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Technology Diffusion: The ADOP2T Model
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
The ADOP2T Model
Initiating an ADOP2T Program
Reasons to Change
Barriers to Change
State and Regional Efforts
Key Contacts
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Accelerated Diffusion of Pollution Prevention Technologies (ADOP2T)
This article by Tim Lindsey of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC; formerly WMRC) desc...

ADOP2T for the Metal Finishing Industry
ISTC has developed a technical assistance program to improve adoption of pollution prevention techno...

ADOP2T Videos
At this web site you may download or watch several video clips related to the ISTC Accelerated Diffu...

Key Factors for Promoting Pollution Prevention Technology Adoption
This article by Tim Lindsey of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC; formerly WMRC), dis...

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, has developed a model for promoting the diffusion of pollution prevention technologies. This model, known as Accelerated Diffusion of Pollution Prevention Technologies, or ADOP2T, is founded on time-tested innovation diffusion principles that have been applied to innovations in industries as diverse as agriculture and communications. Research conducted on innovation diffusion relative to P2 technologies has confirmed that these principles apply to P2 as well (see "Key Factors for Promoting P2 Technology Adoption" by Tim Lindsey in the complete list of links for this hub). The ADOP2T model has been successfully field-tested by ISTC in Chicago's metal finishing sector since the spring of 1999. Click on the link to view a general process flow diagram describing how this model could be applied to a given sector. As shown, the model begins by working with various stakeholders, including government agencies, trade associations and consultants, to identify the best P2 practices for a particular sector based on its current practices and interests.

As stated previously, most decisions to adopt or reject an innovation are based on a subjective evaluation of the innovation grounded in input from peers who are perceived to be credible. For this reason, change agents involved in the P2 diffusion effort need to identify industry sector "opinion leaders" that the majority of individual businesses look to for innovation advice. Some of these opinion leaders can be recruited to serve as "mentors" to companies that have not yet adopted innovative P2 practices. Demonstration sites can be established at the mentor facilities. Technical assistance providers and other stakeholders can then bring individuals from companies that have not yet adopted the best practices to the mentor facilities to view demonstrations of the innovations.

Decades of research have shown that "innovation diffusion campaigns are more likely to be successful if change agents identify and mobilize opinion leaders." P2 diffusion campaigns that target opinion leaders have been undertaken by several states (see the "State and Regional Efforts" portion of this hub). This approach tends to expedite the overall diffusion process and reduce the number of clients that change agents need to work with to achieve widespread adoption of alternative practices and technologies that achieve P2. The primary drawback to focusing innovation campaigns on opinion leaders is that it may appear that change agents are providing assistance to organizations that do not appear to really need it. In other words, often the organizations that need the innovations the least tend to be the first ones to adopt. Conversely, the organizations that need the assistance the most commonly do not have the resources or the confidence to risk on change, but opinion leaders or the actions of larger entities can motivate them.

Some companies choose to implement incremental practices based solely on observations of these practices at the mentor facilities. However, demonstrations and pilot trials are generally needed in the case of practices that require more extensive process change and/or more sophisticated technology implementation. Brief (several hours to several days) demonstrations of technologies can help reduce the perceived complexity associated with new technologies and encourage potential adopters to investigate the technology further. However, to fully reduce the perceived complexity and resolve site-specific implementation issues, pilot trials (often lasting several weeks to several months) are frequently required. The pilot trials enable the adopters to resolve complexity and compatibility issues and determine if/how they can successfully implement the technology in their specific application. Uncertainty and risk are reduced during the pilot trials to a point where the adopters become comfortable with the anticipated performance, become familiar with how to operate the equipment involved, and proceed with implementation.

Change agents should focus on conducting pilot trials of innovative P2 practices at the facilities of potential adopters with technical and monetary support from the stakeholders. The demonstrations and pilot trials will enable potential adopters to reduce the uncertainty associated with the previously unfamiliar practices. These activities will also help resolve compatibility issues associated with the incorporation of the practices into adopters' existing operations and address the perceived technical complexity of the innovation.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Technology Diffusion Topic Hub™ was developed by:

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Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
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Hub Last Updated: 12/9/2010