The chart above, drawn from Everett Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations Fig. 7-1 (5th ed. 2003), shows the adoption of hybrid seed corn by farmers in two Iowa communities. The dashed line on the bottom shows the number of adoptions by year. The solid line on top shows adoption on a cumulative basis. The first farmer in the sample adopted hybrid seed corn in 1927. 15 years later, in 1941, the last four farmers made the switch.
The dashed line is a real-world example of a Rogers Diffusion Curve. See Post 004 (discussing curve); Post 007 (discussing adopter types). Likewise, the solid line is a real-world example of the S-shaped curve. The farmers switched to hybrid seed corn because it was more bountiful, disease resistant, and drought resistant than traditional methods. The chart above is useful because it shows the common diffusion pattern of (1) a prolonged period of slow adoption, even for a highly advantageous innovation; and (2) a short period of rapid adoption. Cf. Post 016 (showing histogram with long innovator tail). Continue Reading Change Agents and Opinion Leaders (020)