Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 12.10.06 PMWhat’s next? What’s trending? What’s innovative? We all want to be forward thinkers — leveraging the shiniest, newest technologies. 

But sometimes hype is just hype — and a waste of time and investment — at least for a while until that technology has proven itself.

That’s why I love Gartner’s Technology Hype Cycle. It helps make sense of the lifecycle of technology innovations.

Simply put, when a technology gets introduced, it typically rises to a “peak of inflated expectations” before either fizzling out or getting adopted by the mainstream.

The peak of inflated expectations is where the frenzy happens. It’s when the new technology promises to “walk your dog, clean your car, and raise tons of dollars all while juggling three ballerinas.”

Once the technology fails to meet these expectations, reality sets in and it dips into the trough of disillusionment. Some technologies/platforms never make it out of the trough (Hi MySpace). But those that do take the slope of enlightenment.

People figure out how to make sense of it. How it works. And as more and more people adopt it, it hits the plateau of productivity. (Hi online videos and banking!).

I know the plateau of productivity can seem boring. But it’s where the majority of people are — and where the majority of dollars are.

My take – consider technologies that are in the peak of inflated expectations as risk investment. Devote 10% of your time/budget to those initiatives and spend the remainder perfecting those that have been proven.

It might seem boring. Boring, but smart…