Managing User Adoption from the Innovators to Laggards

Words like change, transformation, and automation will always generate a wide range of reactions throughout the rank and file of an organization, and our reaction to these words are good indicators as to which group we belong to on the adoption curve.

Innovators and early adopters tend to be motivated by change and late stage adopters and laggards tend to resist it.  Paradoxically, both groups have roles of equal importance in the user adoption process.

Knowing where users and people belong on the adoption curve and organizing them into user groups will enable a phased approach to managing the user adoption process. This approach to user adoption is preferred and will provide a more seamless diffusion of your innovation throughout each stage of the user adoption process. Furthermore, this will ensure that by the time it reaches the laggard group, the bugs will have already been worked out.

Successful innovations will reach a tipping point – which is the point that it is widely accepted and adopted by laggards. However, by the time that happens, count on the next innovation already being in play, and have a plan in place to repeat the cycle of innovation again.


Documenting business processes, conducting frequent business process reviews, building and running knowledge management and collaboration portals, establishing a talent management program, and investing in the professional development of your people will have a direct impact to continued success of any future business transformation initiatives in the future.

As companies transform, it is important to retain a high level of diversity across the organization. Take into account the tacit knowledge that could be lost when choosing to acquire new talent.

Make the language of change pervasive throughout your organization and create a business culture that is comfortable with change and ready to adapt to it.

On a personal level, be prepared for change, because change will happen. Invest time in your own professional development. Always be learning and be willing to step out of the comfort zone.

For more on this topic, I suggest reading the following two books:

“The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big difference” by Malcolm Gladwell.

“Diffusion of Innovations” by Everett Rogers

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Rick Vargas

Rick Vargas is a strategic and innovative marketing professional, who has a successful track record of leading teams and projects through periods of change and transformation. Rick is a metrics oriented marketer and a thought leader that brings ideas to reality. Rick's background and domain areas of expertise are in web, social, mobile, digital, direct, and database marketing. He's worked with different types of organizations, across all sectors, from small start-ups, to large multi-national corporations. "What motivates me most is the role I play and the impact I have on the success of those around me. I love what I do from social to direct." - Rick Vargas

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