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« To overcome an irrational fear... | Main | Good design (and serial numbers) »

Product adoption: different problems for different folks

The product adoption cycle is one of the most essential things to understand when you seek to launch a product or service, or make any sort of cultural change. Different people sign up for new ideas at different rates.

DiffusionOfInnovation

Some farmers, for example, are eager to try a new type of seed or irrigation device. Some farmers will wait years, or a generation, to try the same thing. Some people start the video going viral, some are the very last to see it.

What distinguishes these people? It's worth noting that someone who might be an innovator at work might choose to be a laggard at home.

It turns out that the key is in the way they present themselves with problems. "I have a problem: I don't have the new cell phone," is a concern of the Innovator. On the other hand, the Early Majority says, "I have a problem, all my friends have a new cell phone and I don't."

Note that few say, "The device I have doesn't have the right features." That's because features don't create problems that we can solve by embracing a new idea or technology. Our stories do. A missing feature might provide some of the narrative of our internal story, but most of all, the story is built around the behavior of those around us.

If you want a population to adopt your innovation, you have to create a problem that is solved by adoption. And that problem is almost always related to, "what about the others?"

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