Accelerating the Diffusion of Innovations Using Opinion Leaders
Theory on the diffusion of innovations has been used to study the spread of new ideas and practices for over 50 years in a wide variety of settings. Most studies have been retrospective, and most have neglected to collect information on interpersonal communication networks. In addition, few have attempted to use the lessons from diffusion research to accelerate the diffusion of innovations. This article outlines a method to accelerate the diffusion of innovations using opinion leaders. The authors present their optimal matching procedure and report on computer simulations that show how much faster diffusion occurs when initiated by opinion leaders. Limitations and extensions of the model are discussed.