Unit 8.2 If 90% of innovations will fail, we need to learn about the diffusion of innovations.


2. Gabriel Tarde, a French judge, observed in 1903 that the purpose of his research was Ato learn why, given one hundred different innovations conceived at the same time – innovations in the form of words, in mythological ideas, in industrial process, etc. – ten will spread abroad while ninety will be forgotten.@[1] The observation that 90% of innovations will fail led to the scientific research on social change known as the diffusion of innovations. The primary source is Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 4th ed. (New York: Free Press, 1995) which, in 2002, was the second most cited book in the social sciences. Geoffrey Moore=s Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers, Rev. ed. (New York: Collins, 2002) provides an excellent, step by step understanding of what is necessary to facilitate change. If we desire change, we need to study change.

3. According to the scientific research on change embodied in the diffusion of innovations, the Aleadership approach@ recommended in virtually every book on change provided to churches stimulates systemic resistance that ultimately prevents change. In other words, when we are certain that we understand how to bring about change to an institutional system, we are mistaken, and our mistakes guarantee failure. Combine this lack of knowledge with the reality that systems exist to prevent change, and it is unlikely that the most noble goals will come to pass. If we desire change, we need to study change.

4. Systems always have a hidden agenda of preserving the status quo; consequently, the issues systems raise are unlikely to be the true causes that underlie problems. Accepting uncritically the issues that systems raise is one way to be certain that nothing will change.

[1]Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 40.

NOTE (my response)



The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

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