Nesta has published research into Britain’s attitudes on innovation and technological change, categorising respondents of its quiz into five personas.
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The Innovation Population quiz revealed the differences in attitudes between men and women and affluent and less affluent people.
One in five were categorised as “Futurists”, who liked change, new gadgets and products for their own sake. This small group was identified as being more likely to be affluent.
A larger group was the “Realists” who said they see the value in new ways of doing things, however they are concerned with the change of pace. Concerns included the increased speed of consumerism and technology making people antisocial. The group strongly supported innovation where it promotes better health, wellbeing or quality of life.
The quiz revealed that one in six people, mostly young women on lower incomes, felt innovation offered them little benefits but only new threats.
The research categorised the respondents into the following areas:
Innovation Futurists: This group are engaged in the innovation debate and see the benefits of change in all aspects of life. They take a long-view on their own lives and the wider world and tend to view controversial innovations such as nuclear or GM foods more favourably than others. This group makes up 19% of the UK population, are typically male, and affluent.
Innovation Romantics: This group view new gadgets and technology as exciting and interesting but tend not to engage with innovation in the long term. They place great value and tend to approve of most innovation they come into contact with or hear about. However they aren’t long-term planners and aren’t concerned about the future. 12% of population, typically older and typically less affluent.
Innovation Creatives: Are typically younger than average, and display high levels of creativity and have a social perspective on life. They are curious and interested in new ideas especially those that demonstrate creativity and solve practical problems, but don’t see innovation as a single concept. This group are the least cautious and often recommend new products to their peers. Make up 19% of the population and has broadly equal ratio male to female.
Innovation Realists: Appreciate innovation but aren’t excited about it per se placing greater importance on ethics and rights than new ideas. They see the need to keep pace with change and see value of change in areas like health, transport and education. Their most pressing concerns are on the impact of technology on society: privacy, desocialisation and the perception that lifestyles are becoming increasingly disposable. Our biggest group at 34% of the population, more likely to be female, and typically affluent.
Innovation Sceptics: Are concerned about the pace of change in society. They are cautious and practical, placing low value on new ideas until they are confident they have a practical value.They often feel a sense of powerlessness and a feeling of being left behind, worrying about the impacts of change on job security and how society adapts to change overall. This group makes up 16% of the population, are typically female, young and less affluent.