The Innovative Game Developer: Jane McGonigal

 

Thank you for taking your time to read this blog post about Jane McGonigal. In this post, information about Jane McGonigal will be discussed. These will include her beliefs and philosophy, her career, her games, and her future goals.

Her Beliefs and Philosophy

Jane McGonigal has a keen eye on fixing the world from crises and issues. However, she has a radical and flabbergasting approach to do so.  She believes that videogames will become the next glue in piecing back together the world. The problems she wants to eradicate range from health concerns such as depression and obesity all the way to environmental issues such as water shortage and the oil crisis.  To obtain this goal, she believes we must experience an epic win.

An epic win as defined by McGonigal is “an outcome that is so extraordinarily positive you had no idea it was even possible until you achieved it”(McGonigal, 2010). Players are more motivated in the virtual world than they are in the real world. Therefore it is easier for players to experience these thanks to their voluntary and motivated disposition to achieve a goal. McGonigal states that there is no unemployment in World of Warcraft. From the start, everyone has a specific role they need to play, and the players are easily accepted and trusted into reaching a goal. Through the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game, players converge together to solve quests, combat foes, and earn status in the game. And even to achieve that epic win.

End of Suffering, The Lydian Story

            McGonigal not only focuses on videogames on itself, but also games in general and how they can end suffering. A really interesting anecdote that she made in her book, Reality is Broken: Why Games Makes Us Better and How They Can Change the World, is of an ancient civilization that ended suffering through games. In Lydia, thousand of years ago, a huge famine struck that affected the whole city. Atys, king of Lydia decided to help the people by ending the suffering through games. Using sheep knuckles as dices, they would play every other day. This lasted for nearly 18 years. The concept behind this is that the game did not solve the problem of famine, but gave “power in a powerless situation”(McGonigal, 2011, p. 6). It gave them an opportunity to enjoy life rather than live through a day of suffering.

Virtual vs. Reality

Positive Feedback

Unlike reality, videogames offer a much effective and responsive positive feedback system. Levelling up, earning new points, obtaining loot/treasure, progress bars, and so forth are key indicators of positive development. Videogames offer those in visuals in forms of graphs, bars, lines, and numbers. This does not occur as effectively in reality. Even though we accomplish a goal, sometimes there is no positive feedback we receive from others.  This is one of the reasons why people are much happier while playing videogames.

Emotional Elation

Studies have shown that videogames have helped with chronically ill patients, by increasing their happiness and nearly eliminating the possibility to fall to depression. A study conducted by the University of Auckland and University of Otago suggest that videogames can reduce depression, anxiety, and self-worthlessness. In their study, they created a videogame called SPARX that helped participants combat monsters and challenges. In their randomized trials conducted in different medical centres, they saw that SPARX was as an effective treatment as cognitive behavioural therapy and antidepressants (Merry et al., 2012). This shows how gamifying certain real life issues can help cope patients with their emotional health. McGonigal herself underwent through an emotional tunnel of negativity that she overcame through a game she created.

Jane the Concussion Slayer/Super Better

            “Jane the Concussion Slayer” was a game developed solely for McGonigal herself. After experiencing a concussion to the head, she could not fully heal that trauma and was left with physical and emotional ailments. These included headaches, nausea, memory loss, vertigo, and mental fog. In order for her symptoms to go away she had to rest. Therefore she wasn’t permitted read, write, email, work, drink alcohol or coffee and no exercise. Due to the restrictions she had and the condition she was in, suicide lingered in her mind. However, she refused to exit that path and therefore created a videogame.

This videogame named “Jane the Concussion Slayer” was developed for her to overcome her symptoms, and become a better self. Along with her twin sister, she was able to level up and combat her enemies. Her enemies were purposely linked to her symptoms, so defeating them meant defeating the symptom sin real life. Through, playing this game cooperatively with family and friends, she was able to heal herself up. In the end she created her own cure to her own problems. However, this did not end in a victory for herself.

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Later finding out the potential of her game, she took the time to properly develop it to the public and a wider audience. She renamed it to “Super Better”, a game that will focus on accomplishing tasks to improve 4 key criteria. Your physical, mental, social, and emotional. In her TED Talk she demonstrated examples of what each resilience task through the participation of the audience. The purpose of the game is to tackle your physical, mental, social, and emotional status. If one properly follows each task, as mentioned in the TED talk, you could increase your lifespan by certain amount of years. Signing up is free and you only need to be older than 13 to participate. Click here for a tutorial and walkthrough of the game.

World Crises Simulation Games

            Relating back to the idea of creating a better world; Jane McGonigal believes that video games will help solve worldly issues. She has demonstrated that the motivation put in videogames such as World of Warcraft can be put to good use. In the games she helped develop, she was able to receive positive outcomes.

Superstruct

Developed by McGonigal and her team, this game is a simulation game that forecasts the end of human civilization in 23 years. The objective of the game is overcome possible threats that arise in the game. It is up to the 8,000 participants to try and elongate the existence of humans through creative thinking. This game was live in 2008 and lasted for an 8 week period. In that 8 week period, McGonigal’s team was able to find, through the data and information of the players, 500 solutions. Solutions range from ideas such as 3-D printing, “gypsy” farming, disease localization, and many more ideas that potentially can ameliorate the world in real life.

Evoke

Similarly to Superstruct, it’s a social media platform game that will teach participants on current or possible crises. On the website, they even included a comic to help attract more participants into the game. Click on the image below to be taken to the website for more information.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 9.58.02 PM

Massively-Multiplayer Thumb-Wrestling

In a more recent TED Talk, McGonigal exposed a quirkier side to her passion for games. She updated the idea of thumb wrestling to a whole new level. Instead of having a one-on-one combat with the thumbs, how about increasing the number to 3 people simultaneously thumb wrestling. McGonigal presents the idea that you can take a simple game such as thumb wrestling and give it an extra punch. This includes by adding more players to your hand to participate. However, there is actual science to this. Shaking hands has been said to help increase the trust between the person you are shaking hands with. This is through the oxytocin released in the body while shaking hands. Oxytocin, is hormone produced by the body that builds better trust between partners. However, the reason why McGongigal presented this TED Talk was to show that a game can simply ignite 10 different emotions at the same time. Watch the TED Talk for more information.

Conclusion

Jane McGonigal has demonstrated that videogames are not things you play and waste time with, but tools to help yourself, and the world. They are becoming more and more pervasive and many people are joining this culture. Gamificaiton has been a major theme throughout her TED Talks. It’s the idea of taking real life scenarios and making a game out of it. It is also to end current suffering that are in areas that do not offer a luxurious life, such as the Lydians. Therefore, videogames will be an extraordinary tool in combatting issues, such as health problems, and world crises. Please check out my prezi podcast on Jane McGonigal here.

 

Additional Resource

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ7uaDlYVmo

Videogame unlocks the cure to AIDS

 

References

Big Think (2012, July 3). Gaming and Productivity [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E

Big Think (2012, June 2). Jane McGonigal: Truths & Myths in Gaming [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ7uaDlYVmo

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. New York: Penguin Press.

Merry, S. N. (2012). The effectiveness of SPARX, a computerised self help intervention for adolescents seeking help for depression: randomised controlled non-inferiority trial.BMJ344(2598), 1-16. Retrieved from http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e2598

MrEronc (2012, July 14). SPARX Depression Video Game Trailer [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlvtX5K1PSs

Official Super Better (2011, October 22). SuperBetter Introductory Screencast [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8m9JmoOtYA

TED (2010, March). Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world | Video on TED.com [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

TED (2012, July). Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life | Video on TED.com [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life.html

Whitwell, L. (2011, July 19). Gamers solve puzzle which stumped scientists for years and could hold key to curing AIDS. The Daily Mail. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2039012/AIDS-cure-Gamers-solve-puzzle-stumped-scientists-years.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Citizen Journalism: Participatory News

Extend the concept of citizen journalism to other fields of interest to you by using the prefix of citizen such as “citizen filmmaking,” “citizen games development,” “citizen public relations,” or “citizen advertising.”

The participation of the general public using media and technology to further expand and diffuse a story as a form of news or update of the current world. Citizen journalism is this notion that anyone can participate in the production of news. This concept closely relates to the idea of convergence, collective intelligence, user-generated content, and aspects of transmedia storytelling to further expand our technoculture.

This blog will cover examples, and relations that CJ (citizen journalism) has to offer to other Digital Media concepts. This will however not directly relate to my interest in the cartoon industry but more so the interest of citizen participation on serious concerns. In Paris, France, when I was young, we visited La Centre Pompidou coincidentally to when a PSA event was being displayed outside. This PSA event revolved around the idea of famine, and hunger in Africa. Their technique to advertise this issue was having cardboard cut-outs of silhouettes of people. There were around 100 cut-outs displayed on the square. In this PSA movement, there would be one member near a giant drum, and another walking in between the cut-outs. Then, every four drum hits made, a cut-out would be put down to the floor. This movement displayed how every four seconds a human dies from hunger. This lasted for more than 10 minutes until all of the cut-outs were on the ground.

This was an effective PSA and example of citizen journalism, and can be called citizen advertising. It is the participation of a few to advertise a serious issue of hunger. Also, if this was repeated now, in 2013, with the increase and pervasiveness of smartphones and technology; there would be the effect of transmedia storytelling. Audiences, would record, tweet, take pictures, and further expand the hunger issue throughout platforms of social media, and technology. It is the active participation of the public to further use their converged device into a broader network of mediums to tell a story. Since this PSA was done in 2005, it lacked the resources to spread and further diffuse their word across the world. While trying to find a source of this event, I was only able to find a blogger’s opinion and summary of the event. This PSA would’ve been much more effective if the coordinators introduced a hash-tag phrase for it to go on Twitter. Kony 2012 extensively used a lot of media platforms to do so.

Jason Russel, co-founder and chief creative officer, effectively used the concept of converged media, public participation, and transmedia storytelling to publicize Kony. Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, uses children in the military and part of his resistance group. Russel, attempts to use the media to help publicize this issue of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) to the world. Their goal was to see if they could make a war criminal Internet famous by the use of one video. This experiment deemed to work in their favour so well that 3.7 million participants pledged to support this campaign (InvisibleChildren, 2012). Unlike the hunger PSA, the Kony 2012 campaign was much more effective as it involved many audiences to help spread it even further. Kony popularized because of a 30 minute Youtube documentary that addressed him and his motives clearly. Through that video, a lot of Facebook users were able to further publicize the campaign.

I would like to bring up a not so popularized concept, which will relate later back into citizen advertising. This idea is  called a “Facebook Activist”. It is the idea that Facebook users will advertise current issues and affairs from around the world through the use of commenting, liking, and primarily sharing Facebook pages or other websites. It is the act of online protesting, and being an activist on a computer or a media-platform. However, these activists do have a stigma of being a lazy protester who only participates in through Facebook, and not by personally involving themselves. This is a form of using the converged social media, to advertise a concern. Facebook is also a platform of collective intelligence, bringing similar minded people on a website. The reason why Facebook is a collective intelligence website is because of the immense use of networking involved to share ideas. Numerous websites offer a “share” button that will conveniently post the website’s information onto the user’s Facebook profile. It is bringing new information to a centralized platform.

Image

Thanks to the use of Facebook activists, the Kony 2012 campaign exploded and networked through Facebook to the many and unaware users. Thanks to this pervasive campaign, Russel was able to get a lot of participant’s attention to launch a day in which Kony posters will be placed in the public. This was called the “Cover the Night” mini-campaign. It’s when participants, who purchased the Kony posters went out on April 20th, 2012 and hung these posters in public areas to further advertise this issue. This is another example of transmedia storytelling. Taking a campaign onto a Youtube video, then Facebook, and then on posters around cities. In addition, the campaign included Twitter, Google Plus, QR codes, merchandise, posters, conferences, news, Facebook, and documentaries to advertise their campaign.

Citizen journalism has a powerful effect on communities since it helps engage the public to publicize current issues around the world. Through the use of converged media, such as smartphones, QR codes, and social media, citizens are able to collectively advertise the issue on different mediums. Such as centralized social networks, websites that unite information and users together that help share ideas. In addition, the act of publicizing the issue on different platforms revolves the idea of transmedia storytelling. Therefore, issues with gravity are more effectively addressed and handled through citizen advertising and journalism.

Extras:

References:

Flew, T. (2008). Participatory Media CUltures. In New media: An introduction (3rd ed., pp. 106-125). South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Gladwell, M. (2010, October 4). SMALL CHANGE: Why the revolution will not be tweeted. The New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell

Invisible Children (n.d.). Invisible Children: Media, Mobilization, Protection and Recovery | Invisible Children. Retrieved November 3, 2013, from http://invisiblechildren.com/our-model/

TED (2012, December 17). Citizen Journalism is Reshaping the World: Brian Conley at TEDxMidAtlantic [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY-l9UQpf0Y

Zengun (2005, October 15). zengun » world hunger. Retrieved November 3, 2013, from http://zengun.org/weblog/archives/tag/world-hunger/

Transmedia Storytelling: Evolving Content to Different Platforms

In what ways do professionals in your field use the growth of UGC and/or transmedia story-telling?

After having the lecture about transmedia storytelling, my viewpoint and mind-set of what my future career might be has changed. Previously, I was interested in working with video games, whether it being part of the development, design, or advertising I was willing to be open. However, TMS (transmedia storytelling) has enlightened and directed my attention to the cartoon industry. More specifically, the popular cartoon “Adventure Time”.

First of, transmedia storytelling as described by Henry Jenkins as:

“… a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.”(2010, p. 944)

To paraphrase what Jenkins described, it is when a fictional piece is channeled through different forms of media. Hence, the name trans(across), media. “Adventure Time” is an example of transmedia storytelling. Created by Pendleton Ward, “Adventure Time” is a cartoon aired on Cartoon Network. “Adventure Time” takes place in the future after a great war; Finn the Human and Jake the Dog, the two protagonist seeks the thrill of adventure by going on quests and aiding the helpless in the Land of Oo. Thanks to its popularity, the show was able to expand its platforms from a TV-show to comics, books, video games, t-shirt and apparel, figurines and much more. I own four comics and an encyclopedia that inform the reader of further back stories and character development that is not shown in the cartoon itself. This addition of numerous platforms is the process of transmedia storytelling. It is taking the fictional story of the protagonists and spreading them throughout different channels.

However without the concept of diffusion of innovation, “Adventure Time” might have never picked up momentum and been viewed by numerous consumers. Ward, the innovator, used Cartoon Network, the early-adopter, to publicize the cartoon. Once they have advertised the cartoon effectively, the ‘innovation’ (cartoon) must properly diffuse into society. This point of gaining momentum is crossing the chasm. The chasm is the point whether the cartoon would popularize effectively or not. Then the early-adopters, which are the trendsetter, help spread the cartoon across the world. However, these early-adopters help create user-generated content, that further entails the spread of the cartoon.

User-generated content is the fan-based creation of a certain story that further expands that story’s universe (Flew, 2008 p. 35-36). For example, fan-fictions are UGCs (user-generated content) since they expand their choice of content, whether it is a TV-show or a book, and create their own universe around it. A lot of fan-fictions can be found on the website (http://www.fanfiction.net/) which is a nest of UGC. Deviant Art is another medium that allows artists to upload their artwork, similar to the photo sharing website Flickr, but for artists. However, a lot of fan-art from various shows and stories arise on this website

A personal example of transmedia storytelling is a fan made art created by friend, Paz Pora, that depicts me as a character of my favourite show. She also in addition, to her online art portfolio, has created fan art to “Lord of the Rings”, and even a popular singer in the band Radiohead. To see her UGC, click here.

Paz Pora's fan made version of Jona Stevens in the popular "Adventure Time" cartoon.

Paz Pora’s fan made version of Jona Stevens in the popular “Adventure Time” cartoon.

In a way, you could relate transmedia storytelling to the more colloquial term of ‘fandom’. Wikipedia describes fandom compellingly as:

“Fandom (consisting of fan [fanatic] plus the suffix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest, often as a part of a social network with particular practices (a fandom); this is what differentiates “fannish” (fandom-affiliated) fans from those with only a casual interest.”(Wikipedia, 2013)

Fans desire for more information and content from their shows, and preferred stories. “Doctor Who” is an example of this notion that transmedia storytelling is a powerful tool, which entailed to a possible new religion. Running for almost 50 years now, “Doctor Who” has gained much popularity to the public. Due to it’s enormous fan base, the PBS YouTube channel questioned whether the “Doctor Who” fans, called ‘whovians’ could become it’s religion.

This is a powerful example of how fans want to expand the “Doctor Who” universe. This religion is an organized fashion of converging the “Doctor Who” Fans crave for more, therefore they enlarge the universe, which motivates the producers and creators to further expand their show. They do this by creating merchandise and more platforms for which many fans and users are able fulfill their need.

Transmedia storytelling is a powerful tool for further diffusing content. It also helps create a well-knit community of fans that desire more out of the story, creating a universe and fan-base of that story. These fans help expand this universe by creating original content, called UGC, that orbit around their preferred story. Thanks to these fans and transmedia storytelling, a creator is able to influence and touch the minds of numerous people around the world.

Extras:

Want to learn more about fans? Scott Brown talks about the crazy fans that revolve around popular shows.

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-05/pl_brown

Cool visual video about transmedia storytelling!

References:

Brown, S. (2009, April 20). Scott Brown on Sherlock Holmes, Obsessed Nerds, and Fan Fiction. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-05/pl_brown

Flew, T. (2008). Twenty Key New Media Concepts. In New media: An introduction (pp. 23, 35-36). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, H. (2007, March 22). Transmedia Storytelling 101 [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html

MSLLondonOfficial (2012, October 12). “The Story of Storytelling” by MSL London [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ApodWS-gbg

One3Productions (2011, June 24). Transmedia 101 by One 3 Productions [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvJbY9hUgbc

PBS Idea Channel (2012, October 3). Is Doctor Who a Religion? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Csjr8bXvPw

Wikipedia (2013, August 22). Fandom. Retrieved October 18, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fandom

Wikipedia (2013, October 9). Transmedia storytelling. Retrieved October 17, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmedia_storytelling

Knowledge Workers

In what way(s) will you be a knowledge worker in your field (or a field of interest)?

Although I have not yet picked a future profession, I will stick to my aspiration to work in the videogame industry. I am still unsure at what I might be able to contribute into this type of profession; therefore I will talk about it as a whole.

A knowledge worker is a person whose job description includes an innovative mind-set.  Their contribution to the world would include mental labour, and focus on managing, developing, and sharing knowledge. Peter Drucker, conceptualized this idea in his book “Land Marks of Tomorrow”, and states that only recently knowledge is becoming a major resource for the working industry (1966).

Since the working industry is evolving from labour workers to more mental and informational workers, opportunities that a knowledge worker has increased. Terry Flew mentions this idea of reduced labour workers in his book “New Media An Introduction”. Flew writes that there is a reduced 55% percent of employees in the agriculture and manufacturing industries in the United States in 1940 (2008). In addition, Castell and Aoyama researched that jobs and work environments that require information handling have increased 80% in the 1920s.  This is proof that there are an increase knowledge workers and a demand of it.

Tapscott (2006) finds that innovations and knowledge workers have a distinct correlation. In addition he includes that the rise of social medias and the internet has led to much more direct networking. This leads to the more collaborative and cooperative situation of knowledge.

A knowledge worker is not just one person with a task. There are different types of skills and roles that a knowledge worker has or shares with others. This table shows the different roles and factors that make up a knowledge worker, or even some qualities that one has. Please refer to Reinhardt’s table of “Typology of knowledge worker roles”.

Typology of Knowledge Worker Roles

(Scroll down on the wikipedia page for the table.)

An interesting connection to knowledge workers is when employers seek them. One quality or requirement that an employer might demand is an EQ score. This is an Emotional IQ.  It is based around ones “ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups”(Wikipedia, 2013). Simply put, it is a way for an employer to see how well an applicant can work with others and themselves. Questions include, how well you can work with another. How well you can cope with another. Are you an open-minded person? And so forth. But what does this have to do with knowledge workers? Well, in the article “The future of knowledge workers”, compiled by different writes, it is mentioned that one of the most important quality a knowledge worker has to offer is teamwork. The EQ covers that area and asks relevant questions relating to ones relationship in team situations.

I assume that the video game industry involves and employs a lot of knowledge workers. A lot of people need to innovate new ideas and concepts into their videogames in order to properly diffuse into society. (Click here for “Diffusion of Innovation”). However, innovators are not the only knowledge workers in the industry. A programmer, animator, storyboard writer, producer, game designer, videogame tester, etc. are people who require mental labour for information managing. A field that might interest me would be a game designer. A game designer comes up with the idea and concept of the videogame, simply put. As a game designer, a lot of brainstorming is required to accomplish and do your job. Also a lot of cooperating and idea sharing is needed to effectively work with animators, programmers, artist, and etc. A game designer, going back to Reinhardt’s table, would have most of the roles listed. These are things that I can improve on or even adapt to if I do become a video game developer.

A videogame designer falls under the category of a knowledge worker. They are the driving force that creates the game and gives it’s uniqueness. I would either want to be a video game designer, or even be part of the creative process in developing a videogame.

Extra:

A little video about Knowledge workers.

An interactive map about Knowledge created by Don Clark.

knowledge_typology

Click the image to be redirected for the interactivity.

References

Big Think (2011, November 14). Rich Lesser Knowledge Worker [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEK-v2rwA-U

Clark, D. (2004, May 17). Peter Drucker – The Knowledge Worker [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/history_knowledge/drucker.html

Gregoryy, I. (n.d.). Peter Drucker on Knowledge Worker Productivity [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.knowledgeworkerperformance.com/Peter-Drucker-Knowledge-Worker-Productivity.aspx

Wikipedia (2012, October 13). Advanced capitalism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_capitalism

Wikipedia (2013, September 5). Knowledge Economy. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_economy

Wikipedia (2013, October 8). Knowledge worker – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_worker

Diffusion of Innovation

“Discuss innovations and the way they diffuse in your planned profession by applying elements of the diffusion of innovations model.”

Before talking about the subject of the diffusion of innovations we must define what it is. The diffusion of innovations is a theory, popularized by Everett Rogers, that seeks to explain for what reasons that technology and ideas spread through culture (Wikipedia, 2013). An innovation is a new concept, idea, product that has been brought forth by a person or a group of people. Diffusion is how something is able to spread. In other words, this theory tries to explain how an innovation is spread through culture, why it spread, and at what rate.

Within this theory, there are different types of people that help diffuse the new innovation.

  1. 1.   Innovators

As the name suggests, these people are the creators, and visionaries that created the building blocks of the innovation. Innovators tend to have the time and motivation to set forth these products (Robinson, 2009). They only obtain a certain acknowledgment until their product becomes successful. Steve Jobs only obtained his status after creating and marketing his product, however before that he was an unknown innovator.

  1. 2.   Early Adopters

Early adopters are the people who are interested in these new innovations and are willing to take that innovation under their wing. These people are usually that ones who kick start companies and innovators. They usually find a potential in the product and would like to further expand and advertise the product (Robinson 2009). They are analogous to talent scouts, as in they seek a potential innovator to help fund and collaborate with. These people have the networking, funding, and status to make an innovation “take off.”

  1. 3.   Early Majority

The early majority are the people who would happily accept the new product. These people usually accept the trend or what’s “in”. They are the one who test run the product and help spread and diffuse the product throughout their culture. This only happens when the product reaches over the chasm. These people are also known as pragmatists (Robinson 2009).

Image

(Graph showing the Diffusion of Innovation)

The chasm is the point where the product either obtains its proper popularity and status to continue on to diffuse to the population. If it does not reach over this point, it will not be able to effectively diffuse or even diffuse properly.

  1. 4.   Late Majority

Theses are the people who are the hesitant pragmatist. They are usually people “who hate risk and are uncomfortable [with] your new idea”(Robinson, 2009). They are reluctant to conform to the product, but when they do, it is motivated by fear.

  1. 5.   Laggards

Laggards refuse to conform to the product due to their ideology thinking that the innovation is a risk to them. They are considered to be highly skeptical people when it comes to a new product.

However, these types of people aren’t the only factors that contribute to making an innovation diffusive. Everett mentions about five factors; these being: relative advantage, compatibility of existing values and practices, simplicity and ease of use, trial ability, and observable results (Robinson 2009).

Relative advantage is the general idea that certain innovations have an advantage due to the economic status, overall popularity to the public, user-friendliness, and convenience. The higher the relative advantage a product has, the higher rate of adoption of diffusion there is.

Compatibility is simply how well the innovation is up-to-date with the current lifestyle of people.

Simplicity and ease of use is another factor that determines the rate of diffusion. The simpler and easier the product is to use, the more followers it would get due to it’s user-friendliness.

Trial ability, is when the product has the ability to put on trials and be experimented with. This helps reduce the uncertainty that one might have with the product.

Observable results simply means if the product can show statistics about themselves. The general population tends to favour products that show statistics and results of their products. Helps motivate people to compare results with previous products of different products.

How does this relate to my preferred future profession? It is easy to compare these terms and theory to the gaming community. An innovator would be the one who would come up with the idea and general concept of the game. The earl adopters would help fund and advertise the innovators game to the public. If the innovators and early adopters are successful in bringing forth their game, the early majority would jump in and help diffuse the game to new users. These people would gladly play the game and recommend, review, talk about the game. They help create a certain popularity to the game that would attract others. Such as the reluctant late majority, if there are enough positive reviews to the game, the late majority would adopt the game and play it. However, in many communities there are a few who resist, deny, refuse to adopt this new trend, these would be the laggards.

Here’s a small relevant video that talks about how new ideas form and spread.

Nice condensed summary about the Diffusion of Innovation created and compiled by Les Robinson.

http://www.enablingchange.com.au/Summary_Diffusion_Theory.pdf

References:

Diffusion of innovations – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2013, September 17). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved September 29, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations

Flew, T. (2008). Approaches to New MEdia. New media: an introduction (3. ed., pp. 42-46). South Melbourne, Vic. [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press.

Robinson, L. (2009, January 1). A summary of Diffusion of Innovations. Enabling Change. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from http://www.enablingchange.com.au/Summary_Diffusion_Theory.pdf