DEFINITION of 'Diffusion Of Innovations Theory'
A hypothesis outlining how new technological and other advancements spread throughout societies and cultures, from introduction to wider-adoption. The diffusion of innovations theory seeks to explain how and why new ideas and practices are adopted, with timelines potentially spread out over long periods.
The way in which innovations are communicated to different parts of society and the subjective opinions associated with the innovations are important factors in how quickly diffusion - or spreading - occurs.
BREAKING DOWN 'Diffusion Of Innovations Theory'
Factors that affect the rate of innovation diffusion include the mix of rural to urban population within a society, the society's level of education and the extent of industrialization and development. Different societies are likely to have different adoption rates (the rate at which members of a society accept a new innovation) for different types of innovation. For example, a society may have adopted the internet faster than it adopted the automobile due to cost, accessibility and familiarity with technological change.