A Story of Innovation and Adoption

“If you build it, they will come” is a quote that is famous for not being true. It comes from a 1989 movie called Field of Dreams, which is about having hope and faith. Kevin Costner struggles through adversity to realise his calling, despite everyone thinking he’s going crazy. It’s a plot any entrepreneur or angel investor can relate too!

The story starts with a business putting a huge effort into creating an innovative offering. They then evangelise the new offering, highlighting the amazing features and benefits now available. “We have built it, now they will come”.

And some customers do come. They’re excited and willing to take a chance. They buy into the vision and validate the team’s belief in their business and offering. However, just like a movie, the business is being setup for the plot twist.

The action moves ahead at a frantic pace. The innovative offering gets better and better. The business builds more capability. Relationships between staff, leaders, and investors are filled with ups and downs. Then the market slows its adoption, just when it’s supposed to accelerate. Plot twist! If customers love the innovation why aren’t crowds of them coming on board?

Time to react. Try new communication channels. New customers are not happy, so make the offering more user friendly. Loyal customers are now waiting on promised features, so reprioritise again. Staff are stressed. Investors getting frustrated. Blame marketing and replace them. It doesn’t work. What happened?! It’s like the business has fallen into a chasm.

This is a moment of realisation. The team realises they’re no longer the only ones writing the story, they’re now part of a bigger picture. Great success happens when the market decides to adopt the innovation, it’s not just based on how amazing the innovation is. It’s time to help customers adopt the innovative offering for their own stories.

Time to get proactive. Discover the adoption lifecycle of the market and rebuild the go-to-market strategy. Product ownership is reoriented to incorporate the different buying behaviours. Funding is reassigned to where its most effective. Hope and faith start to return. The theme has changed: “We have built it, and we’ve built it for them”.

How does the story end? Does the business adapt in time? Will the market respond? Do they manage to get out of the chasm? Story credits roll…

Special thanks to:

The NZ Software Association is helping businesses prepare their own strategy, by providing a workshop in Auckland on November 12th & 13th. This workshop has been developed with the Chasm Institute and will be facilitated by the Chasm Institute’s Managing Director and Co-founder, Mark Cavender.