NACOS 4.4: Category #2 of 5: EARLY 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 #2 of 5: EARLY ADOPTERS

QUOTE:  Segment Two: Early Adopters or Visionaries
Pastor: There’s a light bulb burnt out in the sanctuary. Can you help?

Early Adopter: Has anyone analyzed whether it’s in our best interests to spend the extra money on those long lasting bulbs?


  1. Early Adopters are more local and in touch with the local network. They ask questions.
  2. Early Adopters are opinion leaders in the social system.
  3. Early Adopters are “homophilous” – they enjoy conversations with others like them.
  4. Early Adopters are perceived as role models and “the individual to check with.”
  5. Early Adopters have a bias for action and corresponding tendency to be very busy.
  6. Early Adopters want to translate ideas into applications.
  7. Early Adopters love to fine tune the machinery and make things work more efficiently.
  8. Early Adopters will naturally adapt and reinvent innovations for local usage.
  9. It is assumed that once an innovation is enthusiastically supported by early adopters, its success is inevitable. Nothing could be farther from the truth.


  1. Early Adopters have high energy and frequently do not understand why others don’t immediately see the benefits that they do; they sometimes become impatient, employ a hard sell and push the trend. This raises the level of anxiety in the system and guarantees a Balancing response that prevents change.
  2. Early Adopters can overwhelm a system with new ideas, each one guaranteed to usher in the promised land without cost other than commitment.
  3. Early Adopters s usually present ideas with anxiety, urgency, and pressure to adopt, or perceive urgent problems which require the innovation as the solution; when anxiety goes up, people stop listening and identify the visionaries as the reason for anxiety.
  4. Innovators and Early Adopters project their own emotions on others and are surprised to find that others do not see what is so obvious to them. They tend to repeat information.
  5. Innovators and Early Adopters are fickle and frequently move on to something new before fully implementing their previous brilliant idea.

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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