Early adopters tend to be volunteers in the organization. While some may be assigned, most desire to be a part of the crowd that gets early access to the impacts of the change and have the greatest degree of impact on the final solution. Early access team members are often a diverse crowd who have a different set of backgrounds and priorities.
To engage early adopters, there are two key mechanisms that you can use. The first is novelty. What they’ll be working on is new, different, and limited. If they’re the kind of people who like new things – or distractions – you can hook them on the fact that they’ll be doing something different. Similarly, many early adopters love the idea that they can have access before everyone else.
Many early adopters for your change project are the same folks who will watch a movie on opening weekend or opening night. They’ll stand in line for the latest technical gadget or to be the first through the doors for the Black Friday sales.
Once they’re hooked into their role, regular reminders about their exclusive, novel access helps them to remain responsive.
The greatest expectation of early adopters is feedback – often, more feedback than you’re able to accommodate. Early adopters tend to know that they’re expected to provide feedback and will do that whenever they feel the channels are open to them.
One of the other things to expect from the early adopters is frustration. As a lot, they’re often frustrated. They want the status quo to change. They want technology to be magical and remove all their burdens. When it doesn’t, they’ll often be direct and candid about how the solution isn’t perfect and even how it may not fit their needs.
Early adopters are key, because the majority won’t move until they believe it’s safe. Early adopters are a tangible way of saying that it’s safe.