What is Diffusion? The process of communicating innovation through certain channels over time through members of a social system.
Diffusion of Innovation Theory How new ideas, products, and behaviors become norms All levels: individual, interpersonal, community, and organizational Success determined by: nature of innovation, communication channels, adoption time, social system Source: Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 4th ed. (New York: The Free Press, 1995).
Use of an innovation requires Consideration Adoption Implementation Sustainability
Key components of Diffusion Theory Innovation (attributes) Adopter (degree of innovativeness) Social system Individual adoption process Diffusion system
Program (Innovation) Characteristics Relative advantage Compatibility Complexity Observability of the results Impact on social relations Reversibility Communicability Required time and commitment Risk and uncertainty Ability to be modified Oldenburg, et al., 1997; Rogers, 1995
Characteristics of individual adopters Innovators venturesome; shortest time between awareness and adoption Early adopters opinion leaders Early majority deliberators Late majority skeptical Laggards traditional; need more potent outreach and incentives
Concerned with the structure of the system: Opinion Leaders Potential adopter perception of social pressure to adopt Social System
Innovation-Decision Process Knowledge Persuasion Decision Implementation Continuation
Diffusion System Defined as the external change agency including Change agents-seek out and intervene with opinion leader and innovation champions Organizational Characteristics Other influences on developing active diffusion must take into account the organization’s 1) Goals 2) Authority structure 3) Roles, rules & regulations 4) Informal norms and relationships
Diffusion of Innovation Communication channels Mass media (enhanced by listening groups, call-in opportunities, and face- to-face approaches) Peers Respected leaders
Classical diffusion model Focus on adopter innovativeness Individuals as locus of decision Communication channels Adoption as primary outcome
Diffusion of innovation theory Dissemination of interventions Dearing JW.. J Public Health Management Practice, 2008, 14(2), 99–108
Dissemination of innovations changes highlighted by Dearing (2008) include: A shift from how we conceive social systems from focus on a physical community to focus on societal sectors & social networks The nature of diffusion systems we create to interface with social systems where we want to intervene (more decentralized, multifaceted, yet retaining some centralized efficiency) Increased interest in dissemination innovations in complex organizations --attn. to what goes on ‘upstream’ to affect change.
Diffusion Theory in Social Sectors and Social Networks Benefits Organizational adoption rather than individual adoption Homophilous community Organizational structure facilitates: communication, competitiveness (monitoring and mirroring)
Diffusion Theory in Social Sectors and Social Networks In organizations, those who decided on the innovation are not always those who implement the innovation.
Summary: Current Dissemination Research Tests interventions that operationalize concepts rooted in diffusion theory & other approaches Unit of adoption is complex organizations Focus on implementation issues
Lessons for Dissemination Science Timing: Windows of Opportunity Clustering of decisions to adopt innovations Environmental policy and media should agree with (or at least not contradict) the changeportunities