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Lecture 13. The Diffusion of Innovations. What is Diffusion of Innovation?. It is not so much about what researchers or inventors innovate – it is more about what people adopt . Definition of Diffusion of Innovation.

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lecture 13

Lecture 13

The Diffusion of Innovations

what is diffusion of innovation
What is Diffusion of Innovation?
  • It is not so much about what researchers or inventors innovate– it is more about what people adopt.
definition of diffusion of innovation
Definition of Diffusion of Innovation
  • “the process by which an innovation is communicatedthrough certain channels over time among the members of a social system” (Rogers 1983)
four basic concepts in diffusion of innovation
Four Basic Concepts in Diffusion of Innovation
  • Innovation
    • Idea, object, or practice that is perceived as new
  • Channels of Communication
    • Means by which info is transmitted to or within the social system
  • Time
    • Rate at which the innovation is diffused or the relative speed with which it is adopted
  • Social System
    • Individuals, organizations, or agencies that are potential adopters of the innovation
common scope of diffusion research
Common Scope of Diffusion Research
  • (1) Characteristics of an innovation which may influence its adoption
  • (2) Decision-making process that occurs when individuals consider adopting a new innovation
  • (3) The characteristics of individuals that make them likely to adopt the innovation
  • (4) The consequences for individuals and society of adopting the innovation
  • (5) Communication channels used in the adoption process
various early diffusion studies
Various Early Diffusion Studies

Adapted from Mahajan and Peterson (1985)

purpose of diffusion models
Purpose of Diffusion Models
  • To depict the successive increase in the number of adopters over time.
    • Permits predictionof the continued development of the diffusion process.
    • Facilitates a theoretical explanation of the dynamics of the diffusion process.
who uses this stuff
Who uses this stuff?
  • Marketers!
  • Movie studios
  • Political and Interest groups
foundations of research on diffusion of innovations
Foundations of Research on Diffusion of Innovations
  • Gabriel Tarde (1903)
    • Proposed the S-shaped curve
    • As it turned out, study after study tended to show the exact same S-shaped curve when researchers plot the rate of adoption over time.
foundations of research on diffusion of innovations1
Foundations of Research on Diffusion of Innovations
  • Ryan and Gross (1943)
    • Categories of Adopters (relative time of adoption)
      • Innovators
      • Early adopters
      • Early/Late Majorities
      • Laggards
opinion leadership
Opinion Leadership
  • Opinion leaders are key for influence and thus ability to successfully diffuse an innovation.
  • Opinion leaders are concentrated among the early adopters, not the innovators.
stages of adoption
Stages of Adoption
  • Everett Rogers (1995)
    • Awareness
    • Interest
    • Evaluation
    • Trial
    • Adoption
categorizing adopters and non adopters
Categorizing Adopters and Non-Adopters
  • Adoption:
    • accept and use innovation
  • Nonadoption:
    • nontrial of an innovation
  • Discontinuance:
    • rejection of an innovation after it has previously been adopted
epidemic models

N of users


Epidemic Models
  • Based on simple examination of “spread”
    • Simplest version is basic exponential model
    • Central-source model
epidemic models continued

N of users


Epidemic Models (continued)
  • Modified spread model
    • Diffusion works through word-of-mouth (i.e., previous users)