As I just mentioned on the DDD board, I discovered the Gartner Hype Cycle via a Rule Breaker Podcast by David. The podcast made me first think of 3D printing, but it is of interest to all technology investors.
The 5 phases are defined here (very short article)
2015 Hype Cycle graph is here
Internet of Things is peaking.
Autonomous field vehicles have left the trough of disillusionment and are moving up the slope of enlightenment as is enterprise 3D printing.
Consumer 3D printing is on the fast slope down at the moment.
Biochips are still moving up the “Innovation Trigger”.
Sneakers and Banks are not on the list
The Hype Cycle becomes even more interesting when you combine it with the Technology Adoption Life Cycle (TALC)
Being a hopeless empiricist, I cannot bring myself to believe in the existence of the Hype Cycle. It seems to describe some things on an intuitive level (3DP, IoT), but other things poorly (user graphical interface, mp3 players, fitness apps, Viagra). Ultimately, how do we measure “visibility” (on the Y axis) in a way that is objective, and is visibility a good measure of hype?
I like the Technology Adoption Life Cycle a lot, as it is based on a real underlying statistical distribution (Hype Cycle is not), and it can be measured reliably.
If the Hype Cycle exists and can be likened to a technology, we are at the peak of inflated expectations. I want a new model.
The Gartner Hype Cycle is necessarily subjective with all the issues which that implies. Indeed, if one looks at it year to year, while some things progress in the expected way, some things seem to appear and disappear.
But, I don’t think that makes it any less valid as a snapshot of the current state of various technologies and one from which important lessons can be gained. With the benefit of hindsight, for example, it is clear that the initial rush of enthusiasm over 3DP was more hype than immediate, substantive, practical applications and that consumer 3DP was way behind industrial or, as they call it, enterprise 3DP in finding real adoption. There was some of that expressed at the time, but clearly a sharper view would have caused one to hold 3DP lightly while the hype was building and then park until real adoptions came along, as they are for some companies now.
In a similar sense, one needs this same kind of awareness about the TALC. There is nothing guaranteed about a cool technology successfully crossing the chasm … otherwise, it wouldn’t be called a chasm. Moreover, there is nothing guaranteed about shooting up the tornado just because one small market has been established in the bowling alley. Again, that’s the point of the imagery, that it is not guaranteed and there is work to do to make it happen. Worth remembering too that a company needs a substantial shift in tactics moving from the bowling alley to the tornado and failure to make that shift can mean faltering, despite the seeming promise.
With the benefit of hindsight, for example, it is clear that the initial rush of enthusiasm over 3DP was more hype than immediate, substantive, practical applications and that consumer 3DP was way behind industrial or, as they call it, enterprise 3DP in finding real adoption.
In the podcast David G pointed out that hype is not always a negative thing, it can just mean the most visible and talked about. He submits that LeBron James is the most “hyped” basketball player today, but that doesn’t mean he is also not the best.