• Kalle Noble

Diffusion of Innovations Simulation Analysis

An analysis of my own experience using a diffusion of innovations simulator.

Best total percent of adopters: 75% Best score: 44

In chapter 8, the two-step flow model, found on page 303, is described as a following building block on the hypodermic needle model. The latter simply states that mass media is simply responsible for the spread of ideas within a population. However, the two-step flow model indicates that instead of mass-media simply being the source of the diffusion of ideas among a population, it is more complicated than that. This model put forward the idea that mass media alerted opinion leaders about new concepts and innovations, once an opinion leader got hold of the new information, then that information would be spread throughout a population. Lastly, the information would spread to the edges of the population through individuals. This concept strains the importance of opinion leaders over mass-media for diffusing innovations.

Originally I thought that it would be important to get the innovation out straight away to the opinion leaders, so I targeted the opinion leaders with the largest spread and afterward, I continued with advertisements and lessons on how to use the innovation. I soon learned through trial and error that it was much more effective to advertise the innovation first and then bring the innovation to the opinion leaders. Having demonstrations at their farms after the innovation was advertised on the radio proved to be twice as effective as immediately going to the opinion leaders. This is supported by the two-step flow model which stated that opinion leaders got their information from the mass media and then were able to ensure the diffusion of the innovation, it also showed that the mass media was not powerful at all on its own. The only thing that did not align with the model was that talking to individuals in the final step proved to not be very useful.

In chapter 9, homophily and change agent contact is discussed on page 381. Homophily is defined as the rate of how similar two people are similar. Heterophily is the antonym of this and defines the rate at how two individuals differ. It is pointed out that change agents typically only communicate with individuals of high economic, social wealth, education, and cosmopoliteness status. This can be attributed to these being shared descriptions of innovators and early adopters, which are more often contacted by change agents than those farther on the scale of diffusion of innovations.

While playing the game I noticed that I only chose opinion leaders of high homophily. They would be part of the same social groups, they were located in the same areas, and were even labeled as neighboring numbers. The reason for this was because they had the highest social status, so this would allow me to best spread innovation among the group. The few times I tried using other opinion leaders or random individuals, this seemed to prove ineffective in my game results.