The Gartner Hype Cycle and IS6621

When Prof. Kane off-handedly introduced us to the Gartner Hype Cycle last class, I had alight-bulb-moment1st light bulb moment. What I realized is that this explains perfectly how I have felt about this class.

Before I go into that, I want to better flush out how these Hype Cycles work to go along with the graphical representation. So to start, why does this matter? The Gartner Hype Cycle describes how new technologies start and how they mature over time. It doesn’t give an explicit timeline; however, but that makes sense because every new technology is different.

With each Hype Cycle that occurs there are five stages that it is broken down into. It starts with a “technology trigger” in which something breaks through, but it is too early to see whether or not this will be a viable or useful technology down the road. Everything has to start somewhere, though. Next comes the “peak of inflated expectations”, and here we see great publicity about the technology and some people signing on, but also others who do not. In the middle of the cycle is the “trough of disillusionment”, which is where a lot of the hype dies down and people are not nearly as excited about the technology as they once were. Some of the technologies that get to here actually fizzle out completely, but to get past this changes must be made or investment needs to be increased. The “slope of enlightenment” comes next in this is where unrealized values from the technology are found and the product seems to be more viable. This brings in investment which results in the ultimate “plateau of productivity” in which mainstream adoption begins to happen.hype cycle


This immediately made so much sense to me, and that’s because I could think of an example that illustrates it so well. My experience in IS6621 has undergone the Gartner Hype Cycle. It started with the Twitter and blog posts that were required, and I was unsure of how well it would go over because it seemed like a lot to do. Once I started; however, I was hooked and the peak set in. I was checking my feed an obnoxious amount of times, tweeting numerous times per day and interacting very often with other classmates. This was ephemeral as other classwork started to pick up because I realized I was going way above and beyond in this class because I was outdoing my personal expectations and could afford to take a small hit in this area. I would struggle to get in my weekly comments in before class started because I was apathetic to the work. As the weeks went on, I saw that I wasn’t taking the class just for the grade, but I was really interested in learning more and broadening the scope of my learning, which encouraged me to keep up with the #IS6621 feed more. We are winding down in the class now, and I see myself using my Twitter feed and commenting on posts more than the past few weeks, but not as much as the first couple. I have found a happy medium where I am not spending too much time on the class, but also not under-utilizing it. This is my own plateau of productivity.

Ultimately, I think this example is a useful one because it is easy to get lost in the fast-paced environment that we live in. But it can be useful to take a step back and try to make connections in life to things we learn about in the classroom. I think this is where some of our best learning comes from. We can also use this example to try to predict how some technologies will work when it comes to digital business. These predictions can be useful because it may change our decision to adopt a technology or choose not to do so. Regardless, even though it was a quick and fairly overlooked comment in class, it at least inspired me to do this blog post.


  1. Great post! I really like how you connected the article you read to your personal experience in this class. I completely get where you’re coming from with the tweets and blog posts; I’ve noticed myself hitting a lull because of the overwhelming amount of work in other classes. Hopefully, like you did, I can find a happy medium. This post also reminded me of @ashleyrzolenski‘s post because she questions and explains why people would care about a new technology that allows people to experience what it’s like to have a migraine. With any new technology it’s difficult to predict whether or not it’s going to take off and I think it’s interesting to see that visually represented by the Hype Cycle.

  2. Very nice article, Jak. Great use of twitter to get me to this page as well.. couldn’t help the click-bait

  3. Great post Jak! I am of similar thinking that the continued trajectory has related to my experience with the class as well. In reading this, I thought of the Hype Cycle in relation to Twitter, which I think is a little harder to track. My thinking is that Twitter has followed this Hype Cycle, but in a substantially longer time frame than many other technologies. I think that Twitter hit its peak of inflated expectations years ago, as investors thought that it could potentially mimic Facebook and become the world’s next dominant social media. I also think that Twitter has hit its trough as people came to realize that the platform would never become this. Finally, I get the impression that it’s going through it’s enlightenment phase as we are finally figuring out the best ways to leverage the platform (especially in the news and information space). It will be interesting to test how my thoughts pan out going forward.

  4. Great post. Interesting use of the Gartner Hype Cycle to relate it to your experience in this class. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the Gartner Hype Cycle was 3d printing. A couple years ago everyone was talking about 3d printing how we were going to use it for everything from making cups to recreating human organs. I would definitely say that was the “peak of inflated expectations.” I think since then 3d printing has come down the curve but will definitely be useful in the future. I think that it is important for all companies to understand this cycle before adopting new technologies.

  5. Cool and kind of meta connection between a class topic and the class itself– I think this is pretty indicative of the progression of the semester and as seniors, our motivation to keep up with all classes as we come closer and closer to graduation. I think your point about taking a step back to connect what we learn in the classroom to real life is particularly salient because some of us feel that certain classes at BC are pointless to some extent. In reality, at least something in every class can be applied to life outside the BC bubble and to our life post-grad. Your post is an example of that “aha!” moment/affirmation that classroom learning serves a purpose, but serves an even greater purpose when we make an effort to let it live on outside class time. And connecting this post back to technology, I find myself thinking this about Facebook as of late. In recent years I have began to regard it as an irrelevant social tool after spending enormous amounts of time on it in high school. Now, with the help of this class, I am beginning to go through the enlightenment phase and seeing what a valuable platform Facebook always has been and will continue to be.

  6. I actually wrote a much more in depth response that somehow didn’t get saved. The gist of it was that I *hope* the plateau of productivity comes after you finish the class, not during, as you figure out how to best use/ think of these technologies in your life and career going forward.

    1. That makes sense. I can see that being the case, but since I’ve been in school for so long it’s generally hard to envision myself even just a month or two from now. I hope that going forward I still use these technologies (and I feel like I will), but I don’t know what life will truly be like post-grad.

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