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Daniele Buso | Unsplash

Are You an Innovator or a Laggard? Alberta’s Tech Adoption Showdown

From the fiercely innovative to the cautiously conservative, where Albertan's stand on new technologies like EVs and heat pumps is more about personality than facts

If you want to start an argument in Alberta, all you need to do is mention electric vehicles (EVs) or heat pumps, especially in winter when it’s cold outside. 

For the most part, you’ll get a polarized discussion, with one side lauding the benefits of the new technologies while the other argues that neither EVs nor heat pumps will work in Alberta’s cold climate.

Social media is full of heated debate on these technologies.

Interestingly, where you fall on the spectrum of adoption or rejection of the technology says more about your personality than about the actual facts in question.

So take a deep breath, put your arguments aside and see which category of adopter you fall into. 

When you adopt new technologies depends on your personality.

Embrace who you are. There is no wrong or right here.

Are you ready to adopt EV technology, or are you waiting? | Unsplash
Are you ready to adopt EV technology, or are you waiting? | Unsplash

Who Are You?

In 1962, a man named Everett Rogers wrote a very important book called “Diffusion of Innovations.” In this book, he talked about the different kinds of people who start using new technologies. He said there are five types: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

Innovators

Innovators are willing to adopt new products and technologies far ahead of the majority. They make up about just 2.5 percent of all people, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Innovators are open to taking risks and are enthusiastic about undergoing change, often spending more on new products than other customer groups. This group acts as key influencers in adopting new technologies and ideas. 

If you’re in this group, you already own an EV AND a heat pump!

Early Adopters

Early adopters are crucial to accepting new products within the market; they represent ten to fifteen percent of consumers. 

These individuals are often seen as opinion and thought leaders, playing a pivotal role in shaping the perception of innovative products through their active engagement and influence. 

Early adopters share their insights frequently through public platforms such as social media, product reviews, or blogs. 

Their focus on maintaining their reputation makes their endorsements particularly impactful, as their opinions are trusted by others making purchasing decisions. 

If you already own an EV or heat pump and talk about the pros and cons of the technology to friends and family and on social media, then you’re an early adopter. 

Early Majority

The early majority segment is a significant portion of the market, representing just over a third of the population. 

Unlike innovators or early adopters, the early majority’s interest lies not in the novelty or trendiness of products but in their practicality, utility and durability. 

This group typically waits for new products to gain credibility and reliability, often relying on reviews and recommendations from early adopters before making a purchase.

Price and risk are important considerations for the early majority, indicating a more cautious approach to buying than the earlier groups. 

However, they are willing to spend more on products that meet their practical needs. 

Once this group embraces a product or innovation, it usually achieves widespread adoption.

If you are ready to invest in an EV or a heat pump and are researching which models best suit your needs, then you are in the early majority group.

Late Majority

The late majority consists of consumers who are more hesitant and cautious about adopting innovative products; they also make up just over a third of the population. 

This group shares similarities with the early majority in that they carefully evaluate products before making a purchasing decision. 

However, their cautiousness is primarily driven by a desire to minimize risks, preferring to wait until products have been on the market long enough to have a proven track record of effectiveness.

Unlike the first three groups—innovators, early adopters, and the early majority—who may have more disposable income to spend on new products, the late majority is susceptible to price. 

This sensitivity is often justified as the cost of products tends to decrease over time after initial market introduction. 

For the late majority, the primary deciding factors are a product’s functionality and durability rather than early adopters’ influence or recommendations. 

If you’re more concerned with practicality and proven performance and prefer to wait until all the kinks of a new technology are overcome, then you are a member of this group.

Laggards

Laggards represent the final segment of consumers in the market adoption cycle, accounting for approximately 16 percent of people. 

This group is characterized by their cautious approach to purchasing new products, which strongly emphasizes price as the primary decision-making factor. 

Unlike earlier adopter categories, laggards prefer traditional products that have been available in the market for an extended period. 

Their adoption of innovative products typically occurs when they are left with no alternative but to choose newer technology, either due to the obsolescence of previous options or for convenience reasons.

They usually wait and only start using new and creative products when they have no other choice. This can happen when their old stuff stops working, or the new technology is just easier to use.

This group is likely to consist of individuals who are older, more conservative, and particularly price-conscious. 

If you have finally given up your push-button home phone in favour of a smartphone, you are likely a laggard.

ResearchGate
ResearchGate

Feel Better Now?

Rather than judge others for their early adoption or delayed acceptance of technology, we must accept people for who they are. 

There are pros and cons to being early or late to the game. 

It all depends.

Understanding who you are will help you understand when and why you’ll adopt a new technology.

The trend is clear: EVs and heat pumps will become commonplace in the future.

Just as smartphones took over the home phone, so will EVs take over from gas-powered cars, and heat pumps will take over from forced-air furnaces.

There is space for all approaches; judging others is not helpful. 

Understanding yourself is. 

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