Monday, August 29, 2011

Post 2: Innovation Attributes

Today we learned that the characteristics of a technology significantly influence its adoption. For this post, please choose an innovation that you are familiar with and rate it according to each of the five innovation attributes discussed by Rogers. How do these attributes affect the adoption rate in this particular case? Are there any other attributes that one may need to consider?

Feel free to add examples, images or statistics to support your arguments.


Jasmine Qu said...

The first thing that came up to me is MP3 player. It has an obvious relative advantage than walkman, CD player and recorder in terms of size, easiness to find the audio clip that listener wants, and the large capacity. Although the sound quality may not be as good as CD player and records, it's not too bad, and the producer is getting it better. Also, it's very compatible, and highly observable. It may need some time to learn how to use it, but it's not hard, so this innovation does not have the attribute of complexity. Additionally, it's always easy to try it out before purchase.

the price of MP3 player at the beginning was quite high. it took some time for the price to go down. That's when more people can afford it and make purchase.

Ryan Jacobson said...

Coming from my line of work (local government) there are A LOT of permanent public records that must be stored and accessed every now and then. The longer a city is around, the more records accumulate, which takes up a lot of space and makes it more and more difficult to locate specific documents. An innovation that has been spreading throughout local government is electronic filing systems, which allow documents to be scanned, stored and easily accessed electronically. The relative advantage of this innovation depends on the adopter (bigger cities have more of a need and more resources available to purchase the software, whereas smaller cities don't have as much of a need or as many resources available). The compatability positive affects the rate of adoption, because the software programs out there are all designed to be compatible with most pc systems. The complexity can go both ways (a more tech-savvy person will find it user-friendly and much easier than the old-school paper filing system, whereas the less tech-savvy person might be intimidated). The trialability positively affects the rate of adoption, because the vendors for the software are more than willing to come to any city that's curious and give a tutorial so they can see how it works. And observability definitely affects the rate of adoption in a positive way too, because the results have a big positive impact in terms of making files much more easily accessible to anyone who needs them.

Melinda Heinz said...

I was thinking about Skype as a very useful innovation. The relative advantage of Skype is that we can keep in touch with friends and family. Maintaining contact with friends and family is particularly important for older adults. Skype is compatible with societal norms and standards. We all live very busy lives and are more likely to live further away from our families today. Skype may allow us to keep up the connection. Skype is not overly complex and appears to be user-friendly. Users are able to download the software for free and begin using the product right away. Regarding trialability, users may be able to see their friends use Skype or test it out for themselves with a free download. The free availability greatly influences the trialability as there is minimal risk involved. The observability of Skype can simply by assessed by whether or not individuals are able to successfully make and complete Skype calls to friends and family.

anniken said...

Innovation: Spotify, a music streaming service
Relative advantage: Instead of paying to download music on alternative apps, such as iTunes, you can listen to (rent) music either for free (in exchange for commercial breaks) or subscribe to it for either $4.99 or $9.99 a month. Choosing the free option is a great way for people who wouldn’t otherwise afford to buy music. Upgrading to Spotify Unlimited, however ($4.99) will make the player commercial free, and upgrading to the Premium version makes your playlists available to you even when you’re offline – either on your PC or mobile. Even upgrading to the Premium version will mean that those who buy music for more than 10 dollars a month will save on using Spotify.
Compatability: The player can be downloaded online, and is compatible with both Windows and Mac.
Complexity: The download takes little time, and Spotify is easy to use – especially to those who have past experience with playing online music and creating playlists.
Trialability: The catch with the free version is that you need an invitation to use it. This means that you need a friend to invite you via e-mail – someone who already has Spotify. This can slow down the adoption process as you would either need to pay to download it today, or be invited to join.
Observability: Spotify was, according to an article on ( just launched in the US this July. Despite this, the article says that it is expected that Facebook will integrate music to profiles later this month, which means that the observability aspect can be increased in the months to come – not just in Europe, but also here in the US.

anniken said...

Ryan – we had that system like that at my previous job. It is a great thing to be able to access documents easily and electronically, instead of running to an archive to browse. However, we seemed to spend a lot of time at work scanning documents. Because, as it turns out, you can’t just scan and hope that important paperwork is scanned correctly; we also had to look through each page. When we were busy, that meant that paperwork for scanning piled up. Fortunately, we eventually got help from a summer sub to take care of our large piles of paper. I guess in order for this to work smoothly you need either the page to show up whilst you are scanning (which it did not with us) or extra manpower to cover the tedious work of scanning and checking. In the long run, though, this innovation is definitely helpful, and perhaps even necessary, but at least the system we had failed to be as smooth and pain-free as I would have liked it to be. I don’t know if you’ve already implemented this at your place of employment, and if you have had similar experiences or a different system altogether?

Melinda Heinz said...


I have only heard of Spotify very briefly, however after they partner with Facebook I think adoption rates will take off dramatically.

Your discussion on how "invitation only" may influence trialability also reminds me of Google Plus. I believe accessing this social networking site also required an invitation from a friend.

Yuwei Sun said...

Innovation: Digital books (E-books)
The biggest advantage of digital books is its mobile availability. Instead of carrying big and heavy books around, digital books are readable on electronic devices such as i-pads, i-phone or anyother e-Readers where you can store thousands of e-books depending on the memory of your device. Also, a great share of digitals books are free, approximately 2 million free digital-books are available online. Many textbooks are now having its e-version, some are free and some need to pay, but the price is much cheaper compare to the printed textbooks. People no longer need to go to the book store to buy or borrow books, it saves time. And digital book don't consume papers and inks which is a great way to conserve the environment.
Compatibility: digital books can be downloaded from PC or directly from e-Readers.
Complexity: digital book is quite user-friendly. It can be downloaded from the web so you can read the book either on you PC or put it into e-Reader.
Trialability: digital books are easily access on the Internet and many of the books are free of charge. People can also try their friends’ e-Reader devices and decide whether to buy it or not.
Observability: People can read the books whenever they need and wherever they want without carrying printed books with them. They can also change the font-size and make highlights.

Bill said...

Ryan, I work for the Veterans Benefits Administration and my job would be next to impossible without electronic record-keeping programs. It is hard to imagine how anything got done before the technology.

Bill said...

For my innovation, I've decided to go a little further back in history to Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin.

Relative advantage: after decades of inefficient gins, Whitney's was the first to fully separate the seed and lint from the cotton bowl. The device was also so simple to build that many plantation owners had their own constructed despite Whitney's copyright.

Compatibility: Whitney's gin was invented at a time when the cotton economy of the South was on the verge of collapse due to the high need for labor. The cotton gin made cotton again profitable.

Complexity: all actions of the machine, as well as the principles behind them were easily understood and the machine was so simple, copies could be easily made.

Trialability: Whitney gave demonstrations of his device in towns at cotton harvest time, the time when plantation owners were most desperate for help ginning thier cotton. He invited farmers to try the device themselves.

Observability: it was pretty clear when a cotton bowl went in one end and the lint and seed emerged, fully separated from the other. This contributed into the almost immediate and universal adoption of the Whitney gin in the cotton kingdom.

The most tragic part of the invention was that the Southern slave economy was on the verge of collapse before Whitney's invention. Many slave owners could no longer afford to keep slaves. The cotton gin has been credited with extending the chattel slavery system by several generations in the former Confederate states. To Whitney, a native of Massachusetts with abolitionist leanings, this invention was a disaster he would come to regret.

Jennifer Chen said...

Digital camera has made photography easier than it used to be.

Relative advantage: To record the images, digital camera uses memory card instead of film. Using memory card perfectly solves the problem of film exposure, and expands the memory space for camera. Auto focus function makes it easier to capture certain image.

Compatibility: It basically consisted with the features on film camera, so there's no problem for someone who used to have a film camera to start using digital camera.

Complexity: Digital camera also known as "camera for idiot" because of its auto focus function. Without worrying about difficult operation process and possibility for not getting good pictures, general people can handle it very well with no professional photography background.

Trialability: It's pretty easy to try out with your friend's digital camera to take photos and see if its photo quality is good or if it's easy to use. You can also go into the store and try a little bit.

Observability: Digital camera has small screen which allows you to check the picture right after you take it. This is a marvelous progress in the history of camera, since people have the choice to save certain picture or not. It's very easy to see the result.

Jennifer Chen said...

Yu Wei,

I have a kindle and I just love it! I can read books on it anywhere I go. It perfectly filled the time slot when I was riding on the bus to school. I can even add some notations to certain paragraphs with the keyboard. There are more and more general books and textbooks available online, so I don't have to carry heavy books around. Plus, the keyboard allows you to add notations, which is quite helpful for understanding the content.

Ryan Jacobson said...

I've always been curious about e-readers and how well they work. As far as I'm concerned, they're pretty expensive, and if I'm not a big book-buyer, then I won't really see much savings. So for me, and a lot of non-e-reader-owners like me, there isn't enough of a relative advantage. Also, I'm skeptical how well it functions in every situation. A hard copy book just seems so much simpler sometimes.

Melinda Heinz said...

Ryan, I tend to agree with your comments about the relative advantage. I think e-readers are very interesting and something I may consider for the future. But since I'm still in college and not making a lot of money, I would need the e-readers to be cheaper as well as the e-books to be cheaper. I can't rationalize spending money on books that can often be obtained at the library for free.

Yuwei Sun said...

Ryan and Melinda,
Yes, e-reader cost much more money than one printed book does, but e-reader can store as many as books you want and many of the e-books are free online. So if one reads a lot, obviously e-books are cheaper than buying every single printed books. And as there are more and more e-readers coming to the market, the price of e-readers are decreasing each year. The relative advantage of e-books is easier to carry around and you can switch between books whenever you feel like to without take those heavy books with you.