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June 22, 2021 27 min

Previously we talked about innovation adoption and the importance of getting across the innovation adoption curve. Let’s shift our conversation to innovation adoption as a competitive advantage. There is a new category of innovation adoption that is on the rise. This category is known as the hyper-adoption of innovation. The category describes the propensity to adopt and adapt to innovation at a speed and skill unmatched. Adopters in this category are willing to change everything very quickly to be successful.

The best example of this is to look at the economies of countries that have become hyper-adopters. Here is some information and statistics on China from a Harvard Business Review article by Zak Dychtwald. In China, we have seen explosive growth in business and infrastructure. The country has a resource that no other country has: a vast population that has lived through an unprecedented amount of change. China’s innovation ecosystem of millions of hyper-adoptive consumers makes the country so globally competitive. The Chinese people know change is good and are willing to change when it is necessary for growth.

The Lived Experience and Hyper-Adoption

The “lived experience” has shaped China’s unique attitude towards adoption. Looking at lifetime per capita GDP, the U.S has grown roughly 2.7 times from 1990, while China’s has grown 32 times. In 1990, China’s GDP represented less than 2% of the global total, but by 2019 it represented nearly 19%.

From 2011-2013, China poured more concrete than the U.S had poured in the entire 20th century. In 1990, China’s rural population had one refrigerator per one hundred households. Today, that number is ninety-six per one hundred households. In 1990, China had 5.5 million cars on the road, and today they have 270 million. 3.4 million of these cars are electric, representing 47% of global electric cars.

In recent years, the Chinese have had to adapt to radical change more than any other country in the world. Because they constantly implement hyper-adoption, China is poised to take the lead in the innovation arms race.

How to Become a Hyper-Adopter of Innovation

Becoming a hyper-adopter of innovation means remaining open to trying new things and being willing to change yourself. This includes looking at things with fresh eyes. When teaching workshops, I often ask organizations if they are eager to change. Typically, individuals in the group will say they are fine but point out someone else they think needs to change. You need to evaluate yourself and take the necessary steps to adapt. If you want to create an unfair advantage, you need to be willing to change yourself and decide on your own.


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