Increasing the adoption of new solutions.

August 18, 2022

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If the value of a new solution doesn’t justify the needed behavior change, adoption will be difficult. This idea rings true for transformations, innovations, and even skill building initiatives.

However, the thing about value and behavior is that they are subjective concepts. If we want to change we will, if we think something has value, then it has.

Oftentimes, we can’t imagine the value of something and underestimate it. Or we tend to overestimate the change needed to adopt something new. Our perceptions define which solutions we end up using, and which we don’t.

There are 4 different types of innovations based on the perceived value they provide and the behavior change they require.

  1. The Sisyphus: This solution provides low perceived value, but people assume it requires significant change from the organization, employee, or customer to use it. For example: Solutions to help save for retirement or preventive health apps.
  1. The quick fix: A solution or change that provides low perceived value, but it is also thought of as easily adopted. For example: digital appointments in hospitals. The value for the hospital and customer is limited, and it doesn’t require a drastic change of behavior.
  1. The long haul: Solutions that are considered high value, yet require a lot of change to adopt. This is what transformations are made out of. For example: the roll-out of a CRM tool throughout a sales organization.
  1. The Grand Slam: Solutions with high perceived value, and are thought to be easily integrated or used. A good example of this is Silo, a GDPR complaint messaging app that provides significant value to HCPs and patients alike, and performs the same way that WhatsApp does. So It created a communication channel in a manner that is understood and usable by many people.

What we also see is that there are 3 types of bands, areas where perceived value and change create different contexts for the adoption of new solutions.

  1. Resistance band: Here the organizational context will actively resist. The value of the new solution is perceived as too low to mandate the change. Here organizations will need to fundamentally change the mindset, or prove that the platform is burning so intensely, the change is needed, or the organization will go up in flames. But even then, a lot of resistance will remain.
  1. Negotiation band: Here people will think of the change to be on par with the value. That change can be large, but the added value will be subsequently large as well. However, the negotiation on how the adoption will happen can take time and might not be straightforward, as with anything new or transformative.
  1. Acceptance band: the Goldilocks zone. High perceived value, and thought of as easily adopted. This is the kind of organizational context you want to create for new solutions, processes, structures, or otherwise.

The goal is to move solutions from where they’re considered low value, high effort to a space where either negotiation or acceptance is possible. Our experiences have shown that some of the best ways to do this is understanding and involvement. Below are 4 ways to reduce perceived change requirement, and increase perceived value.

  1. Understand the people: Proposing a solution that doesn’t match problems, or opportunities, automatically diminishes perceived value and increases adoption hurdles. Before suggesting a solution, a good understanding of the actors and their requirements is crucial.
  2. Understand the context, structure, and processes: Secondly, to reduce perceive behavior change, we need to grasp how the solution fits into the current organizational context. This means having a clear idea of the structure and processes that will have to change. (The real processes, not those happy flows we might have documented)
  3. Co-create the solution: One sure way to reduce resistance to change is to co-create the solution, or the requirements the solution has to meet. This involvement is crucial not just to define the solution, but to introduce the change gradually.
  4. Prove the value: On the other hand, we can increase the perceived value. This means that organizations can launch experiments to see how a new solution would fare in comparison to the existing one. Ideally, these experiments also yield data that can be used to clearly define the value in a quantifiable way.

When moving from one band to another, empathy is key to understand the perceptions people hold about value and change. And the only way to empathize with somebody is to walk a couple of miles in somebody’s shoes.

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