Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

January 27th, 2010 by hoha Leave a reply »

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood… Though Fred Rogers had a huge impact on the world I wanted to share a paraphrased story from the life of Everett Rogers (Mr. Rogers’ lesser known 2nd cousin-not really). There once was a young grad student whose’ first job out of school was working for the US Department of Agriculture and charged with the task of getting farmers to use some new techniques and hybrid corn seed that provide them with a better and more resilient crop yield. He was excited for such an opportunity. He got to deliver good news surely he would be thought of as a hero after all he had the answer to all their problems. So he started his trek across the Midwest but found no one would even talk to him.
He finally found someone to listen. He was different and a little more open minded. He was a college graduate and had decided to buy a farm and try his hand at farming. He listened and worked with student and lo and behold success. As promised this farmer had a banner year and far surpassed his peers.
The grad student felt he turned the corner and now the other farmers would come flocking to learn how he did it. He had proved that it had worked. So he set out to offer his services to those who had turned him down previously. He met the same rejection and then shared the data that showed these methods had produced great success. Skeptical they would ask who and when he revealed the pioneer’s name most of the guys chuckled and said “You mean the guy with the Cadillac?” As they finished having a good laugh they closed the door leaving the grad student dumbfounded.
Even though he had hard, glaring evidence of a better way it was quickly brushed aside because the source wasn’t seen as credible in the farmers’ social circles. Mr. Rogers went on to craft his Diffusions of Innovation’s Theory that gets used in marketing classes and business tools around the world.
Every time you launch a new product or service you need to be aware that what you are really doing is asking people change the way they interact and view the world. Doing so requires multiple methods of influence so that there is both a personal benefit and a social acceptance for those that use the product or service.

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