Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu
The process of spread of a given idea, technique, method or practice, over time, via specifiable channels, through a social structure like a school, a neighborhood, a factory or a tribe is called diffusion (Katz et al, 1963). An innovation is a new idea, method or technique. Innovations usually bring changes to the social systems into which they are introduced.
This study considers the recycling of waste materials into art works as an innovation in our social setting. One may consider this statement a bit incongruous with the reality of today's world. This is in view of the fact that several nations of the world (advanced, developing and underdeveloped), have for many years been recycling the waste generated from their environments. In our cities however, the management of waste is a huge health, social and financial challenge. This explains why the writer considers any move towards waste management, especially converting waste to art and by implication, waste to wealth, as an innovation.
Diffusion scholars have enunciated different approaches to the diffusion of innovations. Katz et al (op.cit.) recorded that for a given new idea to diffuse into a given social system, five stages are involved. The stages are awareness stage, interest stage, evaluation stage, trial stage and adoption stage.
During the awareness stage, the person involved becomes aware of the new
idea or technique. He sees the idea at work either by practicing it personally or observing its practice by others. From awareness, depending on what happened, interest comes. The individual may have been moved to the point of wanting to obtain more information about the new idea. This interest may lead him into digging out facts that would lead him into the stage of evaluation.