Overview Edit

The Diffusion of Innovation Theory was first discussed historically in 1903 by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde  who plotted the original S-shaped diffusion curve, followed by Ryan and Gross who introduced the adopter categories that were later used in the current theory popularized by Everett Rogers. Katz (1957) is also credited for first introducing the notion of opinion leaders, opinion followers and how the media interacts to influence these two groups. The Diffusion of Innovation theory is often regarded as a valuable change model for guiding technological innovation where the innovation itself is modified and presented in ways that meet the needs across all levels of adopters. It also stresses the importance of communication and peer networking within the adoption process.[1]

DofI bell

Five Categories of Adopters Edit

The five categories of adopters can be described in the context of technological innovation adoption and their influence on the innovative and adoption processes.[2]


Five Categories of Adopters


Within this theory, the goal is not to move people within the five adopter categories into another category, but to streamline the innovation to meet the needs of all five categories.[4]

The Diffusion ProcessEdit

Diffusion Process

The Diffusion Process

Peer NetworksEdit

The concept of peer networks is important in the Diffusion of Innovation theory. It is the critical mass achieved through the influence of innovators and early adopters who serve as opinion leaders that sparks the initial “take off” point in the innovation adoption process. These opinion leaders serve as valuable integral change agents who influence their peers through peer to peer communication, role modeling, and networking. This process works well within an organization or in society at large. A prime example is the use of social media networking to influence people through opinion leader tactics.[5]

Five Stage Adoption ProcessEdit

Knowledge or Awareness Stage

Individual is exposed to innovation but lacks complete information.[6]

Persuasion or Interest Stage

Individual becomes interested in the new idea and seeks additional information.[7]

Decision or Evaluation Stage

Individual mentally applies innovation to his present and anticipated future situation, and then decides whether or not to try it.[8]

Implementation or Trial Stage

Individual makes full use of innovation[9]

Confirmation or Adoption Stage

Individual decides to continue the full use of innovation[10]

References Edit

  1. Taken from: Kaminski, J. (Spring 2011).Diffusion of Innovation Theory Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics, 6(2). Theory in Nursing Informatics Column.
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Related Pages Edit

Innovation Characteristics

DOI Theory: Strategies and Best Practices

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