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Diffusion of Innovation

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Diffusion of Innovation Theory: In communications and Media

By: Dezro’ Hill
Agnes Scott College
Public Health 202 Spring 2013
Environmental and Health Communications

Diffusion of Innovation Theory: In communications and Media

In Communications there are various ways that professional’s communication with society to make the world a better place. Media is a helpful form of communication when trying to inform society of important information. However sending these messages can sometimes be difficult when creating. Therefore, professionals have found ways in which they are able to communicate these messages depending on the subject. Theories are the skills which professionals use to communicate these messages depending on the subject. One important theory that is use is the Diffusion of Innovation Theory which is used to communicate with society.
The Diffusion of Innovation Theory is a theory that addresses how new ideas and concepts, and/or practices are diffused throughout a community or society. The theory was developed by Everett Rogers in 1962. The theory has five subgroups in which audiences fall under when adapting the new idea, innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. The innovators are the people in the community to create the idea and inform the people in the community about it. These are the people in the community who uses different communication outreaches to inform the community about what’s going on and how they can change or improve the area around them and themselves. Next the early adopters are the ones in which have an understanding of the idea and are able to go and practice it throughout the community they are the first to learn about the idea. The early and late majority are those who are then influence by the early adopters and who also join in trying to make the community better. Last but not least are the laggards, these are the people in the community who are the last to understand and practice the idea. Many people assume that this theory works quickly because there are a lot of people that can be in certain communities and a lot of people in the world in general. But the truth is that this theory takes a number of years for everyone to understand and practice it. They also assume that once everyone understands what the new idea and /or concept that everyone will practice it, which is not true. This theory connects on the interpersonal level because it can help individuals with overcoming certain obstacles in life.
There are also stages in which people go through when trying to adopt the new idea and practice using the Diffusion of Innovation theory. Stage One Awareness, this is the stage in which the people are informed about what is going on. Stage Two Knowledge and Interest, is the stage in which people are given knowledge about the idea and learn the importance of it and how it can better themselves and the world around them. Stage Three Decision, is the when people decide whether or not they are going to take action and be a part of the change. Stage Four Trails or Implementation, is when they take action and use what they learn to practice the new idea. Finally Stage Five Confirmations or Rejection of the behavior is when people try and use the practice every day and it becomes a behavior that they adopt in everyday life.
The Diffusion of Innovation theory can be used within Health Communications when helping others fight certain bad health habits such as smoking, having unprotected sex, and over eating. For example the theory can be put to use when trying to reach out to the community about have safe sex and the importance of using condoms. The theory will then reach each of the five subgroups when trying to test the understanding and practices if the theory. The theory can also be used in Environmental Communications by saving the world. For example, if innovators want to help with finding new ways to have communities recycle more and have better recycling habits. First, the innovators will have to come up with an idea/plan that will get the attention of the community, next the innovators will then reach out to the community in effort to communicate with the people and the importance of recycle. Then early adopters will began to understand and practice the idea, last the early and late majority will then take action, and finally the laggards with not as much effort will try and adopt the new idea and practice.
The diffusion an innovation theory is used in many research efforts in trying to get the community involved. It is a good theory to practice because it reaches out to many people in large populations. It also helps with getting ideas from others and instead of just people who conduct the research. Some disadvantages of the theory is that it can be misused and misinterpreted at times. Some critics have observed that the trickled-down approach, from the innovators to the laggards, may not work in all situations (Schiavo 2007).
In conclusion, the Diffusion of Innovation Theory is used to connection researchers and community in help with bettering themselves and the world around us. As like many different theories, this this aids the help of the media to communicate with the world around us using a visual aid.

References 1. Kaminski, J. (Spring 2011).Diffusion of Innovation Theory Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics, 6(2). Theory in Nursing Informatics Column. 2. Mustonen-Ollila, E. and Lyytinen, K. (2003), Why organizations adopt information system process innovations: a longitudinal study using Diffusion of Innovation theory. Information Systems Journal, 13: 275–297. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2575.2003.00141.x

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