Technology hype cycle

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.

Bill Gates

Plotting Technology against Hype

Emerging technologies provide an opportunity for early adaptors to gain a head start over competitors. At the same time, earlier adopters face the risk of hidden complexities. A risk that could see their investment yield a null return on the original promise.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle is a framework which can be used to evaluate a technology’s maturity against the hype and, by inference, the risk of adoption.

The technology hype cycle helps company's plot the maturity of a technology against the hype and adoption risk.
Gartner’s Hype Cycle

The Hype Cycle plots a technologies path along 5 points:

1. Innovation initiation

Social media initiates a wave of excitement as influencers first discover the technology. Technology evanalists fixate on the potential of the innovation.

2. Crest of promoted expectations

Few numbers of large successful implementations are published. Companies evaluate the technology based on the excitement. They attempt to hedge risk as far as possible.

3. Pit of disillusionment

Social media attention declines. Few companies are able to boast grand successes inline with original forecasts.

4. Ascent of enlightenment

More practical functions are found for the technology. Growth in implementation numbers increase off the back of revised business models. As skill availability increases more companies tentatively adopt the technology. Total number of published use cases increase.

5. Plateau of productivity

Larger market adoption takes place. The larger market views the technology as stable.

Timing

Technology does provide an advantage when adopted earlier than competitors. To yield an effective return timing needs to be accurate. The hype cycle framework helps determine the best moment to select a technology within the mixed chorus of excitement and resentment.