5.4.2  Rate of adoption

The rate of adoption is defined as the relative speed with which members of a social system adopt a new innovation. It is usually measured by the length of time required for a certain percentage of the members of that social system to adopt an innovation. In general individuals who first adopt an innovation require a shorter adoption period than late adopters.

There becomes a point at which an innovation reaches a ‘critical mass’. This is a point in time within the adoption process that sufficient individuals have adopted an innovation so that the continued adoption of the innovation becomes self-sustaining.

There are some strategies that help an innovation to become accepted (Figure 5.4). These include having an innovation adopted by respected individuals in your community. It is always helpful to introduce an innovation into a group of individuals who are ready to accept an innovation and who will provide positive reactions and benefits for early adopters of the innovation.

A volunteer health worker is given a reward during a ceremony attended by the community.
Figure 5.4  Health innovations do spread through communities, but they may need some help. Here there is a community ceremony to reward volunteer health workers who have been helping to spread positive health messages. (Photo: FMOH/WT)

5.4.1  Five stages of the adoption process

5.4.3  Adopter categories