Gartner, Inc. maintains a series of well-followed reports, called Hype Cycles. Gartner Hype Cycles describe the various technologies that address a particular market.
The Hype Cycle for the Emerging Technologies, 2010, was published publicly. Here is how Gartner Fellow Jackie Fenn describes this particular report:
The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies features technologies that are the focus of attention in the IT industry because of particularly high levels of hype, or those that may not be broadly acknowledged but which we believe have the potential for significant impact
For reference, the Hype Cycle tracks technologies through five stages:
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.
The 2010 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle:
In the field of social software, you can see several technologies listed:
- Idea management
- Activity Streams
Idea Management’s Place Among Technologies
As Gartner states:
Gartner has examined the maturity of 1,800 technologies and trends in 75 technology, topic, and industry areas.
From that list, 41 technologies were selected for inclusion this year in the overall emerging technologies hype cycle (there are separate hype cycles for 75 different sectors). The inclusion of Idea Management puts the sector in good company, with media tablets (e.g. iPads), social analytics and cloud computing.
And if you’re divining from the curve, good to see the sector on the upswing moving toward Slope of Enlightenment.
Idea Management’s Growth
The field of idea management is relatively new, but one that has generated good results for early adopting organizations. Here is what analysts Carol Rozwell and Kathy Harris say about the technology:
Companies in a wide variety of industries are turning to 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.
During 2009 and 2010, the growth in vendors and success stories for idea management have driven interest in innovation and confidence in engaging employees.
Good insight from Carol and Kathy, and we’re seeing a similar evolution in the market from our perch. Word-of-mouth amongst organizations is part of the story here.
Wisely, Carol and Kathy add this caveat:
Organizations establish innovation programs with great fanfare, succeed at generating ample ideas, and then have difficulty sustaining the momentum through implementation. Users should address the organizational and cultural issues of innovation management.
It is clear that setting up an idea management program as a simple online collection tool is insufficient for delivering the anticipated ROI. Organizations must match the platform they select with the processes and expectations that transform the tacit knowledge in people’s head to tangible innovation projects.
There’s previous coverage here about the importance of these elements for innovation management: conceptually it’s who does what when? It’s important to understand these elements before the innovation program is launched.
The other factor is to leverage the community itself to help sort through the hundreds or thousands of ideas. As discussed before, the collective intelligence of a community with cognitive diversity is a powerful way to help sort through and find the top ideas. It does take intelligent use of analytics to do so.