Mastering the Hype Cycle

I have to include a note on the publication of Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino’s book. It’s got to be a significant publication.

I haven’t had it in my hands yet, so this isn’t a review. I’m just going to point you to SageCircle. What you should do also, if it’s in your line, is subscribe to the Gartner blog (see my post the other day: you don’t have to be a Gartner subscriber). Jackie has posted a string of interesting examples of hype-like diagrams in many other areas.

Let me remind you, though, what the Hype Cycle is, and what it’s not. What it measures is the exposure of an idea in the public (or professional-public) perception. Column-inches, primarily. In the language of Six Sigma, it’s a surrogate measure for potential value. The observation is that the level of discussion of a new technology peaks (over-valued), then troughs (under-valued), then settles down. This reflects initial discovery; exploration of potential; identification of problems resulting from wider exposure; and, finally, a settled and recognised position in the corporate armoury – if, of course, it gets that far.

But the Hype Cycle doesn’t, of itself, tell you whether or when to invest in a technology.

If you think there’s significant competitive advantage, then invest early, while the technology is new. But as a tactical investment: skills will be scarce and expensive, and the risks of technical failure high. Or, invest in the trough when you begin to see the shape of the long term market, when vendors may be discounting and skills, perhaps, may more readily available. Or, don’t buy at all if it doesn’t do what you want! And you still have to find a vendor (Hype Cycles cover technologies, not the competitive marketplace) and, when it’s grown long in the tooth, let it give way to something newer.

The Hype Cycle – and Forrester’s much newer equivalent, TechRadar – are valuable contributors to your emerging technology assessment work. Gartner’s work in this area defines the framework and the terminology; it’s recognised and very well respected. I look forward to getting my hands on the book!


• Mastering the Hype Cycle – Highly recommended for different reasons for different audiences SageCircle, 7 Oct 2008
• Mastering the Hype Cycle (Gartner blog by Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino)
• Which is the right Gartner blog for you? ITasITis, 17 Sep 2008
• Forrester get TechRadar on the road ITasITis, 25 Apr 2008

2 responses to “Mastering the Hype Cycle

  1. Thanks very much for mentioning us. The book explores the Hype Cycle in more depth than we have ever done before. We focus on the key decision points and how to use it to guide you. However you are absolutely right, it does make the choice for you. We explain that it helps you compare innovations for possible adoption and consider appropriate timing.
    You are also broadly correct about the Y axis. In this work we have moved that on one step. The label is now ‘expectations’ (previously it was ‘visibility’). What the Hype Cycle tracks, is people’s collective view of the future expected value of the innovation. News press conversation is one symptomatic indicator.

  2. Pingback: Financial hype cycle … « ITasITis

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