We know technology is changing our lives.  What is astonishing to me is the speed of adoption.  The second graph in the below article shows just how fast this is happening with new technology—The lines are almost straight up.  Here is why:

  • Today’s consumers want immediate impact in their daily lives.
  • With cell phones and social media, instant communication has allowed products to be implemented at a rapid pace. These days a fashion blogger can post about a jacket, and it will sell out in minutes just from their followers.
  • Modern technology needs less infrastructure, allowing ideas and new technology to spread faster as well.

What does that mean for office space?  Here are my thoughts:
1.  Our processes and systems have to be designed with future technology in mind.  We need our budget to change as tech changes.  Technology considerations is a growing budget line item (We have added at least 3 processes in the past 24 months for just this takeaway).

2.  Flexible office space design is more than just collaborative today—it will help you change as your business changes.  Force your designer to pose the question, plan and pick the most flexible. The same goes for furniture. Make sure your office furniture is designed to help you grow. Email Michelle Heeb at Forward Tilt for more on this. 

3.  Technology is here to stay AND is increasing faster and faster.  Here is my personal thought:  I want to make sure all my apps are updated.  If there are two or three versions since my last update, I will buy a new product, or install the new version making sure I am not too far behind the curve.  
If you have any additional thoughts, I would love to hear them.


The Rising Speed of Technological Adoption

By Jeff Desjardins

Feb 14, 2018

Technological progress is not the only thing rising at an exponential rate.

The rate at which newly commercialized technologies get adopted by consumers is also getting faster, too.
In the modern world, through increased connectivity, instant communication, and established infrastructure systems, new ideas and products can spread at speeds never seen before – and this enables a new product to get in the hands of consumers in the blink of an eye.

Visualizing Technological Adoption

Today’s dynamic chart comes to us from Our World in Data, and it allows you to compare the adoption rates of new technologies over the period of more than a century.
In addition to the technologies you’ll find embedded on the initial chart above, you can also use the “Add technology” tab of the chart (bottom left) to list up to 40 tech data series on the chart in total. This allows you to gauge adoption rates for everything from color televisions to washing machines, while giving you an idea of the trajectory of many common technologies today.

A Blast From the Past

To get the full impact of the chart, it’s worth removing more modern technologies like smartphones, social media, tablets, cellular phones, and the internet from the list.

Here’s a look at adoption rates for the household appliances and products today that we would consider pretty essential, over a period of more than 120 years:

Click here to use the dynamic chart.
The telephone was invented in 1876, but it wasn’t until a century later that landlines reached a saturation point in households.

For this to happen, massive amounts of infrastructure had to be built and network effects also needed to accumulate to make the product worthwhile for consumers. Further, the telephone suffered from the “last-mile problem”, in which the logistics get tougher and more expensive as end-users get hooked up to a network.

As a result, it wasn’t until the 1960s that 80% of U.S. households had landlines in them.

New Adoption Speeds

Now, here’s a chart with many older technologies removed – keep in mind that the x axis has changed to a much shorter timespan (~65 years):

Microwaves, cell phones, smartphones, social media, tablets, and other inventions from the modern era all show fast-rising adoption rates. Standing out most on the chart is the tablet computer, which went from nearly 0% to 50% adoption in five years or so.

Why do newer technologies get adopted so quickly? It seems partly because modern tech needs less infrastructure in contrast with the water pipes, cable lines, electricity grids, and telephone wires that had to be installed throughout the 20th century.

However, it also says something else about today’s consumers – which is that they are connected, fast-acting, and not afraid to adopt the new technologies that can quickly impact their lives for the better.

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