Understand the Adoption of Innovation- In a corporate culture context

From conducting research this last two weeks and speaking to an expert in the industry who is exposed to the market and similar products to ‘PERKED!’ I have been better able to understand how innovation is adopted when it comes to a corporation implementing ‘well-being’ policies. From this I was put in contact with a user from each of the first three phases of the chasm. Unfortunately they have not been able to get back to me in time for this submission and on review of their various online profiles, I decided to try and reach out through our contact at PERKED! to examples that I thought would fit the profile of each phases characteristics better. However, being as this was yesterday I have only managed to get feedback from one, therefore I will also use the expert I spoke to as an example, whilst making an assumption for the last phase.

Having spoke with Sheila Hemingway, Occupational Health Adviser, Unilever R&D (Sheila.hemingway@unilever.com, http://www.bitc.org.uk/about-us/who-we-are/sheila-hemingway), she inferred that the adoption for innovation in this corporate field often starts with innovators who are already firms that are heavily involved with tech. From my research and through contacting Jane at PERKED! I was able to profile an employee at Club Penguin, a company who are interested in implementing the PERKED! App currently. Club Penguin is Disney’s number one multiplayer; virtual world for Kids and so is heavily entrenched in the tech world. The reason I profiled in detail Club Penguin is because they are example of a corporation who has been seeking to implement this new tech even before a formal marketing program has been launched. This is because they see the technology as a central interest in their corporate culture. The expert informed me that winning them over at the outset of a marketing campaign is key because their endorsement reassures the other users in the marketplace that the product does in fact work. We get the attention because it is free and offers can offer them lots of technical feedback from the app with its grounding in science.

Having spoken with Sheila, I felt that she fitted the next phase for the adoption of innovation for this market. She had a background in the health industry and she spoke of how apart of her role was being a Case Manager to spot and implement new policies or procedures to help improve the culture and well-being of the office environment at Unilever. In my opinion I can see that she is a potential early adopter because she mentioned how they had been one of the first companies to implement the use of another app called ‘Headspace’ and that they spotted the potential value of being able to foster a healthy work culture through the use of such examples. Sheila can’t just implement a new system straight away though without any evidence and that is why she relies on the opinion of people like Club Penguin, with more of technical background than herself. However she was able to imagine, understand, and appreciate the benefits of this new product, and to relate these potential benefits to their other concerns.

From here the crossing of the chasm to the early majority is seen as the major problem in taking your product to the mass market. They “share some of the early adopter’s ability to relate to technology, but ultimately they are driven by a
strong sense of practicality. Therefore it is key for early adopters like Sheila to stress the key benefits of the product. She can do this by showing them well-established references before getting them to investing substantially. Winning their business is key to any substantial profits and growth because they roughly make up one-third of the whole adoption life cycle and as an added benefit they are loyal once won.

A more detailed profile for each of the first three stages of the adoption of innovation can be found below.

chasm

Innovator- Club Penguin

Psychographics

  • Decision-making: relatively fast paced adoption due to nature of company. One of the things mentioned is they have a very flat hierarchy at Club Penguin, so the turn around time from decision making to implementation is relatively quick for a corporation.
  • Likes: There main like was the actually benefit this app could have for their employees and their work environment (culture).
  • Dislikes: How there were certain elements of the app that needed to be paid for to unlock.

Behavior

  • Media Consumption: It comes from direct contact with people like Jane at PERKED! and he said he had his trusted sources when it came to recommendations but wanted to discover and play with apps himself rather than rely from word of mouth
  • Relevant behavior: any other schemes on culture, rated best company to work, unlimited holiday for.
  • Habits: Liked to suggest ways the app could be developed in their own way. As mentioned in class though, this is not always a good thing as the innovators generally try to develop for the sake of developing, not necessarily to add value.

Environment

  • Tech Landscape: Fully apart of the tech landscape, heavily involved. They are at the forefront themselves.
  • Influences: He said they were concerned with self-improvement and happy employees
  • Buying Process: relatively quicker compared to others

 

Early adopter- Sheila @ Unilever

Psychographics

  • Decision-making: Shelia mentioned that she would try the product out for a while to get a better understanding before making a decision. She said she was looking for the one product that would actually make a difference rather than just putting forward every product.
  • Likes: She wants to see a product with a clear differentiator that she can recommend and support.
  • Dislikes: She mentioned that she was very hard to please when it came to recommending policies or projects to be put forward.

Behavior

  • Media Consumption: Listened to innovators as well as reading the relevant industry specific magazine. Due to her background as nurse she also received information from that field.
  • Relevant behavior: Sheila mentioned the use of similar apps such as “Headspace” and “Peak” but also mentioned that at Unilever the managers were trained in “Mental Health First Aid”, so therefore being able to potentially spot and/or help a fellow employee.

Environment

  • Tech Landscape: be involved but not to same extent as innovator. Comfortable implementing new tech though and can see that benefit
  • Influences: See the value of how this can grow and really help employees. Also Sheila mentioned how there was value as to being seen as a company who cared for heir employees genuinely by the outside world.
  • Buying Process: Measured but if she thinks that a product is worth it, she will get fully behind the purchase of it.

 

Early Majority- Disney (Due to their links with Club Penguin)

Psychographics

  • Decision-making: Wants a product that will enhance the company’s existing system and not overthrow it. I also assume that because of the sensitive nature of the information, the security/privacy of the app would be a consideration, as PR is more of a concern to companies that fit into the 3rd phase of the adoption of innovation. Will consider all options, competition included.
  • Likes: The expected assumptions of a smooth running app that is easy to use. Also the need for good customer service and troubleshooting would be desired.
  • Dislikes: Temperamental apps that have problems or bugs. I imagine they wouldn’t want an app that would cause apathy in the workforce or be seen as a stunt, therefore would need to be seen as genuine concern.

Behavior

  • Media Consumption: past experiences from other companies or sub-company and or direct contact, especially within their own industry. So for example they would see it works at Club Penguin and then look to expand that out to Disney as a whole. Will look at reviews between PERKED! and competition.
  • Relevant behavior: I assume that they may outsource to company who could come in and take team building days or have links with psychologists if employees ever needed to talk about something. They will have their own HR department potentially that will try and implement a company culture.

Environment

  • Tech Landscape: I assume that they are aware that tech can help them but need to be shown clear benefit. They will already being using tech in practical ways to help increase their value.
  • Influences: They will be influenced by any perceived Competitive advantage over rival firms. For example if because of PERKED! they are able to portray a better work culture and were to therefore attract better candidates. There will also be the incentive that happy employees will potentially lead to higher productivity.
  • Buying Process: They are reasonably price sensitive and in the absence of any clear differentiator they want the best deal.
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