This might sound like a very strange start to a post about innovation, but reading the summary of Rogers the first things that came into my mind were the Tony Hill series of books by Val McDermid. Rogers descriptions of people read very much like psychological profiles, the only thing missing being the dead bodies – although in many areas of innovation they exist, if only metaphorically!
The descriptions of where people look for support, “from a cosmopolitan group – perhaps a geographically scattered ‘clique of innovators’” in the case of innovators, all the way to describing laggards as “near isolates in the social networks of their system” is talking more to the psychology of the individuals than it is addressing their technological capabilities.
Of course, what readers of McDermid will learn, is that a profile is about probabilities rather than absolute facts. So, if we re-read Rogers with this in mind, it does become a more usable model. Innovators will more likely look for support from a cosmopolitan group etc. A beneficial amendment to the model would be to view people as being on a spectrum from laggard to innovator, rather than as five discrete types.
Another useful activity, once having identified the character strands, is to see how other classifications of people fit onto them. So, for example, on the support group strand, where would the average teacher fit? What overlap would there be – are there more likely to be innovators in the group of teachers, or in the population as a whole?
So, now I have to build the strands and develop model. Unless i can find that someone has already done it.