Diffusion of Innovations:
A Primer for Information Quality Change Leaders
Joy L. Medved and C. Lwanga Yonke
In most organizations, introducing and growing an information quality (IQ) program are notoriously difficult endeavors. At every step it seems, obstacles are raised and strong forces emerge to resist the changes proposed by the IQ leaders. Not surprisingly these leaders often wonder how to “sell” information quality to executives and to managers.
The list of changes IQ leaders seek to introduce in their organization is long. It often starts with: IQ metrics and scorecard, IQ Policy, data profiling, information product management, and extends to managing data as an asset, IQ-friendly data migration and system development methodologies, IQ training, etc. Though these IQ practices are already widely adopted and used in many other companies, within the specific organization where they are being introduced, they must be treated as innovations since they are brand new to that specific context. As with most changes, IQ innovations challenge the status quo, require a new way of thinking and mandate a new set of behaviors.
Changing people’s perceptions and behaviors is not easy. The good news is that help is available not only in the form of well-established change management best practices, but also in the extensive knowledge developed about the change adoption process. The classic reference in this domain is the book, Diffusion of Innovations, by Everett Rogers. In Implementing Diversity], Marilyn Loden adapts Rogers’ concepts to her own work focusing on introducing Diversity in organizations. This article summarizes some of the key change concepts from these two books and places these concepts in the context of information quality change.