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by Carlos Perez, Solidaridad 

A few years ago, a man became famous when someone shared a video of him dancing at a public concert. His spontaneous and unusual exhibition although original was not the only element to become popular on the web.

Analysis of this video provides some insights on how new technologies are adopted and is instructive for how we at EcoProMIS are working with farmers to develop our platform.

 

 

The Dance Grows

What at first seems to be a solo dance, a moment later prompted the participation of a second member. The second dancer’s role was not limited to emulating the pioneering dancer. On the contrary, we can see how number two receives instructions on how to perform the dance, while also providing feedback to the pioneer.

Further evidence of the new arrival’s genuine interest is how he invites others to join this spontaneous duo. Like the second, the third dancer follows the movements of the first dancer, while improvising according to the music and rhythm.

What began with an eccentric loner, in a moment becomes a choreography performed by three dancers. We see how the attention generated in the audience, which was initially low, begins to grow.

Soon, the group increases in size again, this time not just by one more dancer, but about five more, and in the blink of an eye, the group reaches at least a dozen. This sudden growth of the group of dancers triggers the arrival of new members and in less than a couple of minutes it grows even further.

Dance as Metaphor

This video, more than simply being an inspiring dance at a music festival, has been considered as an interesting reference about how a forerunner or pioneer (a particular product or technology) can trigger a crowd action.

Like dancer number two and three, we see that there are minority groups with a greater willing to test and use new products, such as EcoProMIS. These enthusiasts are ‘early adopters’. In addition to taking the risk of testing this new product, they also provide feedback on early stage development.

The evaluation of the user experience includes both the users’ perceptions as well as their practice patterns. The feedback process therefore goes beyond simply asking for ‘musical preferences’ to actively inviting users to join the ‘dance’.

 

The Technology Adoption Life Cycle. (www.business-to-you.com)

 

The image above is useful to take the dance metaphor further. It adds the complexity that between the Early Market and the Mainstream Market, there is an open space, called ‘The Chasm’. This is the gap that needs to be traversed before a new product reaches large scale collective adoption.

We saw in the video that as the first three guys are dancing there is a gap before additional members join the group. Once the dancing group crossed the chasm, the new members (the ‘pragmatists’ and ‘conservatives’) arrived en masse.

If a small initial group is willing to dance, to test the product and to provide feedback,  it suggests that the chasm will be crossed and the product can work with other consumers, becoming part of the mainstream market.

Dancing with EcoProMIS

As has been mentioned before on this blog, the EcoProMIS project is working on cutting-edge technology with crop models, an advanced digital platform and data collection with satellites and drones. Like the first dancer in the video, our work is pioneering, bold and at times eccentric!

It is essential for our project to invite others into a ‘dance’. That is why, in parallel to our product development, EcoProMIS is prioritising activities to test our services.

What this means is that throughout the five year project we are inviting Colombian farmers to participate via surveys and meetings. For example, in the coming months we are planning multiple workshops, where each farmer can access the early versions of our mobile apps and knowledge services. These ‘early adopters’, like dancer two and three, will take that initial risk of joining in, while also providing critical early feedback.

This ‘dance’ of feedback and testing will ensure we can better tailor the EcoProMIS platform, apps, and knowledge services. By doing this, we are able to identify the best options and to contribute to our larger goal of improving sustainability and productivity with Colombian oil palm and rice growers.