If a technology does not make it from the laboratory, or inventor’s mind, it is useless. It has to be adopted and put into meaningful use by people for it to be considered a valid invention. Diffusion is a process of understanding technology from inception to the stage of abandonment and the accompanying reasons.
Invention and Early Adoption
This is the foremost stage for any new technology. An inventor will discover a new process or product. One of the most critical requirements of this stage is funding, which allows the developers to get to work. Marconi was able to make radio waves as a practical way of communication. Lack of funding might hinder a technology from leaving this initial phase (Volti, 2006).
This is the second phase of a new technology where it is fully developed and in use (Rogers, 2003). The diffusion of a technology will occur rapidly in this phase. The excitement of a new technology will lead to increased uptake by the relevant buyers. Excitement brought by a new product leads to more people adopting the technology. People were quick to adopt touchscreen phones since they offered easier and stylish accessibility.
When a new technology hits the market, people are quick to buy it for its qualities. After some time, the number of new users buying the technology drops down. However, other services like replacements, repairs, and upgrades are necessary since the technology is being used intensively. Many people own smartphones today hence repairs and upgrades are the norm.
After some time, a certain technology might fall surplus to requirements. Continued innovation gives rise to a better version of an old product, or a new one altogether. The new item will generate excitement causing buyers to opt for a change, thus abandoning the outdated technology. The fax machine was once a great invention but now it is archaic compared to email and social media. New, and superior, technology causes people to abandon the old.
Rogers, E. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.
Volti, R. (2006). Society and technological change. New York: Worth Publishers.