Diffusions of innovations can be understood as a theoretical framework to guide communications planning for modernization. It is based on the notion that the necessary route for the change from a traditional to a modern person should be understood as the communication and acceptance of new ideas from sources external to the social system where the intervention is taking place.
Everett Rogers identifies the following elements of analysis of diffusion of innovations:
- The innovation
- Its communication through certain channels
- Among members of a social system
- Over time
Adoption of an innovation can be described as the process through which the individual chooses to either accept or reject the innovation after being introduced to it. Adoption of an innovation consists of the following stages:
Research in this area indicates that early adopters of innovations normally are younger, have a higher social status, more favorable financial status, and better mental capabilities. The diffusion of innovations research established the importance of communication in the modernization process at the local level. Communication is the link through which ‘exogenous’ ideas enter a community. Diffusion of innovations then emphasizes the role of further dissemination: the research in this area documents the impact of communication on the path towards modernization.