Tuesday, April 18, 2017

People on the edge

In our R&D Meeting today we continued to discuss the diffusion of innovation, this time focusing on opinion leadership.  Last month I blogged about innovators and early adopters,   It's the early adopters who are often highly respected as opinion leaders.  When the early adopters endorse an innovation this is what gets the innovation out to the majority.  There could be many reasons for this, for example they could have greater exposure to mass media or social media.  Today we were talking about how these opinion leaders are often people on the edge - bringing new ideas from outside their social group to its members.  They are not the people at the top, not the leaders of groups, but instead they are the people who move between groups, as they have extensive interpersonal network links. The role of the innovation leader in a social system is to reduce uncertainly abut the innovation - therefore these people must be seen by others as having good judgement about adopting new ideas - and after the opinion leaders in a system adopt an innovation, it may be impossible to stop its further spread.  We talked about how school leaders will often want to get the opinion leaders onboard in order to role out a new initiative, and about the people in school who could be seen as early adopters.

Are you an opinion leader - someone on the edge?

Photo Credit: jonny goldstein Flickr via Compfight cc

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