BIM adoption cycle

By Will Ikerd
September 23, 2009

Classical Technology Adoption Life Cycle model: a trend developed from research in the 1950's was well documented by a Business Week best seller of the mid-90s titled “Inside the Tornado” by Geoffrey Moore. This book on technology adoption in businesses foretold much of both the boom and bust of and it held true across many industries in the area of computer technology.

If history holds true, the transformation of the glass industry to Building Information Modeling is not linear and will take a rather dramatic acceleration over the next couple of years. The “Technology Adoption Lifecycle” is a business model that describes the adoption of an innovation in industries according to the demographic and psychological characteristics of five defined adopter groups.

This technology adoption curve can be adapted to the glass curtain wall industry and BIM to form the classical "bell curve." The model identifies the first group to implement a new technology as the “Innovators," followed by "Early adopters" and then the "Early majority" and "Late majority” with the last group to adopt being the "Resistance/laggards." The model also identifies “The chasm” where many glass façade firms will take the wrong directions in their BIM implementation and marketing. From trends in other parts of the building industry, I believe that the façade industry will be in the "Late majority" of adoption by 2015.

The adoption curve leads glass façade company owners to answer five crucial questions: Where am I on the adoption curve? Where is my staff? Where is "the chasm" in BIM implementation for my firm? Where are my clients? And, where is my competition? No matter where they are on the curve, these articles [in Glass Magazine] will seek to aid companies considering BIM through discussions with firms on the front line of implementation.

The author is director of the Integrated Project Delivery department at Raymond L. Goodson Jr. Inc. The IPD department specializes in BIM consulting on engineered building systems. Ikerd can be reached at