This refers to the process where users effectively integrate a particular software or digital tool into their regular routines. It involves understanding the functionality of the software, learning how to use it, and eventually becoming proficient in its usage. For example, consider a team that starts using a new project management tool. The adoption process begins with the team members learning about the tool, understanding its features, and how to use them. Over time, they start using this tool regularly, and it becomes a part of their daily work routine. This is digital adoption.
On the other hand, digital adaptation refers to the process where users modify their behaviors, processes, beliefs or ways of thinking to accommodate the changes brought about by the software. It's not just about learning how to use the software, but also about changing the way they work or think to leverage the software effectively. Taking the same example, the team may have to change their work processes to fit the project management tool's structure. They might have to adapt their communication habits, project planning methods, or even their work schedule to fully utilize the tool's features. This is digital adaptation. Both adoption and adaptation involve learning and change. However, while adoption is more about acquiring new knowledge and skills, adaptation involves modifying existing behaviors and thought processes (behavioral and cognitive restructuring). In some scenarios, adoption may lead to adaptation. For instance, after adopting a new data analytics tool, a researcher might have to adapt their analytical approach to fit the tool's capabilities. In other cases, adaptation might drive adoption. E.g. a shift towards remote work (adaptation) might drive the adoption of video conferencing tools.
I tried to visualize it using a pyramid - however this is still in work.
Summary and reflection of adoption vs. adaption
So while both adoption and adaptation involve change and learning, they focus on different aspects of the interaction between users and software. Adoption is about learning to use the tool, while adaptation is about changing oneself to fit the tool. Also in SAP Projects we need to consider both.
According to Luis, adoption has a shorter lifespan, as in getting to know the tools in terms of features and capabilities. Starting from there it's about adaptation, about how we may need to shift our mental models, behaviours and habits to accommodate as best as we can to better ways of getting work done, collaborating, sharing, learning etc. If you apply the mantra that "Work is learning and learning is the work" (from Harold Jarche) adoption hasn't got many legs, because we can learn to adopt and adapt to new digital tools while in the job, therefore the focus on adaptation alone, while we learn how to use digital tool(s).
Luis even goes further. He thinks that you can't drive adoption. It's not a car, nor a bus, nor a bike or a baby. (Actually if you google adoption you get mostly baby pictures). We can accelerate and moderate the process by which people can adapt accordingly to technology. That "driving adoption" is a bit patronising, at best, and if you push me, I would say adoption is also falling under the same realm. Again, we don't adopt tech, we adapt to it.
For me, SAP projects - like if you go to the Cloud with SAP S/4HANA, should not just be viewed as IT projects - but as business transformation. Then you can leverage the real potential.
However then you also need to transform and adapt work processes, tasks, responsibilities and this impacts behaviors and the mindset. Only looking at digital adoption is thus too much focused on IT and technology and not on the transformation. Perhaps we better think of fostering acceptance and adaption.
Looking forward for your comments and contribution to the blogging challenge.