Diffusion of Innovations is a theory of how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. It is basically “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system”(Dixon, 1928).
The key elements in diffusion research are:
- the innovation
- types of communication channels
- time or rate of adoption, and
- the social system which frames the innovation decision process (Wikipedia, 2009).
Diffusion of an innovation occurs through a five–step process. This process is a type of decision-making. It occurs through a series of communication channels over a period of time among the members of a similar social system. Ryan & Gross first indicated the identification of adoption as a process in 1943 (Rogers, 1964). Rogers’ categories the five stages (steps) as:
- Implementation, and
The most important thing here lies in the capacity to get the ideas to the places it can affect lives. The challenge is if diffusion of innovation matters for the growth of the African economy, how can it be done? Technical education will play a very fundamental role in making this possible. Without education, it would be very difficult to sustain any diffusion model.
Without market success, innovation is essentially an invention. It must affect lives or communities or businesses before we can talk of innovation. So, when you design or build, think of not just the greatest invention, but what can have impacts in the markets. That way you get innovation. If iPad and iPhone had not sold well, no one will see Apple as an innovative engines despite producing those products. But with the success in the market, Apple becomes a respected innovative brand.