Change or Be Run Over by Change

Just how early do you need to be an early adopter?

Pretty early.

The pace of change is breathtaking. You can fall behind in a heartbeat. And somebody, somewhere, is trying to move ahead of you right now. And someone else is trying to move ahead of the someone who is trying to move ahead of you.

Now, some early adopting may turn out to be a mistake. Some “creative destruction” can end up being bad.

But, maybe being in the “laggard” category is a greater risk than embracing the “early adopter” stance.

So, let’s revisit the idea of “early adopter” activity. Yes, there are people ahead of the early adopters. But, these are rare. It is hard enough (plenty hard!) to be an early adopter, but easier to be an early adopter than to be the creator/innovator.

Here’s a visual from this blog’s main page:

Diffusion of InnovationAnd here’s a definition (from the Business Dictionary):

In the diffusion of innovation theory, the minority group (comprising about 14 percent) of population which, after innovators, is first to try new ideas, processes, goods and services. Early adopters generally rely on their on intuition and vision, choose carefully, and have above-average education level. For any new product to be successful, it must attract innovators and early adopters, so that its acceptance or ‘diffusion’ moves on to early majority, late majority, and then on to laggards.

Just look at the categories:

Innovators (2.5%)
Early Adopters (13.5%)
Early Majority (34%)
Late Majority (34%)
Laggards (16%)

Which of these five would you like to be known as: Laggards? Late majority? It seems that the closer you get to the “innovator” end of the spectrum, the better chance you have to survive the next round of creative destruction coming your way.

So, here’s the issue. Will you be the creator of the creative destruction you deal with? Or, will you let others from outside force it on you?

We’re back to the wisdom, the challenge we’ve heard over and over again, over the last few years.

Change! Change fast! Change faster than the next guy! Change now!!!

Staying the same may not be a very good strategy. To quote just the brilliant title from Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here… won’t get you there!”

Randy Mayeux

Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

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