Innovation drives business, organizations and brands’ successes. But why do some innovations spread, and others struggle?
Dr. Everett M. Rogers, a renowned expert in innovation diffusions and author of the famous Diffusion of Innovations, reports that there are five perceived attributes of innovations which should be studied when developing innovations.
In his 40-plus year career, Dr. Rogers proved his theories on ideas and innovations as diverse as the laptop, 9/11 attack news, STOP AIDS, electric cars, mobile phones and kindergarten. It’s no surprise that the tipping point idea finds its origins in diffusion theory.
Rogers uses the mobile phone to illustrate these perceived attributes of successful innovations (you can probably substitute tablet, hybrid cars and Google for the cell phone):
- Relative Advantage — the degree to which an innovation is perceived as better than the idea it supersedes. A main benefit of the mobile phone was that it saved an estimated two hours per week, allowing business people to avoid missed appointments and cope with delayed schedules.
- Compatibility — the degree to which innovation is perceived as consistent with existing values, past experiences, and needs of potential adopters. A mobile phone connects its user with an existing telephone system and allows the user to talk with anyone who has a regular telephone.
- Complexity — the degree to which an innovation is perceived as relatively difficult to understand and use. From a user’s perspective, a mobile phone operates exactly the same as a regular phone, and so it wasn’t necessary to learn any new skills.
- Triability — the degree to which an innovation may be experimented with on a limited basis. A friend’s mobile phone could be borrowed for trial use. And in the early 1990s, rental cars often came equipped with a mobile phone, which provided a trial innovation for many individuals.
- Observability — the degree to which the results of innovation are visible to others. It’s positively related to a rate of adoption. The use of mobile phones in cars, restaurants, lobbies, buses and other public places help emphasize their conferral of status on potential buyers.
So as you think about innovations in your life and business, study these attributes and factor them in to help create and spread innovations and succeed.
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