Early adopters are what drive change. They are bold enough to enter the unknown and are often the catalyst for mass acceptance. Even today’s most ubiquitous innovations once had their naysayers.
The announcement of the latest iPhone in September marked 10 years since the device was first introduced to the world and that has sparked interest in what people first thought about it in 2007.
Some initial reviews of the original iPhone included Wired deeming it “not worth the money”, The Peanut Gallery said the touch screen was a bad idea that would cause major problems, TechCrunch criticized the glass screens and virtual keyboard and The Guardian proclaimed it would “struggle to break into the mainstream”.
But the early adopters still lined up to buy the iPhone and, soon enough, there was a groundswell of admiration for it, which helped craft a new industry and re-route the business plans of many competitors.
Being an early adopter business
Of course, being an early adopter in business carries a great deal more risk than being an early adopter consumer, but it also carries the potential for great reward.
As Information Age points out, early adopter businesses are those bold enough to try out new technology and new software and go where no company has gone before – and hopefully, discover a new market along the way.
Avoiding the laggard penalty
The other key factor underpinning the move to being an early adopter is that it ensures you eliminate the issues facing the digital laggards of the business world.
According to a study by professional services firm Cognizant, a ‘wait and see’ approach with digital technologies will have a detrimental financial impact in the coming years.
Researchers called this ‘The Laggard Penalty’ – the difference in both cost and revenue performance due to a lack of technology adoption.
“In the financial services industry, for instance, digital laggards were found to have an average total economic impact of about 3.1 percent of all costs and revenue. In comparison, organisations already in the digital transformation race have an impact of about 7.4 percent. This means digital organisations have a 139 percent advantage over laggards when it comes to digital.”