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Eitan Muller and Diffusion of Innovation

Source: http://knowledge.ckgsb.edu.cn/2014/05/06/china-business-strategy/diffusion-of-innovation-what-sticks-what-doesnt-and-why/

 

This source is an article that transcribes an interview with Eitan Muller, who is a Professor of Marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business. He has been studying innovation diffusion for many years, and he is essentially talking about what it takes for innovation to spread, the role of consumers, and the lifecycle of innovation. He stresses the importance of social networks on the spread of innovation. The major driver of new product and innovation growth is communication, word of mouth, imitation, etc. Innovation growth is slow because it is reliant on social influence, which is not necessarily a quick process. Muller has been working on figuring out two things: how fast the process of innovation diffusion is and what determines its rate of growth, as well as how the social network determines the way of growth and innovation. He goes into detail explaining why it takes so long for innovation to spread – which is essentially because adopting innovation is too risky. He explains the categories of consumers – the early market and the main market. Within the early market, there are innovators and early adopters. These people tend to be more willing to take risks, and they are usually wealthier. They will adopt the product in spite of the inherited risks of early innovation. The main market, on the other hand, wants the perfect product. They are only interested in functionality, and they want to minimize risk. They are impacted by the early market, even if there is a difference in their interest in the product. Muller then goes on to discuss his thoughts on the success of Apple products, and his predictions about the iPhone.

 

I thought this was very relevant to what we are covering in the course right now, and I found this article because I was interested in the topic of diffusion of innovation that was discussed in lecture. This article shows the topic of innovation diffusion from the perspective of someone in the business world. Muller’s insights demonstrate the real-world context of the subjects we are learning in class regarding diffusion on a network and model of cascades. In this case, the diffusion on a network is a technology that is being spread around a society. The model of cascades relates to this because every person starts out without the innovation, and then a few early adopters begin using the product, and eventually it spreads.

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