5 characteristics which affect innovation success

February 15, 2016

5 characteristics which affect innovation success

People often ask me how can we increase our chances of our new product or service succeeding.  How can we be sure that people will accept the new product?  How can we be sure that all the money we are putting into developing this will be worth it?  Before businesses start the innovation process they should consider the following characteristics and try and anticipate people will react to their innovation.

A number of characteristics have been found that affect how people accept and adopt innovation.

  • Relative advantage

Relative advantage is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as better than the product it supersedes, or competing products.  Relative advantage is typically measured in narrow economic terms, for example cost or financial payback, but non-economic factors such as convenience, satisfaction and social prestige may be equally important.  In theory, the greater the perceived advantage, the faster the rate of adoption.

Incentives may be used to promote the adoption of innovation, by increasing the perceived relative advantage of the innovation, subsidising trials or reducing the cost of incompatibles.

  • Compatibility

Compatibility is the degree to which an innovation is perceived to be consistent with the existing values, experiences and needs of potential adopters.  There are two distinct areas of compatibility; existing skills and practices; and values and norms.  The extent to which innovation fits the existing skills, equipment, procedures and performance criteria of the potential adopter is important and relatively easy to assess.

The cost of adoption and use may be influenced by the availability of information about the technology from other users, of trained skilled users, technical assistance and maintenance and of complementary innovations.  Apple and their family of smart phones, tablets and now the watch is a great example of reducing the cost of adoption of use.

  • Complexity

Complexity is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being difficult to understand or use.  In general, innovations which are simpler for potential users to understand will be adopted more rapidly than those which require the adopter to develop new skills and knowledge.

  • Trialability

Trialability is the degree to which an innovation can be experimented with on a limited basis.  An innovation that is triable represents less uncertainty to potential adopters, and allows learning by doing.  Innovations which can be trialled will generally be adopted more quickly than those which cannot.

  • Observability

Observability is the degree to which the results of innovation are visible to others.  The easier it is for others to see the benefits of an innovation, the more likely it will be adopted.  The simple epidemic model of diffusion assumes that innovations spread as potential adopters come into contact with existing users of an innovation.


Incrementa has grown a significant track record in delivering business growth services to pre start and growing businesses. The team at Incrementa have helped to start over 1000 new businesses and have assisted over 250 existing businesses for all industries and sectors to grow and develop.

Leave a Comment

Your feedback is valuable for us. Your email will not be published.

Please wait...