109 – New corn idea falls on deaf ears

Change is challenging, and you can’t expect everyone to pick it up immediately. Listen to hear the story behind the insight that produced the innovation diffusion theory.

This week, Shawn shares an innovation story. It follows researcher Dr Everett Rogers and the insight that led him to develop his innovation diffusion theory.

In the past, Shawn and Mark told this story frequently, but they forgot about it somewhere along the way. You’ll hear how excited they are to use it again, particularly to aid change management.

Shawn makes another book recommendation. This time he recommends Change: How to make big things happen by Damon Centola.

For your storybank

Tags: change, innovation, innovation adoption, insight, persistence

This story starts at 01:22

Dr Everett Rogers finished his PHD in the 1950s. His first job was helping farmers in Iowa adopt a new hybrid strain of corn. The strain would bring higher yields and cope better with diseases. Rogers thought his job would be a straightforward one.

He spoke to several farmers, but he couldn’t get a single one to try the strain. The farmers didn’t trust him; they thought he and they were too dissimilar.

Rogers persisted. He was determined to find just one farmer who would try the strain. Eventually, he did.

Rogers later described that first farmer as a hipster. The farmer tried the strain, and the results were encouraging. But the other farmers still weren’t impressed. They saw that first farmer as a maverick, an outsider.

Soon Rogers had an insight. He discovered that some people in a community are innovators, and they will try things first. Normally, they are not like everyone else. It’s another group, the early adopters, who are like the rest of the population and will convince others to utilise innovations. Following his discovery, Rogers developed the innovation curve and his innovation diffusion theory.

About  Anecdote International

Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.

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