The technology adoption curve

24 Mar 2016 | Product Management

The technology adoption curve concept came up for the first time in a book from 1962, called Diffusion of Innovations, written by Everett M. Rogers, sociologist and professor at Iowa State University. In his book, Rogers explains that technological innovation are adopted according to the curve showed in the following picture:

Technology adoption curve

Technology adoption curve

In the beginning, innovators are the first to get interested on new products and novelties. They even accept incomplete or defective products just for the pleasure of being the first ones to use this new product. In second place we find the early adopters, also known as visionaries or enthusiasts, who accept the risks of testing a new products, but not for the pleasure of coming first but because they the potential in it. Usually, they are influencers within organizations and communities in which they participate.

The early majority, also called pragmatic, buy new products only after they got references. Late majority are the conservatives, in other words, those who buy only after the price has dropped substantially. Lastly, we have the laggards, who only buy a new product if this is the only option available.

Examples of the S-curve

S-curve in real life

S-curve in real life

Not always so perfect as the theoretical curve, but close enough, the TV curve explains why the television manufacturers are always inventing something new, and then selling it to us.

In first place, there were black and white TVs; then, the colored ones. Then, there were the ones with remote control, flat screen, plasma screen, LCD, LED, 3D and SmartTV. All that so manufacturers could keep getting revenue out of their clients, even after the TV market has matured about 30 years after its was invented.

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Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books about Lean Strategy and Delivery). He's also the creator of FunRetrospectives.com , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here .
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