What Is Diffusion of Innovations? Definition of Diffusion of Innovations, Diffusion of Innovations Meaning and Concept

The diffusion of innovations is a theory whose objective is to explain how and why ideas move in different cultures.

The main element of this theory is innovation. The novelty of the communicated idea arises within the scope of the diffusion of innovations in terms of knowledge and persuasion. The adoption of an innovation is key in theory.

History of the diffusion of innovations

The concept was introduced by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde in the 19th century and by the German and Austrian anthropologists Friedrich Ratzel and Leo Frobenius.

His idea initially applied in terms of internal-influence was formulated by H. Earl Pemberton. The idea understood as an explanation about how an innovation is communicated through certain channels in time and among the members of a social system and how this 'new idea' is accepted and disseminated among its members.

Its application became very popular in the marketing sector.

Main elements of the diffusion of innovations

There are four main elements that make up the theory of the diffusion of innovations.

  1. Innovation: It is a topic, information, concept that is perceived as something new for the individual. It is something subjective for the user since for some it may mean something new, for others the opposite. If it is perceived as something new, it means expanding the source of knowledge on the part of that user.
  2. Time : It is an element to take into account within the theory since it is the so-called speed of adoption that is measured as a relative speed until a certain percentage of the population adopts the innovation. The speed of adoption of an innovation also depends on the social system, different social systems have different speeds of adoption for the same innovation.
  3. Communication channels: The channel is the means by which this innovative idea is shared between one individual and another. The fastest means that can accelerate this process are the mass media.
  4. Social system : A social system can be understood as a set of individuals who are related in some way in a certain place. The members of the social system can be individuals or groups, organizations or subsystems.

Until recently, it was thought that the diffusion of innovations was a theory of the past, but it has been recovering spaces especially in relation to the internet and the explosion of new technologies.

The fact that the introduction of an idea in a given context is novel constitutes it an innovation, for example: the use of seat belts in our environment even though we have seen it for a long time in the movies; The use of the helmet, which although in other times has been part of the daily life of the social group, given its disuse, can become an innovation when it is retaken.

Example of diffusion of innovations

Within the story we can find several examples of novel articles that meet the above parameters and that have been a novel introduction to the market for the user.

We can find examples such as the launch of the first personal computer, Macintosh 128k that Steve Jobs created.

The creation of the social network Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 would be another example of this type of innovation.