Diffusion of Innovations is a research published by Everett Rogers in 1962. Rogers, a professor of rural sociology, tried to identify the main keys to the success of an innovation from 508 different case studies. In the end, Rogers found four main elements that influence the diffusion of a new idea: the innovation, communication channels, time, and a social system.
Rogers states that diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among members of a social system. Every single individual, before accepting the innovation, goes through five different stages: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. Further innovation is spread via communication channels, given the social norms of the community.
The way leaders adopt the innovation, the way media talks about it and what your friends are doing, is what really matters. If all my friends had Facebook, I would be forced to use Facebook, because it becomes a need rather than just a mere Social Network. Google seems to have understood how the diffusion of innovation works and that’s why the company is taking its time before releasing Google Glass.
The explorer program aims at that 2.5% of believers who can invite their friends to join. It was probably less than 2.5%, but for Google that meant feedback and social exposition wherever the explorers went. The day to announce another big step for Google Glass has arrived, since the tech giant is releasing Glass for a single day in the US.
After almost two years since the first demo run by Sergey Brin, Google has decided to start selling Glass to the public. The price will be the same as the explorer program, $1,500. It seems strange to see a company that sells a product for a single day, but it makes sense in this case. Google knows the product isn’t ready for everyone and they are also aware that this 2.5% doesn’t care if there are problems with the device.
The innovators are those who want to test, try and live with a new product. They don’t mind if they have problems with it as long as the basic features work. Releasing Glass now to the public would be a big risk if Google wasn’t hundred percent sure of the device they were shipping. Further, the big problem, in the case of Glass, is not related on the performance of the device, but on the social acceptance within the community.
People still think it’s something they don’t want. We have already seen people getting attacked for wearing Glass in public. That’s why Google may think of releasing the product in single days more than once in the next six months. They know there is a market of people who want to buy the device and the aim is to fill that niche market first. They promised to release the device in December 2013, but it seems we won’t be able to see the product sold on a massive scale before 2015.
As innovators of this market they can easily take their time and iterate on what they have by keeping in mind that there are companies working on similar prototypes. As we have already said, the key is the price if they want to sell on a massive scale, otherwise they will have to stick to the niche/innovators/crazy market that would even pay $3,000 for something like Glass.
If in the next six months, they release the device to the public three or four times, even once a month, they will enlarge their group of innovators (2.5%) with the aim to ship the final product in January 2015 world wide. By that time, the public awareness regarding Glass should have reached the top and Google shouldn’t have any problems (if they price the device at $700).