Community Media Discussion - The Rogers Curve or How to Spread New Ideas Throughout a Culture

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In our next community media discussion, Russell Todd of Grow Social Capital is our guest speaker, and will be sharing his insight of the Rogers Curve, which looks at how new ideas get to circulate within society and through our culture. Russell will look at the process of community development and apply the diffusion stages of the innovation process: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, Laggards, to community media and community-focussed communication, asking how we can move from a position of a low level of acceptance of participative and inclusive forms of community media, to a position where there is a high level of acceptance of DIY and independent forms of community media and community focussed communication for social gain.

Join us to discuss how community communications and community sensemaking can change society for the better by opening up our media to greater diversity, inclusivity, participation and civic engagement.

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The Rogers Curve (or How you spread new ideas throughout a culture)

The Rogers Curve is an idea derived by Emmet Rogers in the late 1950s, after studying the adoption of new technologies in American farming. The Rogers Curve (aka the Diffusion of Innovations) posits that diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated over time among the participants in a social system. 

In this week’s Decentered Media community media drop-in, Russell Todd from Grow Social Capital CIC, will be leading our discussion as we consider the implications of the Rogers Curve and its relevance for community-focussed communications. 

Rogers Curve or Diffusion of Innovation Curve

The Rogers Curve is a concept that has proven remarkably resilient to social, economic and technological change in the 60 years since it was first published, so how might this idea be applied in relation to our community media activity?

How might community media makers and advocates ‘diffuse’ their ideas of social value, empowerment, social action communications, and so on. How can these ideas become more mainstream? How might the ‘innovators’ and ‘early adopters’, who often rub shoulders with each other, push their ideas ‘out of the nest’? What challenges will they face when ideas encounter resistance, hostility, conservatism?

The concept is predicated on the notion that while adoption is an individual process, or at least operates at a very micro unit such as the family or household, the process of diffusion is itself a group phenomenon.

At Grow Social Capital we argue that in order for social innovations to become mainstream, it is necessary to invest in collaborative opportunities that reach across each of the five groups that Rogers defined, which include: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, Laggards.

Russell will critique and challenge us to think about these groups in relation to our own individual own work environments, the communities that we belong to, and the systems that wrap around us and which shape our options for action.

Russell can be contacted at Grow Social Capital,