Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2011: Idea Management Enlightenment

by Hutch Carpenter

Last year, Gartner released its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2010. Idea Management, included in the analysis, was placed at the latter part of the Trough of Disillusionment. Tough name, although not as dire as it sounds. Rather, a transitional stage in the market evolution of a technology.

Still, that part of the hype cycle is off-putting, isn’t it?

Well, it’s been a year, and Gartner released its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2011. First, know that Gartner publishes dozens of individual sector hype cycles. Each one plots the specific technologies and concepts relevant to that field. But the one for Emerging Technologies spans across multiple industries. As Jackie Fenn, vice president and Gartner fellow notes:

Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies” targets strategic planning, innovation and emerging technology professionals by highlighting a set of technologies that will have broad-ranging impact across the business.

It is the broadest aggregate Gartner Hype Cycle, featuring technologies that are the focus of attention because of particularly high levels of hype, or those that may not be broadly acknowledged but that Gartner believes have the potential for significant impact.

The latest hype cycle is below, and here are the descriptions of the major stages of it.

1. Technology Trigger

A breakthrough, public demonstration, product launch or other event generates significant press and industry interest.

2. Peak of Inflated Expectations

During this phase of overenthusiasm and unrealistic projections, a flurry of well-publicized activity by technology leaders results in some successes, but more failures, as the technology is pushed to its limits. The only enterprises making money are conference organizers and magazine publishers.

3. Trough of Disillusionment

Because the technology does not live up to its overinflated expectations, it rapidly becomes unfashionable. Media interest wanes, except for a few cautionary tales.

4. Slope of Enlightenment

Focused experimentation and solid hard work by an increasingly diverse range of organizations lead to a true understanding of the technology’s applicability, risks and benefits. Commercial off-the-shelf methodologies and tools ease the development process.

5. Plateau of Productivity

The real-world benefits of the technology are demonstrated and accepted. Tools and methodologies are increasingly stable as they enter their second and third generations. Growing numbers of organizations feel comfortable with the reduced level of risk; the rapid growth phase of adoption begins. Approximately 20% of the technology’s target audience has adopted or is adopting the technology as it enters this phase. Without further ado, the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2011:

We’ve helpfully highlighted the location of Idea Management in this year’s hype cycle. In the estimation of Gartner analysts, it has broken through into the Slope of Enlightenment. Yes, if you listen carefully, you can hear cherubs singing in the background.

Idea Management’s place among technologies

Gartner describes the scope of their research:

An assessment of the maturity, business benefit and future direction of over 1,900 technologies, grouped into 76 distinct Hype Cycles.

From that list, 43 technologies were selected for inclusion this year in the overall emerging technologies hype cycle . The inclusion of Idea Management puts the sector in good company, with the internet of things, activity streams, gamification and NFC payment.

Perspective on Idea Management

In describing Idea Management for the Hype Cycle report, Gartner analyst Carol Rozwell made these observation:

Companies in a wide variety of industries use idea management as a way to bolster innovation that drives sales of existing products, creates new opportunities to increase revenue, or radically changes process or cost structure. Industries that emphasize new product development were the earliest adopters of idea management tools.

She also added this advice:

The proper handling of ideas is one of the most critical aspects of successful innovation programs.

That’s a need we see quite clearly as well. It’s why we introduced SpigitFusion earlier this year, to aid the process of evaluating high volumes of ideas effectively in a distributed way.

Good to see independent observers noting what we’re seeing daily. That idea management is a healthy, growing trend among global organizations.

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Hutch CarpenterHutch Carpenter is the Vice President of Product at Spigit. Spigit integrates social collaboration tools into a SaaS enterprise idea management platform used by global Fortune 2000 firms to drive innovation.

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