What can we learn from the classic “Diffusion of Innovation” approaches to enable much broader use of simulation tools to change the way science and engineering is done? How do we take what the early adopters have learned and spread it to the masses?
NAFEMS is moving the discussion forward towards something that results in a real, positive impact to explore how simulation tools can quite literally change the way science and engineering is done.
In 1962, E.M. Rogers published a book called, "Diffusion of Innovations," in which he established one of the oldest social science theories. In particular, Rogers sought out to explain how, over a period of time, an idea (or product) gains momentum and "diffuses" (spreads) through a targeted population.
Through his research, Rogers discovered that the adoption of new ideas was a process; one in which some people are more likely to adopt new ideas easier or faster than others. As a result, five "adopter" categories were identified:
At some point in your career, you have likely encountered this in the form of a chart like the following:
Nearly 30 years later, Geoffrey Moore built off of the diffusion of innovation concept to identify a new segment called the "chasm." In his book, "Crossing the Chasm," Moore highlighted that there were gaps in the original model which were large enough to derail the greatest of ideas. The gap he chose to focus on fell between the Early Adopters and the Early Majority - aptly named the Chasm. Moore's argument was that Early Adopters (visionaries) are looking for breakthrough technology, and they are willing to pay well to be first with the new technology. The marketing strategies that win this group, however, won’t work so well for the up-and-coming Early Majority. These are pragmatists and risk averse. In his book, Moore describes his ideas for how to...well...cross the chasm.
In 2018, Mark Meili created a wave of interest in the modeling, analysis, and simulation industry by suggesting that we can learn from the lessons taught in the social science space.
In many industries and companies, Modeling and Simulation has been used successfully for important decisions and even some work process changes. However, in many places the use is quite “shallow” and limited to a small number of highly capable and motivated individuals. It has not become “mainstream” outside of few industries such as Automotive, Aerospace and a few others. This is a classic case of an innovation being embraced by “early adopters”, but not by the so-called “early majority” and “late majority” (the vast majority of our employees). How we might we learn from the classic “Diffusion of Innovation” approaches to enable much broader use of simulation tools to change the way science and engineering is done?
- Mark Meili, R&D Vice President, Modeling, Simulation, & Digital Innovation, P&G
Now, it's 2020. Each of us have experienced significant change in recent months, and the diffusion of innovation concept is more important than ever. Efforts have been underway since Meili delivered his first presentation on the subject, which has gained even more momentum over the past year.
Our goal with this initiative is to move this discussion forward towards something that results in real, positive impact to explore how simulation tools can "change the way science and engineering is done." With that in mind, we have provided three ways to learn more and to get involved
- Matt Ladzinski, NAFEMS