Recently, I had a chance to take in an online presentation from Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. The topic was “Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle for 2013.” The hype cycle model as well as this year’s predictions provide valuable insight to business processes.
If you’re not familiar with the term “hype cycle,” just think back to your Business 101 classes and conjure up an image of the S-shaped sigmoid life cycle curve. Jackie Fenn and Hung Le Hong, Research VPs for Gartner identified where emerging technologies reside along the life cycle curve on a path to commercialization and profitability. The hype cycle helps you answer such questions as:
Here’s a look at the hype cycle model showing the rise and fall of expectations that emerging technologies typically experience as they progress through time.
Innovative and emerging technologies receive a great deal of attention when they are first revealed and the mass media hype begins. Initial press coverage generates exposure, interest and inflated expectations.
In the second stage, when the product or service reaches the peak of inflated expectations—be it predictive analytics, 3D scanners, or vehicles that drive themselves—it is on the cover of news magazines, referenced on television news, Tweeted, blogged about, and joked about by late-night comedians.
Inevitably, what happens when this new technology can’t quite meet the hype, whether due to costs, scarce resources, or other challenges? You probably know the cycle well – next comes the trough of disillusionment. These can be the dark days in the labs and among the sales force promoting the new technology and the length of time that products languish in this stage can vary immensely.
When the technology is finally ready for broad implementation, it has reached the slope of enlightenment, which is followed by the plateau of productivity. It is important to note that technological developments progress through this process at various speeds, from less than one year to more than ten years.
Here is Gartner’s assessment of the emerging technologies positioning on the hype cycle for 2013.
As you can see there are nearly 20 new technologies with expectations that are rising. I just wanted to point out that at this stage, when the news services are brimming with stories, a good information professional can help you sift through the noise, so you can bettter understand the underlying fundamentals.
Take a minute to digest the breadth of the technologies that are emerging. One theme that connects the technologies together is humans augmented by smart machines. Here are some quick examples:
So the next time you see the “next big thing” showing up in the news channel, you might want to refer back to this graph to better understand what the fuss is all about.
If you’d like more in-depth tools or to listen to the Gartner presentation, you can find it here.
Earlier this week I attended a presentation by Roger Martin, the author of The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. There is a great article about the book in Businessweek as it was one of their top recommentations for 2009.
The event was held at the new, and very cosmopolitan Ziba Design building on Ninth and Northrop in Portland. The crowd was large, hip, and enthusiastic.
As his thesis, Martin poses this question: “Why aren’t companies more innovative, especially since innovation is such a competitive advantage?” He investigated the obvious answers–that companies like what they already have or that they don’t have the resources–and he found they were not true. Companies really do want to be innovative.
Martin then outlined three ways that people think. The first is analytical thinking which looks at data from the past to predict the future. Its goal is a reliable outcome, but the limitation is that when you are looking to innovate you cannot use inductive or deductive reasoning to prove something new. In fact, Martin goes so far as to say “prove it” is the enemy of innovation.
Another way that people think is intuitive thinking, which has the goal of creating “what might be.” Its purpose is to know without explicit reasoning. This method of thinking has 100% validity, he said, because it lacks parameters.
The combination of both approaches is called abductive thinking, and its purpose is to integrate the past and future, and to combine reliability and validity. The intersection of analytical and intuitive thinking is where innovation occurs.
He argued that corporate life is dominated by analytical thinking, and that it has been pushed so far that it is counterproductive. He gave suggestions for intuitive thinkers to understand and empathize with analytical thinkers. He also challenged analytical thinkers to share reasoning and data, but not conclusions with intuitive thinkers.
If you change structure and process, then culture shifts occur. Cultural shifts lead to innovation.
As SLA looks to become Future Ready and posits “what might be,” we need use analytical and intuitive thinking to engender new processes and structures to support our members.
What’s your dominant way of thinking? Analytical, intuitive or abductive?