Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How do new ideas spread?

I've recently been studying how we change the way that we develop software. This links in with the broader question of how innovations spread. The best-known book on this is Geoffrey Moore's Crossing the Chasm, which explores the obstacles faced by high-tech innovation.

Crossing the Chasm is an influential and readable book, generous in its acknowledgements and full of good stories, but it has no bibliography. For sixteen years I've been looking for the book that introduced the technology life cycle. Moore refers to it but never names it.

I think I've found it in Diffusion of Innovations, by Everett M. Rogers. It's now in its fifth edition. Its examples are extensive and compelling, and it has an extensive bibliography. Best of all, it includes a checklist of the key attributes of innovations. Rogers calls them
  1. Relative advantage
  2. Compatibility
  3. Complexity
  4. Trialability and
  5. Observability
These perceptions largely determine the rate at which we adopt an innovation, so anyone in the business of change needs to study them carefully.

Diffusion of Innovations is a scholarly work, and needs more time to read than Crossing the Chasm. For me that time has been well-spent.

SPA2009 open for session proposals

SPA2009 is now accepting session proposals, and some have already arrived.

If you would like to present at this unique conference you'll find the call for proposals on the SPA2009 website.

If you want to attend the conference, consider proposing a session. As a session leader, you will
  1. have fun
  2. polish your communication skills
  3. improve your profile in the industry
  4. and get a substantial discount!
You'll be helped by a supportive shepherding process. SPA shepherds are experienced presenters and many of them have coming to the conference for years. The shepherds can help you develop a successful session that takes full advantage of SPA's interactive format.

The deadline for submissions is 6pm on Monday 15th September 2008.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

miniSPA2008 and cfp for Spa2009

I spent yesterday at miniSPA2008. MiniSPA is the free one-day taster for the annual Software Practice Advancement conference. Lots of new faces yesterday, as well as old friends. It looks as if we'll get lots of new session leaders for next year's conference, which is great.

Session leaders get a significant discount; for the next conference, one of them will pay nothing! Details on the SPA2009 "lead a session" page.

If you're new to leading conference sessions, a supportive shepherding process will help you to hone your skills. Quite a few big names on the conference circuit cut their teeth at SPA.

Whether you're an expert in the making or a hardened veteran, make sure you get your proposal in soon. Submissions open on Monday, and the deadline for submissions is 6pm on 15th September 2008.