • An idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption.
  12. 12. The Innovation • “An invention is an idea, a sketch or model for a new or improved device, product, process or system. Such inventions may often be patented but they do not necessarily lead to technical innovations. In fact the majority do not. An innovation in the economic sense is accomplished only with the first commercial transaction involving the new product, process system or device.” Freeman & Soete, p. 6.
  13. 13. The Innovation • TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS, INFORMATION AND UNCERTAINTY. • Technology: “ a design for instrumental action that reduces the uncertainty in the cause-effect relationships involved in achieving a desired outcome.”
  14. 14. The Innovation • Technological has 2 components: • Hardware (physical element) • Software – the information base for the tool. • A technology may be almost entirely composed of information. • This will tend to slow its diffusion because of poor observability
  15. 15. The Innovation • Technology is a means of uncertainty reduction that is made possible by information about the cause-effect relationships on which the technology is based.
  16. 16. The Innovation • Technological innovation both creates one kind of uncertainty and represents an opportunity for reduced uncertainty in another sense: • Increased uncertainty (about the innovation’s expected consequences) • Reduced uncertainty (deriving from the information base of the technology)
  17. 17. The Innovation • Uncertainty reducing potential provides the motivation for the individual to learn about the innovation • One information-seeking has reduced uncertainty about the innovations expected consequences to a tolerable level, a decision concerning adoption will be made • Thus the innovation-decision process is essentially about information seeking, allowing the individual to reduce uncertainty about the advantages and disadvantages of the innovation.
  18. 18. The Innovation • Two kinds of information with regard to a technological innovation: • Software information –– what does it do? How does it work? • Innovation-evaluation information –What are an innovation’s consequences? What will its advantages and disadvantage be in my situation?
  19. 19. The Innovation • Technology Clusters –several distinguishable elements of technology perceived as being closely interrelated. • Relevance - Experience with one part of a technology cluster conditions assessment of new technologies in the same cluster
  20. 20. The Innovation • • • • • • Characteristics of Innovation – Relative Advantage Compatability Complexity Trialability Observability
  21. 21. The Innovation • Relative Advantage – over existing technologies - can be perceived, may be measured in economic terms, social prestige, convenience and satisfaction.
  22. 22. The Innovation • Compatibility – with existing values, past experiences, needs of potential adopters (and their social system) • Complexity - degree to which an innovation is perceived as difficult to understand and use.
  23. 23. The Innovation • Trialability – degree to which an innovation may be experimented with on a limited basis. A trialable innovation represented less uncertainty to a potential adopter. • Observability – Degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others.
  24. 24. The Innovation • Re-invention – adopting an innovation is not necessarily the passive role of just implementing a standard template of a new idea.
  25. 25. . Communications Channels • The means by which messages get from one individual to another. • The nature of the information-exchange relation determines the conditions under which a source will/will not transmit the innovation to the receiver and the effect of the transfer.
  26. 26. Communications Channels • Mass-media – most efficient way to create awareness knowledge of an innovation • Interpersonal channels – more effective in persuading in individual to accept a new idea.
  27. 27. Communications Channels • Individuals do not evaluate innovations on the basis of a scientific assessment of its consequences – rather depend on subjective assessment conveyed to them from peers. Thus diffusion is a social process.
  28. 28. Communications Channels • The closer (more homophilious) two individuals are, the more frequently and more successful the transfer of ideas between them.
  29. 29. Communications Channels • Problem - in the diffusion of innovation: is participants are usually quite heterophilious – thus ineffective communication likely to occur. • Yet two exactly similar individuals cannot, by definition pass on information. Therefore diffusion demands some heterophiliousness.”
  30. 30. Communications Channels • Time - third element in the diffusion process. Involved in: – the innovation-decision process – the innovativeness of an individual – an innovation’s rate of adoption in a system
  31. 31. THE INNOVATION-DECISION PROCESS. • THE INNOVATION-DECISION PROCESS - the process through which an individual passes from first knowledge of an innovation to forming an attitude toward the innovation, to a decision to adopt or reject it.
  32. 32. THE INNOVATION-DECISION PROCESS. • Five stages in the innovation-decision process: • • • • • (1) knowledge, (2) persuasion, (3) decision, (4) implementation, and (5) confirmation.
  33. 33. THE INNOVATION-DECISION PROCESS. • Knowledge occurs when an individual (or other decisionmaking unit) learns of the innovation’s existence and gains some understanding of how it functions. • Persuasion occurs when an individual (or other decisionmaking unit) forms a favourable or unfavourable attitude toward the innovation. • Decision occurs when an individual (or other decisionmaking unit) engages in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject the innovation.
  34. 34. THE INNOVATION-DECISION PROCESS. • Implementation occurs when an individual (or other decision-making unit) puts an innovation into use. Reinvention is especially likely to occur at the implementation stage. • Confirmation occurs when an individual (or other decision-making unit) seeks reinforcement of an innovation-decision that has already been made, but the individual may reverse this previous decision if exposed to conflicting innovation.
  35. 35. THE INNOVATION-DECISION PROCESS. • At the knowledge stage the individual wants to know what the innovation is and how and why it works. • Mass media channels
  36. 36. THE INNOVATION-DECISION PROCESS. • At the persuasion stage the individual wants to know the innovation’s advantages and disadvantages in his or her own situation. • Interpersonal networks
  37. 37. THE INNOVATION-DECISION PROCESS. • Ultimately, the innovation-decision process leads to either adoption or to rejection.
  38. 38. INNOVATIVENESS AND ADOPTER CATEGORIES. • “Innovativeness” - the degree to which an individual or other unit of adoption is relatively earlier in adopting new ideas than the other members of a system. • Members of each of the adopter categories tend to have a good deal in common.
  39. 39. INNOVATIVENESS AND ADOPTER CATEGORIES. • The adopter categories • • • • • (1) innovators, (2) early adopters, (3) early majority, (4) late majority, and (5) laggards.
  40. 40. INNOVATIVENESS AND ADOPTER CATEGORIES. • Late majority category - characterised by: – low social status, – making little use of mass media channels – learn about most new ideas from peers via interpersonal channels.
  41. 41. INNOVATIVENESS AND ADOPTER CATEGORIES. • Innovators: – active information-seekers about new ideas. – have a high degree of mass media exposure – their interpersonal networks extend over a wide area. – can cope with higher levels of uncertainty about an innovation than are other adopter categories.
  42. 42. RATE OF ADOPTION • Rate of adoption - the relative speed with which an innovation is adopted by members of a social system. • When the number of individuals adopting a new idea is plotted on a cumulative frequency basis over time, the resulting distribution is an “S-shaped curve.”
  43. 43. RATE OF ADOPTION Figure 3.1: Telephone Development 1922 - 1997, Basic Indicators 1600000 1400000 1200000 1000000 800000 600000 400000 200000 0 Number of Telephones
  44. 44. Rate of Adoption • Most innovations have an S-shaped rate of adoption. • But there is variation in the slope of the “S” from innovation to innovation; • some new ideas diffuse relatively rapidly and the S-curve is quite steep. • Other innovations have a slower rate of adoption, and the S-curve is more gradual, with a slope that is relatively lazy.
  45. 45. Rate of Adoption • There are also differences in the rate of adoption for the same innovation in different social systems.
  46. 46. A Social System • Defined as: a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem-solving to accomplish a common goal. • This sharing of a common objective binds the system together.
  47. 47. A Social System • The social structure of the system affects the innovation’s diffusion in several ways. Here we deal with: – how the system’s social structure affects diffusion, – the effect of norms on diffusion, – the roles of opinion leaders
  48. 48. Social Structure • To the extent that the units in a social system are not all identical in their behaviour, structure exists in the system. • Structure - the patterned arrangements of the units in a system.
  49. 49. Social Structure • Structure gives regularity and stability to human behaviour in a system; it allows one to predict behaviour with some degree of accuracy. • Structure represents one type of information, in that it decreases uncertainty.
  50. 50. Social Structure • An illustration of this predictability - is structure in a bureaucratic organisation. Here there is a well-developed social structure, consisting of hierarchical positions, giving officials in higher-ranked positions the right to issue orders to individuals of lower rank. They expect their orders to be carried out. • Such patterned social relationships among the members of a system constitute social structure, one type of structure.
  51. 51. Social Structure • We can also have a communication structure, defined as: • the differentiated elements that can be recognized in the patterned communication flows in a system. • Communications structures are interpersonal networks linking a system’s members, determining who interacts with whom and under what circumstances.
  52. 52. Social Structure • A complete lack of communication structure in a system would be represented by a situation in which each individual talked with equal probability to each other member of the system. • Class in society can be regarded as both a social structure but also a communications structure.
  53. 53. Social Structure • Regularized patterns of communication within a system predict, in part, the behaviour of individual members of the social system, including when they adopt an innovation. • Thus it is difficult to study how innovations spread without some knowledge of the social structures in which potential adopters are located.
  54. 54. SYSTEM NORMS AND DIFFUSION. • Norms are: the established behaviour patterns for the members of a social system. They define a range of tolerable behaviour and serve as a guide or a standard for the members’ behaviour in a social system. • The norms of a system tell an individual what behaviour is expected. Thus a system’s norms can be a barrier to change. • Norms can operate at the level of a nation, a religious community, an organisation, or a local system like a village.
  55. 55. OPINION LEADERS • Most innovative member of a system often perceived as a deviant from the social system • Thus is accorded low credibility by the average members of the system. • Thus their role in diffusion is likely to be limited.
  56. 56. OPINION LEADERS • Other members of the system function as opinion leaders. They provide information and advice about innovations to many in the system. • They are opinion leaders
  57. 57. OPINION LEADERS • Opinion leadership is: the degree to which an individual is able to influence other individuals’ attitudes/behaviour. • This leadership is not a function of the individual’s formal position. • Opinion leadership is earned and maintained by the individual’s – technical competence, – social accessibility, and – conformity to the system’s norms.
  58. 58. OPINION LEADERS • Thus when the social system is oriented to change, the opinion leaders are quite innovative; but when the system’s norms are opposed to change, the behaviour of the leaders also reflects this norm
  59. 59. OPINION LEADERS • . When compared with their followers opinion leaders are: – are more exposed to all forms of external communication, – have somewhat higher social status, and – are more innovative (although the exact degree of innovativeness depends, in part, on the system’s norms).
  60. 60. OPINION LEADERS • Opinion leaders occupy an influential position in their system’s communication structure: • They are at the centre of interpersonal communication networks - interconnected individuals linked by patterned flows of information.