Contest: The secret for spreading ideas? (prize: signed copy)

As part of the countdown to Myths of Innovation day (Oct 13th – sign-up here), we’re running trivia and other contests, with some fun and unusual prizes.  Some questions require looking at the free sample chapters found here (PDF).

The Prize:  A signed copy of the new paperback edition of Myths of Innovation.

Rules: anyone enters by leaving a comment – one winner will be chosen at random from correct entries.  I’m  the final arbiter of rules, including rulings about rules or rule like sub-rules, slide-rules, slides of all kinds, laws, by-laws, in-laws, laws about common law rules regarding the application of contest laws and sub-law rulings.

Ready? Here we go:

Some have complained the questions are to easy. Ok – try this one.

Question: Which of Rogers factors in Innovation diffusion is the hardest for an inventor to overcome? and why? (see chp 4 in the free sample)?

9 Responses to “Contest: The secret for spreading ideas? (prize: signed copy)”

  1. Jim Johnson

    It wasn’t clear that one of the five ideas was more critical than the others. Trialability, to me, is perhaps the most important. Get it into the customer or user’s hands for a demo. It gives you immediate feedback to see if it truly is an innovation people will become excited about.

  2. Arsene Hodali

    If you’re talking about inventor, as in someone outside the fashion industry, then it’ll have to be observability.

    It’s the hardest for them to diffuse because most inventions are not fashion fads. They aren’t in the public eye. So if you don’t have a big budget to force it into the public eye, you have a pretty hard task ahead of you.

  3. Leslie

    Which of Rogers factors in Innovation diffusion is the hardest for an inventor to overcome? and why?

    It’s not clear exactly which one is always the hardest, but there is one factor that’s led to many failures & will lead to many more as technology takes more of our attention: Complexity. In fact complexity plays a role in the all of the other factors Rogers identifies. Something that is too complex cannot have a relative advantage to easier things, cannot be compatible with people’s goals, certainly can’t be easy to try, or easy to understand when observing. This is way usability is a critical attribute of new innovations.

  4. Piet van Oostrum

    I think observability is the most difficult. Innovation diffusion is essentially a social phenomenon, and therefore observability is the most important factor in my opinion. But it is the factor on which the inventors have the least influence. All the others they can influence by adapting their products.
    Relative advantage: they can make the thing better.
    Compatibility: they can work to make things compatible to what people are used to (although they must be careful to make things sufficiently different to be more useful and not make ‘faster horses’).
    Complexity: I think making things less complex is essential to innovation. Sometimes the innovation may be just that.
    Trialability: that’s easy to do but it may be financially challenging.

    That leaves us with observability as the toughest challenge.

    (I already have won a signed copy but I think it is fun to answer the questions nevertheless.)

  5. Bill Colacci

    I feel that the Observability is the hardest to overcome, in the results oriented environment of today, somehting has to be exponentially better to make us change or the percieved effort (cost, time etc) is deemed to be not worth it.

  6. Scott Berkun

    Hmmm – these are good arguments. Piet’s might be the most convincing so far. Need to think it over.

  7. JMG3YMT


    The target has to want it and the innovation has to have the right characteristics to trigger a positive emotional component of that desire sufficient to change behavior. But determining what those triggers are in a given circumstance can be exceedingly difficult. As people like Robert Cialdini (Influence), Daniel Gilbert (Stumbling on Happiness), Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational), Cass Sunstein (Nudge) and others are showing, we humans have varying degrees of irrationality and fickleness (changing our mind), and often can’t reliably predict what we will do when presented with the opportunity. Then the triggers change rapidly with time, a component being the unpredictable, episodic evolution of technology and ideas in a competitive marketplace.

  8. Steven Akiko

    My feeling is that it depends on the context and the innovation itself.

    Rogers gives examples such as the Peruvian village for Compatibility. If religious or cultural belief forbids it, you will have a hard time to establish such an innovation though e.g. observability of boiling water is easy.

    Same is true for the software device drivers example in case of Observability. The limited observability of such an innovation is hard to come by … the innovation itself is not “sexy” and you cannot do much about it.



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