Diffuse Musings

July 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Technical Tips | Leave a comment
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Following up my Google+ post, I thought I would bring in technology innovation and adoption.  It is probably no surprise to you that not everyone jumps on new bandwagons as they roll through town, no matter what the purported benefits. When new technology innovations occur, acceptance differs by individual and time. Some innovations are absorbed rather dramatically, like the smartphone and the MP3 format, while others require some incubation before acceptance – such as Internet TV, Blu-ray, and the DVD. And countless other technologies never catch on.

Everett Rogers attempted to describe this phenomenon in his “Diffusion of Innovations” theory. According to Rogers, we go through a five-step process when determining whether to adopt a given technology:

  1. Knowledge. What is it? In this step, an individual gains awareness that a technology exists and its basic functionality.
  2. Persuasion. Do I like it? In this step, an individual gains a positive or negative view of the technology.
  3. Decision. Should I use it? In this step, an individual determines whether to adopt or reject the technology.
  4. Implementation. How should I use it? In this step, an individual looks for opportunities to use the technology.
  5. Confirmation. How did it work? In this step, an individual gains evaluates how well the technology works.

Although we may all go through the same steps, the speed of adoption can differ widely. Some people are more likely to embrace up-and-coming trends, while others rather until their friend join in. The bell-curve describing individual tolerance for innovation is described as follows:

Bell curve of Individual Innovativeness

This general predisposition can be described by the overall adoption rate, indicated by the following S-curve:

S-Curve of Adoption Rate

So, despite the drive by innovators and early adopters (16%), it is really adoption by the majority (68%) that catapults a technology into ubiquity.

Of course, when considering IT certification, there is also a correlation between the popularity of a specific certification exam and the technology on which it tests. The more widespread the adoption, the more popular the certification exam.

Out of curiosity, where do you fall in the innovation scale? Do you latch onto the latest and greatest, or do you wait for everyone else to try it first?

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