“We do not need to make the Gospel attractive by dressing it up in modern clothes. The Gospel already is attractive. It is up to us to bring out this attraction as clearly as possible, grounded in the situation of the people we talk to” (Alister McGrath).
“It is the task of theology…to discover what God has said in and through Scripture and to clothe that in a conceptuality which is native to our own age” (David Wells).
“There is non-negotiable, Biblical, intellectual content to be proclaimed. By all means insist that this content be heralded with conviction; by all means seek the unction of the Spirit; by all means try to think through how to cast this content in ways that engage the modern secularist” (D.A. Carson).
“Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms…. Confusion here is fatal” (J.I. Packer).
How do you create ideas that stick? What differentiates successful innovations from unsuccessful ones? What is the best way to commercialise an idea? How do you ensure that it reaches the masses? Who are the thought leaders that you should be targetting when seeking to influence opinion leaders? How do you create critical mass in the adoption of an idea? These are questions that marketers, innovators and sociologists have been grappling with for a long time.
My belief is that an innovation, no matter how good it is, cannot be successfully adopted without social acceptance and behavioural change.
Let me explore this with you a little further and offer up a useful model in thinking about:
- your future product launches
- influencing key stakeholders and opinion leaders in social media
- pitching the next change management project in your organisation
- positioning educational program in communities
- your own thought leadership
The model is “The law of Diffusion of Innovations” created by Everett Rogers back in 1962. A bit of true thought leadership, which has had new light thrown on it with the advent of new communications channels like social media.
Let us have a look at the model below to understand it better.
On the x-axis you can spot the percentage size of 5 different types of groups in society.
- Innovators – 2.5%
- Early Adopters – 13.5%
- Early Majority – 34%
- Late Majority – 34%
- Laggards – 16%
When selling an idea, concept or your thought leadership, consider
- which stakeholders you need to communicate with and persuade of its merits
- which communication channels can best influence them
- how much time might be required to influence the influencers, and how they might in turn influence the masses
- which social system you are selling the idea into and what cultural barriers might exist against adopting the idea
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