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We are all familiar with the Theory of Diffusion of Innovations…

Diffusion of Innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. Everett Rogers, a professor of rural sociology, popularized the theory in his 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations. He said diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. The origins of the diffusion of innovations theory are varied and span multiple disciplines.

This morning I woke up with the Theory of Work on my mind.  I’m sure there has been research, studies, tests, etc… conducted but I thought I’d write before researching.  just using anecdotal evidence from my own experiences in life.  I came up with this on my whiteboard:


Make work that needs to be completed in order for the company to grow and succeed. Makers create valuable and purposeful work to be done. They are often doers as well so they can test their work and iterate on how it should be done.


Do they work others have made. Doers are the backbone of a strong company. They figure out how work should be done and constantly provide feedback to the makers. Doers are also ok in the grey zone and help improve the small details that make big impacts on work results.


Follow proven processes to complete work. Every company needs reliable processes to effectively scale. Followers are not going to help much with innovation, but they are reliable to execute work that has been proven to be effective.


Complain about the processes, yet never really follow all of the details well. Even worse, they never have ideas on how it could be done better. This is why they slide to the back and drag a company down.


UPDATE: My friend Jeff Turner helped improve my whiteboard idea into a much prettier graphic.

Image by Jeff Turner