INNOVATION & Research shows you don’t want to be too slow to adopt it… or too quick!

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: This article from the Academy of Management points out that when innovations arise it is usually unhealthy to be too slow to adopt innovation … or too quick. Most of the “diffusion of innovationdiscussion has centered around organizations that are too slow to adopt innovation. But this research also points out that “innovators” who move too quickly also often become weak because of the lack of market support for the new idea. So the lesson is: don’t be too slow to adopt innovation… or too quick. A moderate pace of “early adoption” rather than the lauded “innovator stage” may be best.

How Established Firms Respond to Threatening Technologies
by Arnold C. Cooper and Clayton G. Smith
The Executive, Vol. 6, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 55-70. Published by: Academy of Management Retrieved from:

Major product innovations that create new industries are considered from the perspective of established firms for whom the innovation poses a substitution threat. Based upon a study of eight young industries and twenty-seven leading “threatened firms,” common patterns of industry development are considered, as are the participation strategies of those companies that decided to enter the new field. The challenges and pitfalls that were often encountered are examined and implications are developed for firms that choose to enter threatening young industries. While there are no assured success formulas, the discussion highlights some of the problems that can be encountered and suggests possibilities for avoiding them. [image1.JPG]

Graph retrieved from

INNOVATION & Charts on Accelerating Diffusion of Innovation & Maloney’s 16% Rule

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “The following charts describe the ‘Innovation Adoption Curve’ developed by Everett Rogers in his book on diffusion of innovations titled, Diffusion of Innovations.  In addition Maloney discovered a 16% rule that impacts Roger’s curve. Chris Maloney, Marketing Manager for HSBC Australia delivered his presentation on the 16% rule at Loyalty World Australia in 2011.

Maloney’s 16% rule suggests that an organization begins with a “scarcity” strategy, i.e. when people perceive something is scarce, it will generate demand … to “social proof” where people begin to do things they see others doing. (For more on scarcity and social proof see Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Arizona State professor of psychology and marketing Robert Cialdini.

See the charts below to understand both of these important principles of innovation.”

Diffusion of Innovation Adoption Curve

Accelerating Diffusion of Innovation - Maloney's 16% Rule

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