Innovators lead, a position that most businesses want to occupy as do many of the people in business. But whilst the term innovate and the many various forms of the term are easy to use, they are not easily adopted in the true sense of the word. The risk of being an innovator is a high rate of failure, balanced alongside high rewards for those that succeed through innovating. To truly innovate needs courage and conviction and Is not for the faint hearted.
Much has been written on the subject innovation and diffusion of innovations, how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread.
Everett Rogers, a professor of communication studies, popularised the theory in his book ‘Diffusion of Innovations’ first published in 1962.
In his book Rogers proposes that four main elements influence the spread of a new idea: the innovation itself, communication channels, time, and a social system. This process relies heavily on human capital. The innovation must be widely adopted in order to self-sustain. Within the rate of adoption, there is a point at which an innovation reaches critical mass.
The categories of adopters are; innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Diffusion manifests itself in different ways and is highly subject to the type of adopters and innovation-decision process. The criterion for the adopter categorisation is innovativeness, defined as the degree to which an individual adopts a new idea.
The rise of technology since ‘Diffusion of Innovations’ was written has seen the world change before our eyes. Change is now faster than ever before, and getting faster. This is probably best illustrated with the work Google and NASA are currently doing in the realm of Quantum Computing. A computing process that would take the most powerful ‘normal’ computer on Earth currently, owned by Google, 10,000 years to process what can now be done in 3 minutes by their Quantum Computer.
The video below from the development team at Google gives some insight to their Quantum Computer. The main technology advance is derived through the innovative adoption of the principles of Quantum Physics. The video explains a diabolically complex concept very simply.
So, with change getting ever faster and new technologies emerging that potentially offer businesses advantages to innovate and lead, the winners would seem to be the early adopters. The early adopter process however remains unchanged, the insight to recognise a winner and having the courage to back it.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and when applied to online marketing early adopters have been very handsomely rewarded. Technologies like email marketing rewarded early adopters in the late 90’s and early 00’s with results and returns on investment now unavailable. Open rates and click through rates to dream of were there for all brave enough to experiment and develop. Results drove development and as the discipline grew in adoption results declined, and a normal product lifecycle chart emerged.
Google AdWords was similar, early adopters like Amazon quite literally built their business from it.
The prize for getting it right is so high that many can’t aspire to setting out to achieve such a goal, backing emerging technologies requires the ability to recognise the potential and the courage to act on it. As previously quoted, not for the faint hearted, so the winners are selected from a very small group of entrants.
Email marketing is/was one channel, you either do/did it or you don’t. There are no half measures and no variations on the theme. Google AdWords is the same.
Social Media is Different, there are many established channels and there are many new and emerging channels, emerging channels that in a few years will be established.
H&C News would like to thank all who took part