I'm reading Kevin Eikenberry‘s book, Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time and will be having coffee with Kevin tomorrow. It's a fantastic book – and one chapter really hit home with me on championing change.
Kevin discusses change in great detail. One of the references that Kevin uses is the 1962 book by Everett Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations. It's a theory that has stood the test of time… providing insight into how we adopt technologies. The breakdown is as follows:
Even more interesting is when you review adoption on a scale of time. Here are some samples of the adoption of innovation:
That said, I'm not sure that anyone has discussed or measured the business impact of adoption. One of the pieces of advice that I provide clients is that, once a methodology is proven but not yet mainstream, the opportunity for an impact on your business is huge. As time goes by and businesses continue to ignore the adoption, they are losing the potential of that impact. Here's my theoretical chart:
I've watched as companies have gotten in too early on unproven innovations and sank a ton of money and investment into those technologies, losing most of it. One modern example is cloud computing. Early developers and adopters of the technology spent millions and didn't reap the benefits; however, they did pave the way for proving the technology. Once proven, cloud computing is now significantly less expensive and growing rapidly in its adoption. The impact on businesses using cloud computing right now is huge… but as it is adopted throughout the industry, it will no longer be a competitive advantage – it will be mainstream.
As you're reviewing your marketing mix and continuing to ignore the importance of content, business blogging, search engine optimization and social media… you're missing the opportunity to join the early majority of adopters to significantly impact your business. You can continue to wait – it's definitely the safe way out. However, don't be surprised when your late adoption has little or no impact on your business. In fact, you may need to adopt simply to remain competitive in the marketplace.
As a marketer and technologist, I believe it's critical that companies keep up with technology. I'm not stating that all companies should adopt and adopt early. What I am expressing is for companies to recognize the opportunities of early adoption and it what its impact could be if applied to the problems with their business. Every business has challenges and evolving technologies could be the effective solutions to those problems.
A typical example: If you're a business that's struggling with inbound marketing and getting qualified leads right now, early adoption equates to search engine marketing, content development (business blogging) and expanding your content out to relevant networks (social networking). By adopting early, you can get a jump start on your competitors and gain market share. If you wait, you'll be doing these just to keep up in the future… and your time to gain will have passed.