Diffusion is the process by which the adoption of new technologies spreads over time throughout the members of a social system. Many science institutions target their extension efforts at adoption leaders in a population, and rely upon a trickle down of the technology to spread to the general population.
Diffusion is described as resulting from the effects of farmer characteristics, technology characteristics, farming systems, and communication networks available for diffusion.
The process of diffusion is enhanced by extension activities, and much can be done by scientists to improve the value of their technology to intended recipients. In order to do this, farmers should be involved during the development of technologies to identify the characteristics
most important to them and their fanning systems. New technologies should be evaluated for their effects upon the whole farm system and from farmer perceptions.
Sufficient information is needed by potential adopters for them to successfully implement new technology. The information they value most is provided by other farmers with scientific support for the essential principles they should apply.
Parminter TG, Parminter IA 1994. Making use of technology diffusion. Proceedings of the NZ Society of Animal Production 54:389-391.