Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/DoI for You and I

DoI for You and I (Daniel Pardock) edit

Although I am a supporter of and wrote a previous post regarding TAM, I cannot discount the idea of Diffusion of Innovation. This idea takes on several concepts from Marketing (early knowers, early adopters, and change agents) and feeds into an idea of superiority based on early knowledge, the ability to change the minds of the public, and be a trendsetter. One example of Diffusion of Innovation comes from a presentation I did in an earlier MBA class regarding a seed company. The company has been around since 1926, and we learned that its leaders have realized they have only one time per year to ‘sell’ their product: farmers buy their seed once a year, resulting in only 89 times to convince the buyers that their product is the best. Looking back on our research, I realize our presentation followed Diffusion of Innovation almost word-for-word:

Innovation Seeds, at the time, were nothing special. There were no chemicals added or strains spliced together. However, when this particular company began making strains that were more resistant to pesticides, farmers started to take notice.

Adopters The company felt it was in its best interests to start reaching out to farmers and show them the benefits of its new products. By offering discounted (even free) product to farmers looking for the latest and greatest means of increasing production, the company was able to get its message out to people who were going to make sure the locals learned of its benefits.

Communication Channels This particular company knew that farmers talk. They talk at the co-op, at church, at the gas station. They share both the good news and the bad news, and word began to spread that the adopters were seeing a change for the better in their yields.

Time As discussed earlier, the company knew it could only reach its customers once a year. By investing millions of dollars in promoting its product, it made a long-term, expensive investment that had to pay off in order for the firm to remain profitable. The company was counting on word getting out and slowly (but surely) gaining traction within the local community.

Social System With the combination of carefully selecting early adopters, communication amongst the farmers, and a skilled marketing campaign, the seed company was able to gain enough ground to make its product profitable. The company knew how best to reach its customers, that certain farmers were seen as trusted advisers, and, in turn, that what they said was to be trusted.

By following the idea of Diffusion of Information, the company lit a fuse and let it slowly ignite a revolution in farming: pesticide-resistant crops. The company continues today to market its products to its trusted customers who they know will be walking, talking commercials.