The Early Bird Captures the Worm – Diffusion of Innovation

You may be familiar with the diagram we're showing. If you aren't it is showing Everett Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation theory for new technology. It’s sixty years old next year and still a popular way of segmenting a population when it comes to innovation adoption. The blue curve is broken into sections of adopters. The yellow curve shows ultimate market saturation.

Innovators are considered to be the rare few who take up a product or new service in it's infancy and drive others to adopt it. Early Adopters are the next group then tend to pick up a new product or service, again still relatively early in stage, however these people would be willing to give something a go before others tell them about it. They may take pride being one of the first or to set a new trend. 

Early majority are when products gain generally acceptance. A recent example of this are smart speakers, at the time of writing they are now probably in the majority of households. People that buy them (seen them on a website or online store) others see the benefits and latch on too. Late majority are those that pretty much have no choice to conform, the cost of the product is cheaper, family members are using them and likely end up buying a late majority user a product too.
Laggards may probably never be convinced. Think of the small percentage of people that still refuse a mobile phone!

 


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The Brightchecker team were talking about this whole innovation challenge recently. Lots of new ideas come along but only a few survive – or ‘cross the chasm’ as some describe it, i.e. make it beyond the few early adopters to ‘catch on’ with the early majority. Remember the Sinclair C5 and the Segway. You can’t fault them for the lack of publicity they got – they just never attracted mass-market appeal. Whatever you call it - weak value proposition, poor product / market fit, no traction - they just failed to fire. They failed to get to a tipping point. Which also is a fabulous read from Malcolm Gladwell. 

Brightchecker has developed new condition-capture software for businesses like commercial landlords, housing associations and letting agents to achieve innovative self-management of surveying their properties, saving time and money on inspections and tenant disputes. All good reasons not to be a laggard!

What does laggard really mean? It means the last to get the benefits. We discussed kettles and microwaves. Almost no-one still boils water in a steam kettle with a whistle on the hob. It’s energy-inefficient, it makes you get up to take it off, it could burn dry. The first electric kettle was invented in 1891. It took 12 minutes to boil water. You’d think people would have given up! The first kettle safety valve didn’t arrive until the 1930s. The pace of innovation has obviously got much faster.

So what is Brightchecker offering? Imagine you are a residential landlord. The traditional way of doing a property check is to visit the property with a checklist, walk round, write notes, take photographs, return to the office and spend an hour or two assembling that into a useful report. It may end up being electronic or paper, or both. Reports can be printed off or sent electronically to owners and tenants. It’s time-consuming activity which, to be frank, many find quite dull and it’s due for an overhaul. Brightchecker isn’t the only asset condition-capture app on the market but it prides itself on it’s user interface and whole user experience. It can capture data by typing, voice, photo and video. Commercial users can brand reports with their own identity, and can produce a report and send it even before they’ve left the property they’re inspecting.

All of these benefits are available to anyone in property management – the landlords of commercial property, those who own their own letting agency, run a franchise, manage a letting agency, those who run housing associations or any tenanted property like local authorities. But if you want to get these benefits early you have to be the early bird. In product innovation it’s usual for the innovators and adopters to pay a higher price because of the cost of development. In 1940 a typical commercially-produced RCA television cost $200-$600 (about $3,600 to $10,800 at current prices).

Not necessarily so with software! You can start getting the benefits immediately. Why wouldn’t you adopt early?


The Author

Phil McSweeney