I was just reading about 2008 emerging technology hype cycle published by Gartner. According to Gartner new technologies progress through five distinct stages (1) Technology trigger, (2) peak of inflated expectations, (3) trough of disillusionment, (4) slope of enlightenment, and (5) plateau of productivity. And each technology moves through these stages at it’s own pace. Some on a 2-5 year cycle for example while others are on a much longer cycle of 5-10 years. I just located the 2006 curve here and I’m searching for as many as I can find. Since I began my career in technology back in 1980 I’ve been well aware of this curve. But this is the first time I’ve seen it published and documented. I can’t think of a single new technology over the past 28 years that hasn’t gone through these stages…except for the ones that flopped or became obsolete before reaching stage 5. In my early years I would be so disapointed whenever an exciting new technology like artifical intelliegnce for example would enter stage (3) trough of disillusionment. But after a while I realized this stage is inevidable after so much hype is piled on by industry media and consultants who are trying to capitalize on the initial excitement in order to rake in the big bucks while business leaders struggle to understand and are afraid of being left behind. As these same business leaders begin to realize the technology can’t possibly deliver the sky high results that were promised…they start a backlash against the technology that always appears very negative. Articles appear with quotes from prominent corporate leaders telling war stories of how the technology failed to deliver. Over time the story fades and all of the get rich quick consultants and vendors move on to the next new over hyped technology. Meanwhile the people who are left are the ones who believed in the technology all along recognizing it’s potential and understanding it’s limitations. They began to advance it’s capabilities and utilize it to solve problems and thus begin the long slow climb back up out of the trough to real value on the plateau of productivity where most decent technologies eventually end up.