NACOS 4.5: Category #3 of 5: MIDDLE ADOPTERS

Adoption of an innovation (acceptance of change) flows from left to right across the five categories of the diffusion of innovations adopter framework. All cultures and cultural groups respond to a reinforcing trend of change by segmenting into five groups based on their openness to change.

Category #3 of 5: MIDDLE ADOPTERS

QUOTE:  Segment Three: Middle Adopters (Early Majority) or Pragmatists
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?
Middle Adopter: Sure. (Gets ladder, puts new bulb in.)


  1. Middle Adopters prefer innovations which are continuous improvements on existing comfortable norms and which do not require changes in behavior.
  2. The innovation itself must be simplified to increase safety and reduce anxiety and uncertainty in adoption.
  3. Middle Adopters as pragmatists provide interconnectedness in the system’s interpersonal networks.
  4. Middle Adopters are generally non-anxious.
  5. Middle Adopters want to keep things running smoothly and everyone to get along.
  6. Middle Adopters avoid anxiety and can be codependent overfunctioners; they can be manipulated by the anxiety of others.
  7. Middle Adopters have a practical focus.
  8. Middle Adopters are the pivotal group for achieving critical mass and rapid, S-curve adoption. They link the visionary minority with the pragmatic majority and resistance to change is overcome as Middle Adopters adopt the innovation.
  9. Information spreads on the other side of the chasm by conversations between homophilous individuals that share kinship and enjoy talking with each other. Media presentations favored by visionaries, such as advertising or sermons, are ineffective at reaching people beyond the most innovative 16% of a people group.
  10. Innovators and Early Adopters are excited about innovations that are discontinuous and represent great changes to norms because discontinuity represents a competitive advantage to them. It is necessary for visionaries to control their enthusiasm, shift from confrontational presentation to relational conversation, and carefully recruit pragmatists to adopt in a specific “beachhead” niche market if the innovation is to cross the chasm. The vision itself must be simplified in order to communicate and visionaries are frequently are unwilling to compromise their vision in order that the vision might succeed in the real world.

ASSIGNMENT QUESTION: (in the comments on Facebook)
Who do you know who’s an example of this kind of thinking and approach to a problem in your ministry context? How would you minister to them?

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