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Acceptance and Diffusion of Innovations

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Innovation Adoption Curve

Summary of Rogers' Innovation Adoption Curve. Abstract

Multi-Step Flow Theory

Diffusion of Innovations Theory

Rogers innovation adoption curveThe innovation adoption curve of Rogers is a model that classifies adopters of innovations into various categories, based on the idea that certain individuals are inevitably more open to adaptation than others. Is is also referred to as Multi-Step Flow Theory or Diffusion of Innovations Theory.


Brave people, pulling the change. Innovators are very important communication.

Early Adopters

Respectable people, opinion leaders, try out new ideas, but in a careful way.

Early Majority

Thoughtful people, careful but accepting change more quickly than the average.

Late Majority

Skeptic people, will use new ideas or products only when the majority is using it.


Traditional people, caring for the "old ways", are critical towards new ideas and will only accept it if the new idea has become mainstream or even tradition.

The diffusion of innovations curve (innovation adoption curve) of Rogers is useful to remember that trying to quickly and massively convince the mass of a new controversial idea is useless. It makes more sense in these circumstances to start with convincing innovators and early adopters first. Also the categories and percentages can be used as a first draft to estimate target groups for communication purposes.

Diffusion research focus was on five elements: 1) the characteristics of an innovation which may influence its adoption; 2) the decision-making process that occurs when individuals consider adopting a new idea, product or practice; 3) the characteristics of individuals that make them likely to adopt an innovation; 4) the consequences for individuals and society of adopting an innovation; and 5) communication channels used in the adoption process.

T I P : Here you can discuss and learn a lot more about innovation diffusion and adoption.

Compare with the Innovation Adoption Curve: Product Life Cycle  |  Bass Diffusion model  |  Positioning  |  ADL Matrix

More management models


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