Innovation Adoption Curve

The Innovation Adoption Curve of Rogers Everett is a business framework that classifies adopters of innovations into various categories. It is based on the idea that certain individuals are inevitably more open for adaptation than others. It is similar to the management models of Product Life Cycle,  Consumer Adoption Curve, Multi-Step Flow Theory, and Diffusion of Innovations Theory.

Innovation Diffusion has 5 Elements:

  1. Characteristics of an innovation which may influence its adoption;
  2. Decision-making process that occurs when individuals consider to adopt a new idea, product or practice;
  3. Characteristics of individuals that make them likely to adopt an innovation;
  4. Consequences for individuals and society of adopting an innovation; and
  5. Communication channels used in the adoption process.

Innovation Adoption Curve

  • Innovators. Brave people, pulling the change. Innovators are very important communication mechanisms.
  • Early Adopters. Respectable people, opinion leaders, try out new ideas, but in a careful way.
  • Early Majority. Thoughtful people, careful but accept change more quickly than average people do.
  • Late Majority. Skeptic people, will use new ideas or products only when the majority is using it.
  • Laggards. Traditional people, love to stick to the “old ways”, are critical about new ideas and will only accept it if the new idea has become mainstream or even tradition.

The Innovation Adoption Curve also ties specific market share percentages to each adoption segment, as delineated in the diagram below.



For PowerPoint templates illustrating the innovation adoption curve, you can download this collection of management models.

Usage of Innovation Adoption Curve

The adoption curve of Rogers for innovation is useful to remember it is useless to try to quickly and massively convince the mass of a new controversial idea. It is better to start first with convincing the innovators and the early adopters. Also the categories and percentages can be used as a first draft to estimate target groups for communication purposes.

Business frameworks like Innovation Adoption Curve are invaluable to evaluating and analyzing various business problems. You can download business frameworks developed by management consultants and other business professionals at Flevy here.

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This is a discussion deck template for a corporate strategy development session. In this discussion, we go through a 2-prong approach to growth and evaluate the merits of various growth drivers. This same document is available for purchase on Flevy here.
Have you used Innovation Adoption Curve in your work? Please share your experiences and insights in the comments section below.


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