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Friday, May 18, 2018

Social Networks and Innovations

An interesting view of how social networks influence elements of opinion.   In particular addressing the kinds of innovations.

How Social Networks Contribute to the Spread of Unproven Innovations

Wharton's Valentina Assenova discusses her research on social networks and the adoption of complex innovations.

There are some new products and services that are very obviously good  — a cure for a deadly disease, for example, or some other type of medical innovation. But other innovations have value that is more uncertain, such as an unproven technology. In her latest research paper, Wharton management professor Valentina Assenova examines the role of social networks, both online and offline, in the spread of these complex innovations. Her paper is titled, “Modeling the Diffusion of Complex Innovations as a Process of Opinion Formation Through Social Networks.” She joined Knowledge@Wharton to discuss her findings about which kinds of innovations spread more quickly than others in different networks, the role of influencers, and what that means for entrepreneurs.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: What was the inspiration for this research?

Valentina Assenova: The inspiration for this research was looking at the spread of microfinance. Microfinance is one of those innovations that is not obviously good or bad, and there is a lot of mixed evidence around whether or not it is actually beneficial for women, whether it improves welfare and so forth. But it was something that really got me intrigued about the role of public opinions and of social networks — in the sense of people who you talk to for advice, for help in making a decision — and how some of these complex innovations spread.    ... " 

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