DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS
Application: Product Strategy, Communications Strategy
Diffusion of innovation is the process by which societies learn of new concepts and adjust to them. It is a theory of how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. It tracks the course of new ideas and concepts, like water purification or environmental concern, as they grow in influence through a society. It is used by public bodies to help with significant social initiatives like changes in health practice or agricultural techniques.
The phenomenon is, essentially, a communication process which involves word-of-mouth, publicity, and subtle forms of marketing. The social scientists who study this phenomenon recommend the use of opinion leaders, experts, and catalysts to help an idea spread. It is from this, not the product life cycle literature, that the attitudes of various groups of people at different phases of diffusion (which is used so extensively by marketers) are drawn (see Figure D.2). Some are: