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Innovation Adoption – What’s Slowing You Down?

24 September 2021
Written by Luca Corradi

Technology all around us continues to advance from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to self-driving cars and wearable technologies such as smartwatches and glasses. The energy industry is no different. Significant innovations have been made in the sector, with even more on the horizon as we rapidly transition from hydrocarbon to clean energy. Technology provides countless benefits including improved efficiency, reduced emissions, and enabling the transition to net zero.

It’s all very well developing fantastic innovations that can accelerate our journey to net zero, but why are companies not fighting over each other to be the first to adopt these revolutionary technologies?

Trepidation around the adoption of new technology is to be expected. Early adopters are visionaries but not everyone likes to take the risk or are evangelical about new technology early on. It’s not a new challenge, in 1962 Everett Rogers, a professor of communication studies, popularised the theory in his book Diffusion of Innovations, which seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread.

Interestingly, the adoption of new technology is often slowed down not by the abilities of the technology but by other factors, less tangible and less obvious, psychological factors. An organisation’s culture plays a major role in how technology is adopted through attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours.

Together with the Industrial Psychology researchers at Robert Gordon University, we have investigated the relationship between the psychological factors in the industry and the rate of adoption of innovative technology. We conducted a pilot project with 12 Oil and Gas companies, all operating in the North Sea, to see how they judge their organisational culture when it comes to technology innovation adoption.

These activities have produced interesting insights into what makes an effective technology adoption oriented organisational culture, including collaboration, leadership, communication, and reward. The full results of the study can be found in our Industry Innovation Adoption Culture Benchmarking Survey. The report indicates the problems, opportunities, and directions to improve organisational culture to make technology adoption faster and easier. 

Help your organisation become better and faster at adopting innovative technology. Get involved in the next phase of this project.

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