Second Wave People

My new book is about User Adoption Strategies for collaboration technology, and focuses on “second wave people”. These are the ones in an organization who don’t rush to embrace new collaboration technology … regardless of what it is.

They are very different from “first wave people” — the early adopters of anything new, the advocates, the champions, or the enthusiasts.

I describe the difference between the two wave groups using the following points:

  • What-why reversal … A first wave person is attracted to the “what” of the new collaboration technology (Ooo, hash tags!), but may struggle with the “why”. A second wave person gets the “why” (if it’s conveyed in terms of their work), but will need help with the “what”.
  • Different reference groups … A first wave person sees their use of the tool within a self-created reference group, usually outside of their organization. A second wave person sees their own work, and the use of tools contextualized within an internal reference group.
  • Different rewards … Getting to use new tools is reward enough for first wavers, but second wavers have to understand where and how the new tools will improve their current work.
  • Speed of change … First wavers will quickly embrace new tools, and will learn how to do so through trial-and-error. Second wavers need greater external help and handholding in successfully making the transition from current tools and approaches to work.
  • Dealing with the old … First wavers will be quick to call the old stuff “dead” (Gil has a post that expands on this) and will want to move away from it ASAP. Second wavers want to embrace new things within the context of what they already know and have.

What have I missed? How else could I explain the difference between the two groups?

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