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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)