Adoption & Effective Use

Adoption Doesn't Exist

Sadie argues that adoption is like the color white – it doesn’t exist:

“Adoption” doesn’t exist.

At least, not the way most people think about it. It’s not an entity or a competency on its own. It’s not a feature or an endpoint with a well-defined set of characteristics. It’s not an improvement or an upgrade that you can run like a project and dedicate attention and resources to as its own workstream.

Think of the way the color white is made, which many of us learned in grade school or at a science museum: the result of many colors of light added together.

This is adoption. The “white” at the center that can’t exist without all the other colors.

Sadie then outlines a number of “critical colors” that have to be in place for adoption to be white.

My Comments
1. I’d say it a different way – adoption does exist – it is something that you want to work towards. And there are various strategies you can use to achieve adoption, such as “executive support,” “business alignment,” and “marketing / communication / WIIFM,” among others. Where Sadie sees colors, I see strategies.

2. I agree with Sadie that adoption isn’t something that exists in a vacuum though. As I say in the book, adoption exists within a context, and you can’t take an “ugly” approach to business alignment and expect something “beautiful” with respect to adoption (see page 36).

3. I’m wondering if you could say the same thing – “it doesn’t exist – it’s white” about any of those items by themselves. That is, if you re-drew Sadie’s diagram with “executive support” or “users have a voice” in the middle, could you come to the same conclusion? That by itself it doesn’t exist, but is part of a bigger context?

2 replies »

  1. Michael, I’m psyched that you picked up on this and dug in with some counterpoint and questions! Very interesting, your point #3 – I will have to put on that lens and see if it is true for most other scenarios. I bet it is – though for me the Adoption concept is still the main offender!