Thursday, February 23, 2012

GlobalMedia: Development Communication: Diffusion of Innovations (U4-P3)

Everett Rogers
Discuss Diffusion of Innovations as an Approach to Development.

Everett Rogers wrote Diffusion of Innovations (1962, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2003).

What is an innovation?
  • An idea, object or practice...
  • Perceived as new...
  • By an individual or organization.

What is the diffusion of innovations?
  • An innovation ...
  • Communicated via channels...
  • Over time...
  • Among the members of a social system.

The characteristics (or attributes) of innovations, as perceived by individuals, help to explain their rate of adoption.  Characteristics of innovations are one important set of variables influencing the rate of adoption.

  1. Relative Advantage
    1. Relative advantage is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being better than the idea it supersedes
    2. e.g. economic profitability, decrease in discomfort, savings in time and effort, immediacy of reward
  2. Compatibility
    1. Compatibility is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as consistent with existing values, past experiences, and needs of potential adopters.
    2. Example: rap music and the role of MTV in making rap accessible and acceptable for all youth (Black & White).
  3. Complexity
    1. Complexity is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as relatively difficult to understand and use.
    2. Example: DOS vs. Windows
  4. Trialability
    1. Trialability is the degree to which an innovation may be experimented with on a limited basis.
  5. Observability
    1. Observability is the degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others.
    2. Examples: solar panels & DBS, PrimeStar, DISH and the like

Given the above, how could diffusion of innovations (a communication theory) be used in development work?

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