May 16, 2019
In 1962, a professor of communication studies called Everett Rogers came up with the principle we call diffusion of innovation. It’s a familiar enough notion, widely taught and works by plotting the adoption of new ideas and products over time as a bell curve, before categorising groups of people along its length as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. It’s a principle bound up with human capital theory and so its influence has endured for over 50 years, albeit in a form compressed by our accelerated proliferation of ideas. It may be useful, but it lacks a third dimension in the modern era. That is, a way of describing the numbers of people who are in one category but think they are in another.