Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Meshing innovation, product development and production, marketing and sales as a virtuous cycle 19

Posted in business and convergent technologies, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on June 29, 2019

This is my 19th installment to a series in which I reconsider cosmetic and innovative change as they impact upon and even fundamentally shape product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and the sales cycle, and from both the producer and consumer perspectives (see Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time 2 and its Page 3 continuation, postings 342 and loosely following for Parts 1-18.)

I initially offered a set of to-address topics points in Part 16 that I have been discussing since then. And I repeat that list here as I continue doing so, noting in advance that I have in effect been simultaneously addressing its first three points up to here, due to their overlaps:

1. What does and does not qualify as a true innovation, and to whom in this overall set of contexts?
2. And where, at least in general terms could this New be expected to engender resistance and push-back, and of a type that would not simply fit categorically into the initial resistance patterns expected from a more standard cross-demographic innovation acceptance diffusion curve and its acceptance and resistance patterns?
3. How in fact would explicit push-back against globalization per se even be identified, and certainly in any real case-in-point, detail-of-impact example, where the co-occurrence of a pattern of acceptance and resistance that might arise from that might concurrently appear in combination with the types and distributions of acceptance and resistance that would be expected from marketplace adherence to a more standard innovation acceptance diffusion curve? To clarify the need to address this issue here, and the complexities of actually doing so in any specific-instance case, I note that the more genuinely disruptively new an innovation is, the larger the percentage of potential marketplace participants there would be that would be expected to hold off on accepting it and at least for significant periods of time, and with their failure to buy and use it lasting throughout their latency-to-accept periods. But that failure to buy in on the part of these involved demographics and their members does not in and of itself indicate anything as to their underlying motivation for doing so, longer term and as they become more individually comfortable with its particular form of New. Their marketplace activity, or rather their lack of it would qualify more as noise in this system, and certainly when anything like a real-time analysis is attempted to determine underlying causal mechanisms in the market activity and marketplace behavior in play. As such, any meaningful analysis and understanding of the dynamics of the marketplace in this can become highly reactive and after the fact, and particularly for those truly disruptive innovations that would only be expected to appeal at first to just a small percentage of early and pioneer adaptor marketplace participants.
4. This leads to a core question of who drives resistance to globalization and its open markets, and how. And I will address that in social networking terms.
5. And it leads to a second, equally important question here too: how would globalization resistance-based failure to buy in on innovation peak and then drop off if it were tracked along an innovation disruptiveness scale over time?

My primary goal for this series installment is to focus on Points 3 and 4 of that list, but once again, given the overlaps implicit in this set of issues as a whole, I will also return to Part 1 again to add further to my discussion of that as well.

To more formally outline where this discussion is headed, I ended Part 18 with this anticipatory note as to what would follow, at least beginning here:

• I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will make use of an approach to social network taxonomy and social networking strategy that explicitly addresses the issues of who networks with and communicates with whom, and that also can be used to map out patterns of influence as well: important to both the basic innovation diffusion model and to understanding the forces and the dynamics of global flattening and wrinkling too. In anticipation of that discussion to come, that is where issues of agendas enter this narrative. Then after discussing that, I will explicitly turn to the above-repeated Point 3: a complex of issues that has been hanging over this entire discussion since I first offered the above topics list at the end of Part 16 of this series. And I will address a very closely related Point 4 and its issues too, as already briefly touched upon here.

I will in fact address all of that in what follows in this series. But to set the stage for that, I step back to add another layer of nuance if not outright complexity to the questions and possible answers of what innovation is in this context, and to whom. And I will very specifically use the points that I will make there, in what follows in addressing the issues of the above-added bullet point.

• As a first point that I raise here, a change might arise in its significance to be seen as an innovation because “at least someone might realistically be expected to see it as creating at least some new source or level of value or challenge, however small, at least by their standards and criteria” (with “…value or challenge” offered with their alternative valances because such change can be positively or negatively perceived.)
• But it is an oversimplifying mistake to only consider such changes individually and as if they only arose as in a context-free vacuum. More specifically, a sufficient number of individually small changes: small and even more cosmetic-in-nature innovations, all arriving in a short period of time and all affecting a same individual or group, can have as great an impact upon them and their thinking as a single, stand alone disruptively new innovation would have on them. And when those people are confronted with what they would come to see as an ongoing and even essentially ceaseless flood of New, and even if that just arrives as an accumulating mass of individually small forms of new, they can come to feel all but overwhelmed by it. Context can in fact be essentially everything here.
• Timing and cumulative impact are important here, and disruptive is in the eye of the beholder.

Let’s consider those points, at least to start, for how they impact upon and even shape the standard innovation acceptance diffusion curve as empirically arises when studying the emergence and spread of acceptance of New, starting with pioneer and early adaptors and continuing on through late and last adaptors.

• Pioneer and early adaptors are both more tolerant of and accepting of new and the disruptively new, and more tolerant of and accepting of a faster pace of their arrival.
• Or to put this slightly differently, late and last adaptors can be as bothered by too rapid a pace of new and of change, as they would be bothered by pressure to adapt to and use any particular new innovation too quickly to be comfortable for them, and even just any new more minor one (more minor as viewed by others.)
• Just considering earlier adaptors again here, these details of acceptance or caution, or of acceptance and even outright rejection and resistance stem from how more new-tolerant and new-accepting individuals and the demographics they represent, have a higher novelty threshold for even defining a change in their own thinking as actually being significant enough to qualify as being more than just cosmetic. And they have a similarly higher threshold level for qualifying a change that they do see as being a significant innovation, as being a disruptively new and novel one too.
• What is seen as smaller to the earlier adaptors represented in an innovation acceptance diffusion curve, is essentially certain to appear much larger for later adaptors and for whatever individual innovative changes, or combinations and flows of them that might be considered.

And with that continuation of my Point 1 (and by extension, Point 2) discussions, I turn to consider how a flow of new innovations would impact upon a global flattening versus global wrinkling dynamic.

While most if not all of the basic points that I have just raised here in my standard innovation acceptance curve discussion apply here too, at least insofar as its details can be mapped to corresponding features there too, there is one very significant difference that emerges in the flattening versus wrinkling context:

• Push-back and resistance, as exemplified by late and last adaptors in the standard acceptance curve pattern, is driven by questions such as “how would I use this?” or “why would I need this?”, as would arise at a more individual level. But resistance to acceptance as it arises in a wrinkling context, is driven more by “what would adapting this new, challenge and even destroy in my society and its culture?” It is more a response to perceived societal-level threat.

This is a challenge that is defined at, and that plays out at a higher, more societally based organizational level than would apply to a standard innovation acceptance curve context. And this brings me very specifically and directly to the heart of Point 4 of the above list and the question of who drives resistance to globalization and its open markets, and how. And I begin addressing that by noting a fundamentally important point of distinction:

• Both acceptance of change and resistance of it, in a global flattening and wrinkling context, can and do arise from two sometimes competing, sometimes aligned directions. They can arise from the bottom up and from the cumulative influence of local individuals, or they can arise from the top down.
• And to clarify what I mean there, local and bottom up, and (perhaps) more centralized for source and top down can mean any combination of two things too, as to the nature of the voice and the power of influence involved. This can mean societally shaped and society shaping political authority and message coming from or going to voices of power and influence there. Or this can mean the power of social media and of social networking reach. And that is where I will cite and discuss social networking taxonomies and networking reach and networking strategies as a part of this discussion.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will focus explicitly on the issues and challenges of even mapping out and understanding global flattening and its reactive counterpoint: global wrinkling. And as a final thought for here that I offer in anticipation of that line of discussion to come, I at least briefly summarize a core point that I made earlier here, regarding innovation and responses to it per se:

• Change and innovation per se, can be disruptive and for both the perceived positives and negatives that that can bring with it. And when a sufficiently high percentage of an overall population primarily see positive, or at worst neutral there, flattening is at least going to be more possible and certainly as a “natural” path forward. But if a tipping point level of overall negative impact-perceived response arises, then the acceptance or resistance pressures that arise will favor wrinkling and that will become a societally significant force and it will represent a significant part of the overall voice for those peoples too.

I will discuss the Who of this and both for who leads and for who follows in the next installment to this narrative. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 5, and also at Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4 of that directory. And see also Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and its Page 2 and Page 3 continuations.

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