Keeping early adopters engaged after crossing the chasm
The minimum rate of change required to nurture and fuel adoption is relative to the percentage of people adopting. Geoffrey Moore is well known for adding on to Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations theory the idea that a chasm exists between early adopters and the early majority, where the early adopters often appreciate the benefits of new innovation regardless of its early faults and where the early majority often appreciate innovations that have demonstrated benefits and stability. The chasm is the biggest hurdle to overcome, but yields what is often thought of as the bandwagon effect, where adoption proliferates rapidly. Donald Norman discusses how things can be in vogue for a period of time (See Chapter 2, section: The Personality of Products in Emotional Design). More importantly, the leaders of society are not interested in acting like the majority – it is the differences that distinguish them.
Both Norman and Moore use the idea that the general population can be subdivided and that design or innovation needs to be directed to those different audiences. Early adopters are leaders in the adoption of innovation. When an innovation crosses the chasm and is adopted by the early majority, continued innovation re-engages the early adopters fueling the innovation’s brand within the community, easing the future transition of add-on innovation, solidifying continued adoption.