The Characteristics of Innovation

March 05 2015

Everett Roger popularized the theory: Diffusion of innovations. This is a theory that explains how, why, and at what rate new technology and idea spread through cultures. The theory of the diffusion of innovations has varied origins and spans multiple disciplines. Professor Rogers suggested that there are four main elements that influence the spread of a new idea- the innovation, communication channel, social system and time. The theory must be widely adopted in order to self-sustain, identify and explain factors that lead to the groups.

The diffusion of innovations is a complex process; designing teams can use this complex process with their knowledge to create a road map for how they will consign factors in the marketing and designing of their product. This article will address five basic characteristic which help to adopt the theory of Diffusion of Innovation and explains how these characteristics are self sustain.

Characteristics of Innovation

Characteristics of an Innovation

People do not adopt new products automatically. It takes a conscious decision of whether to use a particular product or not. That is, their decision to accept an innovation is intentional. Designers must proactively address their innovation so individuals should decide on long-term use of their product.

The innovation theory identifies the following five characteristics that determine people’s use of your innovation.

  1. Relative advantages

    Potential audience needs to see how your innovation improves from previous generation products according to their current situation. Improvements can be made in one or many of these areas:

    1. alliance of multiple functions into one tool,

    2. better service,

    3. decreased need for equipment and supplies,

    4. improved interface,

    5. increased customizability, longevity,

    6. empowerment of users,

    7. reduced user effort, environmental impact,

    8. increased productivity,

    9. Saving of time, money, space and storage.

    The simple example of innovation is typewriters are replaced by computer word-processing programs. The relative advantage was obvious; this word programs didn’t require any extra physical other then a personal computer; reduced the need for ink; documents could be edited easily and files could be saved and transported to other computers using PDs, disks. Soon, typewriters were cleared out of offices replacing these computer word-processing programs.

  2. Compatibility

    Compatibility refers to the harmony of relationship that an innovation has with potential individuals as they absorb mentally it into their lives. To potential users it is important to know that the innovation you are providing will be agreeable with their lifestyle. If your innovation requires a huge lifestyle change; or a user have to acquire additional products to use your innovation then it is more apt to fail.

    Innovations are a greatest success when individuals are able to smoothly adopt them; they could easily replace an existing product or idea, for the better with your innovation.

    Apple’s iPad is a perfect example of an innovation; it had a high level of compatibility with users’ lives when released. Many users were capable to replace their currently using products with the iPad, to check email, to read magazines, books and blogs, to view videos online and many more activities which they currently were doing on their smartphones and laptops.

    Designers must understand infrastructure and what improvement will work on the product they are designing, and should have deep understanding of conditions that your product will met. A designer must answer following question while thinking of his innovation compatibility:

    1. How will your innovation fit into lives of its users?

    2. Is there any additional products will be required by your innovation to succeed?

    3. How will your innovation bring shift in the behaviour of its adopter?

    4. What are existing products that your innovation may replace?

    5. How does your innovation affect your potential adopters’ mentally, their beliefs and attitudes regarding your innovation release?

    The questions are meant to highlight a designers need to be aware of not are comprehended. The success of your innovation lie on your design team which ensure that the innovation adjust with the users’ beliefs, values, attitude and behaviours.

  3. Complexity vs simplicity

    How difficult for an adopter to learn and use your innovation?

    Obviously, complexity slows down your progress; the complex innovation is more difficult for potential users’ to incorporate it into their lives. Adopters do not invest much time in learning to use an innovation. The more instinctive your innovation would be, the more surely it will be adopted.

    Your design team should design with keeping in mind main focus Simplicity. Your team must be able to address usability issue that users face, and then clarify them through FAQs, walkthrough videos, tooltips, otherlearning materials.

  4. Trialability

    How easily your potential adopters can explore your innovative idea describes trialability. Before committing to your innovation, users want to give a brief look on what your innovation can do and want to give it a test run. This is what the fundamental concept of trial sizes for concrete goods and beta releases for digital goods. Every adopter wants to see for themselves what and how life might be they adopt the product.

    Every designers need to make product available to potential adopters for trials. There are examples for accomplishment of trailability of digital product; offers of 30-day free trial with limited functionality, hoping that users might have a good experience during this period, and paying for the full subscription price is worth being.

    Most importantly your design team must ensure that trial product provided should be of high quality and represents the experience that your users wants to have. Don’t overdo your free trial phenomenon; this is not your first opportunity for testing or gathering user feedback.

  5. Observability

    Observability is the benefits or results of using an innovation visible to potential adopters. Observability stretches beyond having earlier users use an innovation in view of later users; potential adopters must clearly figure out the benefits of adopting an innovation and using it.

    There are some ways through which you can show benefits to potential adopters:

    1. Side-by-side comparison. A side-by-side comparison with currently using product is good when your innovation has simple and easily noticeable improvements.

    2. Before and after Showing adopters the positive difference in their lives your innovation will bring, will have a huge impact on the success of your innovation.

    3. Testimonials Running an ad campaign, is important, people like to hear who they perceive to be like them. Users who write reviews and testimonials make a big impact on influencing the potential adopters.

Conclusion: Go Fizz And Innovate!

Design team should be prepared to control the expected situation in addressing the concepts related to innovations. They should make the lists of typical characteristics of innovation. They must ask following question while releasing your innovation.

  • What conditions are needed to advance your innovation (like access to high-speed Internet)?

  • What technologies are required to agreeable with your innovation?

  • What elements are there that you can control and make improvements in?

  • Who are your competitors?

  • What are your competitors marketing criterion? And what marketing is beneficial for success of your innovation?

  • What type of trialability will you offer?

  • How your innovation going to affect the lifestyle world wide?

  • How will you make aware of your innovation?

Finding answers to these questions will bring a much higher chances of success for your innovation. These questions may create a roadmap to move forward, and can predict crystal clear future as possible. Design teams that knowledge the theory of diffusion of innovations will measure advantage over competitors.