The paper uses the diffusion of innovation model developed in the book Crossing the Chasm to show that coworking has reached the early majority phase. This roughly equivalent to saying coworking is beginning to enter the mainstream.
The key reason for this is the real estate industry and corporate America are starting to adopt coworking. Key quote:
We are approaching a world of work where building owners and property managers will have to, like today’s coworking spaces, present granular, modular, membership based office solutions directly to their corporate customers.
We, of course, agree with this assessment and have even recently written about this.
BTW, Crossing the Chasm first came out back in 1991 and was an immediate best seller. The framework is still used and even appears to be having a bit of a revival. It's been referenced in a number of recent meetings we've had with tech startups.
The "chasm" refers to the most difficult customer acquisition step in the life cycle of a technology product - moving from visionaries (early adopters) buying your product to pragmatists (early majority) buying.
Most technology products don't make it through this step, which is why it's called a chasm.
The reason the authors feel coworking has crossed the chasm is the growing demand for coworking by corporations. According to the paper, this is due to 3 key drivers:
- Radical reduction of real estate footprints (and costs) by corporations
- Radical improvement in the quality of workspaces for the spaces that remain
- Dramatic increases in choice and flexibility for knowledge workers
The paper also covers the evolution that has occurred in the coworking industry and how it has grown up. Key quote:
"AT FIRST, the growth of coworking was as much a social movement as it was a new way of working and using office space ...Today, as I discuss shortly, coworking has become a business, a subset of the real estate industry, where the relevant metric is revenue per square foot (RPSF)."
This shift is also extensively covered in Shareable's Look Out, Coworking. Here Comes Big Money. See the article's comments for a spirited discussion on this topic.