Everett M. Rogers, a pioneer in research into how and why people adopt new technologies, has died at age 73. Best known for developing his Diffusion of Innovations theory, Rogers published 30 books and more than 500 articles. He applied his research to health communication projects around the world, often inspiring people interested in marketing new products and concepts.

Rogers claimed that adopters of any new innovation would fall into the categories of innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. For each person, their willingness and ability to take up an innovation would depend on their awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, and adoption. He showed these innovations would spread through society in an S curve.

Rogers’ research laid the foundation for works like Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, the famous guide to how and why technology companies succeed. Although I never met the man, I’ve respected his work for many years, citing it in my marketing plans (as recently as this morning), my blog and even my Executive MBA thesis. I’ll continue to draw from his work, showing, in a small way, how ideas spread throughout society.

Rogers suffered from kidney disease and retired from the University of New Mexico this past summer.

(c) 2004 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.