3 steps to increase user adoption and ROI: Introduction

Gus Increasing User Adoption

I learned a very important lesson related to user adoption from my dog. His name is Gus, and he was an 80-pound puppy.

This four-part series of posts focuses on user adoption and explores three steps under the umbrella of change management that will help to increase user adoption and achieve a greater Return on Investment (ROI) for your initiatives. It begins with a story about Gus. While he was new to our house, our cat was most certainly not.

Friday Increasing User Adoption

Meet Friday. She runs the place, and she certainly experienced a lot of change when Gus arrived. From Friday’s perspective, Gus was an intruder. From Gus’ perspective, Friday was a toy. The result? Chaos — one chase scene after another.

While all this was going on, I was using my addiction to technology to help motivate myself to exercise. What does that mean? It means I was buying cool gadgets to help get myself excited about working out — waterproof MP3 players, heart-rate monitors, GPS watches, you name it.

I had recently purchased a new GPS watch (my third) and had just come back home from a 5K run. I was going through my post-workout routine, which includes stretching (usually skipped if I’m being honest), eating the right mix of carbs and protein, and hydrating by drinking water — lots of water. The hydrating portion of the routine had gone particularly well, so I was off to the bathroom having left my running gear on the kitchen table.

Can you guess what I heard next?

[Hint: Think back to the relationship between my pets.]

Bark! Meow! CRASH, SPLASH … glug, glug, glug.

Gus had chased Friday into the kitchen where she had taken refuge on the table — knocking over my very-full water in the process, which soaked all of my stuff including my brand-new GPS watch. I was not happy.

Splash Increasing User Adoption

What does ANY of this have to do with user adoption?

The answer to that question is …

Tervis Tumbler Increasing User Adoption

The Tervis Tumbler®.

It’s drinkware, and I love mine for a number of reasons. One of the things I like most is that it doesn’t sweat, so it doesn’t leave that nasty wet ring under it when it’s sitting on my desk or nightstand.

Okay, so you might be asking, “What does a Tervis Tumbler have to do with user adoption?”

The answer to that question is …

The lid Increasing User AdoptionThe lid.

The smart people at Tervis created a wonderful lid that prevents water from spilling when a cat (or anything else for that matter) knocks it over.

The lid is awesome.


Let me explain the connection to user adoption. Someone (the Tervis people) solved the problem that I had just faced (the wet running gear including my new watch), but I had not taken advantage of that solution (the lid). That is a user adoption problem, and whether we are talking about lids or any other solution to any other problem, if the solution is not used (adopted), it will NOT provide the benefits it offers (no ‘SPLASH … glug, glug, glug’).

In formula view, it looks like this:

Problem + Solution ≠ Return on Investment
[The solution, by itself, does NOT result in a return on the investment you made to create that solution.]

Problem + Solution + User Adoption = Return on Investment
[The solution, coupled with solid user adoption, DOES result in a return on the investment you made to create that solution.]

With the huge investments in time and money we make in solving problems, increasing user adoption becomes a really important challenge to try to solve.

The remaining posts in this series explore three steps that together help to increase user adoption and achieve greater ROI.

3 steps to increase user adoption and ROI: Introduction (this post where my dog Gus teaches me a valuable lesson about user adoption)

3 steps to increase user adoption and ROI: #1 Use Simple Terms (using the problem-impact-solution-benefit approach)

3 steps to increase user adoption and ROI: #2 Know Your Stakeholders (the Power-Interest Matrix and the importance of knowing your stakeholders)

3 steps to increase user adoption and ROI: #3 (coming soon)


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  1. Keith Liggett says:

    Very relevant to the recurring struggles to capture benefits from new and replacement solutions.

  2. Wonderfully illustrated, John! As usual, you describe and address issues in an engaging manner. Look forward to the rest of the series of posts and this inspires me to get back to blogging!