Laggards and Innovators

Yesterday I had a meeting with the SBA (Strategic Business Analysis) unit of TNO about the toolbox. One thing that has been on my mind ever since, is their opinion that I should gear the toolbox towards the innovators and the early adopters.

At first that did not make sense to me, because surely the companies that are up-to-date on their business processes can find out how to do user research themselves? Don’t the laggards need the toolbox more? But then I started reading the work of Rogers et al. from 1962, and it turns out there is something to it. If the innovators do not adopt a process, the early adopters won’t see it being used by their examples, therefore will not think to use it themselves, and so on throughout the curve. It simply does not make sense to market to the laggards, because that means most laggards will never hear about it.

In fact, the innovators here are companies like Apple and Google, researchers such as Marc Hassenzahl and Agile. I need to find out where the UX and Agile trends are, so I can focus the toolbox on facilitating convincing the next group of adopters.

I immediately ordered Rogers’ book Diffusion of Innovations, and it turns out a whole lot of books on my ‘waiting to be read’- shelf are going to go to my ‘read now’ pile. Check it out:


Another suggestion from SBA is to take a quantitative survey amongst SMEs to find out how innovative different companies are with their business processes, and to be able to rank them on the Rogers curve. Through that, I can check the progress of methods like UX and Agile, and also find companies that are just in the process of discovering it, that may benefit most from the toolbox.


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