A conversational approach to innovation adoption…

So you’ve got a great idea, and you’ve come up with a proposal that will meet the needs of the people you want to use it. Your work here is done… isn’t it?

Well, no – it’s not a done deal until you have your invention turned into an adopted practice – that’s the real work of innovation. Your proposed change requires a community of people who do things in a particular way to change how they work together – and there’s a process to this.

Share, Consider, Trial, Sustain

There are 4 distinct phases in the adoption process that need to happen in order to get your result :

  1. Share the idea with your collaborators and the target community you want to adopt it.
  2. Obtain commitment from your community (or its leaders) to consider the change you propose
  3. Obtain commitment from your community to trial the new process for the first time.
  4. Obtain commitment from your community to sustain the new practice for its useful life.

This is where many innovations can fall over. You present your innovation and they say “It looks great” – and you think that means they’re going to do it. But what they mean is something else – anything from “no way” to “if I had any time I’d try (but I don’t)”. It’s not a yes till you see the change happening – repeatedly.

The Process of Adoption

You’ve just begin an extended sequence of conversations and negotiations towards the result you want. Your offer will evolve through the process of sharing, considering, trialing and sustaining. So the better you communicate, particularly in listening to your community, the better the results you’ll get.

Learn the anatomy of making offers, the art of conversations for commitment and possibility and the confidence to make a stand for the changes you want to see in the world. Build your communications effectiveness and your understanding of innovation and you can make a real contribution to your work and your life.

Explore the conversational skills of innovation adoption in the excellent book “The Innovators Way” by Peter Denning and Robert Dunham.

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