Tag Archives: Alex Pentland

Why some good ideas spread slowly

Why some good ideas spread slowly

The main challenge for any innovator is idea adoption. So, it’s important to understand both how ideas spread and what motivates people to adopt those ideas. So, how does an innovation spread?

For the first clue, last week I published a post where I referenced Alex Pentland’s work on how ideas spread. He rightfully says that the key ingredients necessary to accelerate innovation in any environment are engagement and diversity.

If you are seriously considering building a culture of innovation, I encourage you to read about Alex Pentland’s research on how ideas spread in organizational and urban environments; it’s huge. Tim Kastelle has a great perspective on what it means for organizational design going forward.

Great! But, if you intentionally design your organization to always be innovating does that mean that all ideas will spread fast no matter where they start? Actually, as Scott Berkun insightfully says “the default state of an idea is non-adoption. Even in cultures where innovation is expected.

That means everything happens slowly…

To understand why, I direct your attention to a fascinating article Atul Gawande wrote last year in the New Yorker about why some good ideas spread slowly: