When Prof. Kane off-handedly introduced us to the Gartner Hype Cycle last class, I had a 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.
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.