Types of Technology Adopters and How to Train Them

November 10 2021

People are always more comfortable with technology when they understand how to use it. Throughout my career in training users of technology, I’ve made it my goal to help people bridge the gap between simply putting up with technology, and enjoying technology. For some users, this transition comes easily and without hesitation, for others, it can be a steeper learning curve. 

At Greenphire, my role is to help users become familiar with how our products streamline the clinical trial payment processes, what the various systems look like hands-on, and why they become such a benefit for sponsors, CROs, sites, and participants. While adopting a new program, process, or system may be exciting to some, it can be intimidating and even frustrating to others, even if they understand the benefits. As a trainer, it’s important for me to recognize the type of users I’m working with, and tailor the training delivery to their understanding. 

I’ve observed a wide variety of reactions to learning something new, but new users will generally fall into one of five categories. If you or your team are looking to adopt a new program, it can help to understand which category best describes your willingness, as well as the members of your team. Let’s start with the groups that are most likely to adopt well:  

Innovators: 

The first category of adopters are the innovators. This group is most likely to be the first users to jump into a new system, and typically see it as the central interest and focus in their company. As the earliest adopters, they will likely be the biggest influence on the improvements, updates, and future of technology. They believe that adopting technology will keep them one step ahead of the competition, and will make them an attractive partnership for other businesses. An example of this would be a sponsor study team that quickly becomes experts of a program in order to provide the most streamlined experience for their site coordinators. They know that if they impress their sites, they know that those sites will opt into their trials in the future. 

Visionaries:

The largest portion of early adopters are the visionaries. They see the value of technology and are not afraid of the risk. While they don’t see their adoption as a contribution to advancing the technology of their field, they often have the biggest influence on the mass market. Their decisions are well-considered, and they ultimately believe that the benefits of adopting a new program will outweigh any initial learning curve or growing pains. In my training sessions, these are the sponsor users who have seen the benefit of innovative technologies in the past and are confident that the time invested in learning a new process will be well spent. 

It is always a pleasure to host a training for both of these groups, as their goal is to make the most out of their time and investment. I often recognize that sponsor users have a lot riding on-site adoption, and I see it as my personal mission to equip them with as much knowledge and confidence as possible. 

Let’s move to the groups that may face an uphill battle to adopt, and explore why they may be hesitant to opt in to a new process.

Pragmatists:

Typically pragmatists are most concerned with a fear of loss. They are worried that their investment of time, money, or effort will not return an equal or greater value. In my experience, the best way to help this group adopt something new is to partner them with someone who has already made the investments and is excited to share the benefits. Sometimes, seeing is believing, and nothing I can teach will help them understand the advantages better than a well-established reference. 

Conservatives:

The biggest hurdle for this group is a fear of change. They are used to one system and prefer not to change. With this group, I have found that the best assistance that I can provide is a reliable lifeline to support at every step of the process. 

Skeptics:

This group has not adopted a system out of a fear of the process being too confusing, complicated, difficult to learn. While no amount of training, support, or reference will convince this group to adopt, I have often found that the most honest criticism and feedback come from this group, and my ability to develop as a trainer comes from gaining every perspective. 

Crossing the Chasm in Technology Adoption Life Cycle EXPLAINED | B2U

 

Hosting a training session for these groups can be a challenge because their goal is to spot any potential barriers, and weigh them against the advantages of using a new system.  

It takes a bit of bravery and confidence to take the first steps. So what do we do, as trainers, to help those who are hesitant? We’ve asked ourselves, what steps can we take to reduce the fears, what can we do to support the process. 

Provide a partnership: with project managers, The journey doesn’t end at the purchase of a service, the journey begins, and the Greenphire team is collaborating at every step of the process.

Provide support: with the site success team, The need for support is a guarantee. It’s not about whether you will need to reach out for additional support, it’s about when you will reach out, and how often. Anywhere from questions, quick changes, troubleshooting, and solutions. 

Provide training: My contribution to this journey is providing training. I have always enjoyed translating complex, technical concepts into approachable, accessible features. While every attendee joining my training sessions has a different experience level and background, the universal trait of every user is their ability to learn. 

As long as an attendee has a willingness to learn, I have seen that no application is too difficult to learn. 

Questions or want to request a training? Head to greenphire.com/client-experience for more information. 

 

Tim Dorsey
Team Lead, Product Training
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