This is a test.
The website was hacked, most likely due to the old theme I was using. I’ was looking to change it early next year anyway. Now I just have to accelerate it a bit.
So I’ve put in a transitional theme until then. Not pretty but it will have to do.
Let me know if you see anything weird.
All theoretical and empirical diffusion studies agree that an innovation diffuses along a S-shaped trajectory. Indeed, the S-shaped pattern of diffusion appears to be a basic anthropologic phenomenon.
This observation dates as far back as 1895 when the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde first described the process of social change by an imitative “group-think” mechanism and a S-shaped pattern. In 1983 Everett Rogers, developed a more complete four stage model of the innovation decision process consisting of: (1) knowledge, (2) persuasion, (3) decision and implementation, and (4) confirmation.
Consequently, Rogers divided the population of potential adopters according to their adoption date and categorized them in terms of their standard deviation from the mean adoption date. He presented extensive empirical evidence to suggest a symmetric bell shaped curve for the distribution of adopters over time. This curve matches in shape the first derivative of the logistic growth and substitution curve as shown below.
In the graph above I applied the Rogers adopter characterization to the data we have on the adoption of smartphones in
This is a very useful analysis of the way smartphones are diffusing throughout the US. I’ve written about the diffusion of innovation throughout a community many times and it is nice to see that smartphones are following the same curve.
Now, this post makes the point that the speed of adoption entails a learning stage. There have been 5 stages postulated in the personal adoption of something new: Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Trial and Adoption.
Where someone falls along the adoption curve depends on how fast one moves through each stage. Innovators move very rapidly. The middle takes more time. In fact, they usually get stuck at the evaluation stage. They wait the thought leaders in the early adopter group to help them change.
Notice that the adoption of an innovation is slow until about 16% have made the shift. Then you see explosive and rapid growth, once the early adopters are on board.
So the faster the early adopters can evaluate and learn about the innovation, the faster it will spread. Perhaps by Apple making it easy to learn, especially for the thought leaders , allowed it to rapidly spread throughout a community.
Other phone makers, whose platform was not as easy to evaluate and learn, suffer from churn as the evaluation process becomes muddy and undirected.
By making the evaluation process easier, Apple makes it more likely that the necessary thought leaders will convince the rest of the community to shift. and see explosive growth.
This explains why the smartphone took off so fast once Apple released the iPhone and why everyone else copied them. The same thing happened with the iPad, while Microsoft had no luck with its tablets for years.
The key step to rapid adoption is not just cool technology. It must be made very easy for the critical early adopters to evaluate. That is Apple’s real innovation.
We’re deep into week 2 of teaching a Lean LaunchPad class for Life Sciences and Health Care (therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health) this October at UCSF with a team of veteran venture capitalists. Part 1 of this post described the issues in the drug discovery. Part 2 covered medical devices and digital health. Part 3 described what we’re going to do about it. This is post is a brief snapshot of our progress.
I have been following Steve Blank’s journey into disrupting the way healthcare companies are funded off and on. He has brought the ‘Moneyball’ approach to funding, by using data rather than gut feelings.
As any good scientist does, he wants to do n experiment – can he teach a class on these principles to help startups get funding in a more defined way. And to change the VC industry, especially in healthcare, from looking only for home runs and perhaps consider that 3-4 singles will accomplish the same things.
As I have written before, the cost to get drugs to market today is simply too long and expensive. We must find better approaches. And this approach might just help us get there.
As with any experiment, it may not explain everything. But, as this video shows, it can help us create a better model for success.
Consider the Facts: moving people to deliberative thinking is an experiment in several ways. The project itself involves experimentation to examine a hypothesis.
But the process of raising money for research through crowdfunding is also an experiment. Can a group of people in the public sphere create, vet and support active scientific research? What is required to make that happen?
SpreadingScience has learned a lot and has some answers to those questions. One final one is whetehr we will reach our goal.
$25 would help a lot. Please help us answer that question.
We are down to the last days and we are only halfway to our goal. We need to find out if the Asteroid will really save mankind.
NASA sure thinks so, based on this video:
Help make this happen.
So much going on that this blog has not been updated for awhile. Consider the Facts is a fun experiment into crowdfunding research projects. It will provide the tools to examine how we might change people’s views about the future.
We have some things to do during the dead time the efforts are now in – people usually only focus their interest the first week or so and the last week or so.
The middle month is not the most interesting.
But go take a look at the site. we have some drafts of the illustrations for the short narrative.
Apple has hired a new VP who will report directly to Tim Cook. Paul Deneve is cited as having responsibility for “special projects” and will report directly to Tim Cook.
The previous roles as a manager in luxury brand companies has led to a great deal of speculation about what new projects Apple could be working on that might also fit this new manager’s background and title.
The most commonly cited speculation is around the iWatch or TV product lines (with some surprised that he will not be heading Retail.)
Although reading “luxury product CEO” and concluding “new luxury products” seems logical, a little knowledge about how Apple is organized dispels this notion. And a little knowledge happens to be about all we have, as Apple’s organization is one of its most closely guarded secrets. Even employees at Apple have little idea of how the company is organized. What we do know is summarized into this org chart:
We have heard al ot recently about Microsoft’s new re-organization. They are organizing around function, not devices.
I wonder where they got that idea from?
A 21st century company needs to foster collaboration and that is done by organizing around functions that everyone needs for each product. This ends up creating a lot of purposeful conversations about proper use of resources, etc. that often leads to much greater efficiencies than when things are simply focussed on a product silo.
Consider the Facts is the most successful finalist in the #CrowdGrant Challenge sponsored by RocketHub and Popular Science so far. That did not just happen.
Crowdfunding projects usually succeed because they activate a community to action. Maybe it’s fans of a TV show. Or space enthusiasts who want to send up a satellite.
If that community is not already there, then it must be created. That takes some real time to figure out ways to get the word out. Comunities do not often spontaneously arise. It taks a lot fo work finding and nurturing those contacts.
People want to help but they also want to see how they might be helped.
I’ve been planning basic research projects for some time, looking to create a community that will create, vet and support research projects independent of academia. What happens when people with good questions can get them answered?
So I had planned on doing something small, start with friends and family, and bootstrap myself to a community. Then this opportunity to work with Popular Science came along.
Now I can experiment to see if Popular Science’s Community might help help create this sort of a community faster.
We shall see.
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I have been juggling a lot since the launch. Keeping all the social media on board can be tricky, especially since this project is an experiment.
Historically using stories—ones that engage rapid, rules of thumb thinking first and create a counterintuitive reaction—has been a way to teach people complex social lessons.
Can it be used to teach them complex scientific lessons? That is what Consider the Facts hopes to find out. To do that, we need some tools. That is why we need your help.
Consider the Facts wants to answer a basic question: Can using a modern, positive fable move people to utilize more of their slow deliberative thinking in order to engage complex problems?
Aesop’s fables, Christ’s parables and Kipling’s Just-So Stories all used the method of presenting complex ideas within a paradoxical story: “the tortoise is faster than the hare?”, “the Samaritan is good?” or “the alligator gave the elephant its trunk”?
“Really? Is that true? Let me think about that.”
All these stories make people stop using their rapid System 1 thinking (as discussed by Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow) and utilize their System 2 as they reorient their rules of thumb to reintegrate a new view of the world surrounding them.
“I see, under some circumstances the hare could be slower than the tortoise. Good to know.” “We should not prejudge people because sometimes ‘bad’ people will do good things. Good to know.” “No way did the alligator pull the elephant’s nose and make it long. But I wonder how the trunk did form?”
In particular, the framing of Kipling’s stories actually invites deeper examination of scientific problems, not just social ones. It is this particular process that Consider the Facts will attempt to explore – can we move people to think deeply and slowly about science, not just social norms?
Scientists are trained to use slow thinking as a necessary part of their job. I cannot read any paper without dropping into System 2 thinking in order to deeply examine the data: “Do those numbers really add up?” “Does that figure actually show what the paper discusses?” “Do their procedures actually produce the results? Do the conclusions match what was described?”
System 1 thinking would read the abstract and come up with “Cancer is cured” or “Fats cause high cholesterol”. Sound familiar?
That is because most of our mainstream approaches that move information around use System 1 methods. That is why headlines are so important. Most people live in a System 1 world.
That makes sense.You had better know what to do instantly when confronted with a lion. Or wonder if that plant is good to eat. In a stable environment, System 1 thinking does a pretty good job of simulating the world. It’s good enough.
But in our complex, rapidly changing world, things are different. Our social environment is not stable. Changing technology destroys rules of thumb. System 1approaches are maladaptive, They lead people away from reality, they put people into Cargo Cult Worlds whose simulation of reality is so poor as to be dangerous.
Their rules of thumb no longer work. This results in the sort of future shock described by Toffler. People can see that their rules of thumb do not seem to be working. Most, instead of dropping into System 2 and working things out, refuse to integrate any more information at all. They refuse to use System 2 in a way to move forward effectively.
Research shows that giving people more facts does not move them towards deliberative thinking. In truth, many people retreat even further into their Cargo Cult worlds, ignoring or rationalizing away any facts that contradict their rules of thumb. They will actually forget facts if those facts contradict their Cargo Cult World.
Shouting at them or lecturing them actually produces the opposite reaction from what is desired.
Perhaps telling them a story will.
My RocketHub crowdfunding research project is now up and going. I plan on making some changes around this website as it moves forward.