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Tuesday, June 24, 2014


The second category of Disruptive Men is those who disrupt conventional wisdom creating catalytic innovation. These individuals or groups innovate and create 'sea changes' in medical  practice and administration.

Many changes are initially perceived as 'disruptive' rather than as a catalytic innovation. This applies to adopting electronic health records, changes in reimbursement from volume based payment  to quality of outcome. This group includes administrators as well as physicians.  Progress may be seen as creating inefficiency initially. Diffusion of innovation as described by Everett Rogers, a professor of communication studies, popularized the theory in his book Diffusion of Innovations; the book was first published in 1962, and is now in its fifth edition (2003).[1]  

Adopter categoryDefinition
InnovatorsInnovators are the first individuals to adopt an innovation. Innovators are willing to take risks, have the highest social class, have great financial liquidity, are very social and have closest contact to scientific sources and interaction with other innovators. Risk tolerance has them adopting technologies which may ultimately fail. Financial resources help absorb these failures. (Rogers 1962 5th ed, p. 282)
Early adoptersThis is the second fastest category of individuals who adopt an innovation. These individuals have the highest degree of opinion leadership among the other adopter categories. Early adopters have a higher social status, have more financial liquidity, advanced education, and are more socially forward than late adopters. More discrete in adoption choices than innovators. Realize judicious choice of adoption will help them maintain central communication position (Rogers 1962 5th ed, p. 283).
Early MajorityIndividuals in this category adopt an innovation after a varying degree of time. This time of adoption is significantly longer than the innovators and early adopters. Early Majority tend to be slower in the adoption process, have above average social status, contact with early adopters, and seldom hold positions of opinion leadership in a system (Rogers 1962 5th ed, p. 283)
Late MajorityIndividuals in this category will adopt an innovation after the average member of the society. These individuals approach an innovation with a high degree of skepticism and after the majority of society has adopted the innovation. Late Majority are typically skeptical about an innovation, have below average social status, very little financial liquidity, in contact with others in late majority and early majority, very little opinion leadership.
LaggardsIndividuals in this category are the last to adopt an innovation. Unlike some of the previous categories, individuals in this category show little to no opinion leadership. These individuals typically have an aversion to change-agents. Laggards typically tend to be focused on "traditions", likely to have lowest social status, lowest financial liquidity, be oldest of all other adopters, in contact with only family and close friends.
LeapfroggersThe phenomenon when resistors upgrade they will often need to skip several generations in order to reach the most recent technologies.

As the diffusion process progresses and the innovation gains popularity, observers and adopters often credit the 'disruptors' as creative individuals. The conventional wisdom of doing more to increase productivity is replaced by thoughtful analysis of the tasks at hand.  Also as the diffusion occurs improvements occur in the original idea which make it more acceptable and useful.  The disruptive process if fine tuned by early disrupters, making it also more acceptable to current process.

How experts explain technology adoption cycle

The accepted premise is that every new technology goes through the following phases:
  1. Hype: Search for next big thing leads to Hype around any new technology.
  2. Struggle: Adoption of these Bleeding Edge technologies depended on the Visionaries who had the vision, energy and money to make it work.
  3. Success: Mainstream adoption required convincing the Pragmatists who needed success stories and support system around the technology.

Not all innovation is accepted or gains popularity. 

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