• Recent Posts: Influencer Relations

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Fersht: some IIAR award-winners “just tick the boxes”

    Some of the firms mentioned by the IIAR’s analyst team awards fall short of excellence. That’s the verdict of several hundred analysts who took our Analyst Attitude Survey, and of the CEO of one of the top analyst firms. Phil Fersht left the comment below on our criticism of the IIAR awards. We thought we’d reprint it together with the […]

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    Do the IIAR awards simply reward large firms?

    The 2016 Institute for Industry Analyst Relations’ awards seem to be rewarding firms for the scale of their analyst relations, rather than their quality. In a blog post on July 6th, the IIAR awarded IBM the status of best analyst relations teams, with Cisco, Dell and HP as runners-up. Together with Microsoft, which outsources much of its analyst relations to […]

    Unmaking fruit salad: 6 ways to help analysts segment markets

    Unmaking fruit salad: 6 ways to help analysts segment markets

     It’s a common challenge for providers: some new or fast-changing market contains very different solutions. Clients want either apples or oranges, but the analyst research reads more like fruit salad. As new solutions come into old markets, or as analysts try to squeeze hot new solutions into their less-exciting coverage areas, it’s increasingly hard for users of analyst research to make […]

    Control in Analyst Attitude Surveys

    Control in Analyst Attitude Surveys

    Because a lot of analysts take part in our Analyst Attitude Surveys, we are able to offer clients what we call a control group. In the language of research, a control group is a group of people who don’t get the treatment that we want to measure the effectiveness of. For example, most firms might be focussed on a top tier […]

    Time for a new direction in AR measurement?

    Time for a new direction in AR measurement?

    Worldwide, Analyst Relations teams are committed to fostering the best information exchange, experiences and trusted relationships with tightly-targetted global industry analysts and influencers. Sometimes the targeting is too narrow and analysts are treated inhumanly. However, the technology buying process is transforming and so must the benchmarking of analyst relationships. There’s already a long-term transformation of analyst relations. Over one-third of technology […]

Mastering the Hype Cycle – Highly recommended for different reasons for different audiences

Gartner’s Hype Cycle (official definition) is a research graphic that is far more useful than the Magic Quadrant, even if it is not as visible as the MQ. While it is not obsessed over like the MQ, Gartner has built a franchise around the Hype Cycle with the annual July spate of around 90 Hype Cycle research notes.   These cover an average of 1,300 technologies and the related graphics are used in many conference presentations.

While the Hype Cycle provides valuable insights into how technology is adopted, Gartner has not provided much insight into the Hype Cycle itself. This is not all that unusual for IT industry analysts firms that are focused on cranking out topical research papers rather than teaching their clients and the marketplace about how to use the research. There is the “Understanding Gartner’s Hype Cycles” research note that accompanies the annual Hype Cycle series of research notes. However, there is only so much understanding that can be crammed into 12 to 14 pages. That is why this new book on the Hype Cycle has the potential to very useful.

Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time (Harvard Business Press, $19.77 + S&H on Amazon) is by Hype Cycle creator Jackie Fenn and colleague Mark Raskino. The book has two goals. First is to ensure that the reader is completely conversant about what the Hype Cycle is and is not. The second is provide insights into how the Hype Cycle can be used by innovation champions inside corporations to make sure that innovations are brought in at the right time.

“Part 1: The Hype Cycle” does a thorough job of explaining the Hype Cycle with lots of stories to illustrate points. Even somebody as familiar with the Hype Cycle as myself found aspects that I had not known or had forgotten. Some might say that stories from the early 1990’s might be out of date, but the reality is that some lessons about adopting innovations take years to emerge. Because the book has the ability to add real-world stories and expand explanations, I think that some of the more interesting aspects of the Hype Cycle really come through. However, I would have liked more extensive examinations of actual Hype Cycles to trace the trajectory of selected technologies, services, or management techniques over several years. While this is difficult to do because of the ephemeral nature of Gartner research, this sort of examination would yield valuable insights into how actual “dots” progress along the curve and why things went as predicted or took unexpected twists.

“Part 2: The STREET Process” discusses the process to apply the Hype Cycle to identify, vet, and potentially adopt innovations. STREET stands for Scope, Track, Rank, Evaluate, Evangelize, and Transfer. STREET is not all that different from a number of frameworks for evaluating innovations – many of which Fenn and Raskino cite. This section’s strength is how to apply the Hype Cycle to technology innovations. For individuals and organizations that are not well versed in innovation evaluation Part 2 will be as valuable as Part 1. However, individuals who read a lot about innovation adoption processes will be able to skim this section, concentrating on Hype Cycle specific issues.

Mastering the Hype Cycle was explicitly written for the enterprise staff (aka end users, usually IT managers), not the high tech and telecommunications providers (aka vendors). However, that does not mean that the vendor community should not read the book as there are some valuable insights for a wide range of roles within vendors. Even within the enterprise there are different roles that could get different value by reading the book. On the right (click to enlarge) is an oversimplified matrix of parallel roles in vendors and enterprises that would get value from the book:

For the vendor community it will be necessary to “read between the lines” to really pull value from the book. In part two of this review, I will specifically focus on the analyst relations (AR) role to illustrate how a vendor can harvest valuable insights from the book. 

Inquiry, Inquiry, Inquiry

While the book has lots of valuable insights, it is important that Gartner clients leverage their contracts in order to talk directly to analysts about the Hype Cycle concept or particular Hype Cycles. As with most Gartner research, the Hype Cycle is best understood when you probe the analysts’ assumptions, research methodology, and decision process. There are two distinct groups of analysts to talk to: Fenn and Raskino in order to better apply the concepts, and the analyst-authors of specific Hype Cycles in order to better understand how the Hype Cycle was applied to a market.

Background

Related posts:

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SageCircle Technique:

  • Get the book, share the book, discuss the book

Bottom Line: Enterprise and vendors alike can derive value from reading and applying the Hype Cycle concept. However, it does take work to burrow into the STREET framework, something that is worth the investment of time.

Question: How have you used the Hype Cycle in your work?

7 Responses

  1. Thanks for the review, Carter, and I’m glad you found the book valuable. Your readers may be interested to know that Peter Sondergaard, head of Gartner research, will talk briefly about the book at the AR Forum at Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. I think attendees will also get a copy of the book.

  2. […] • Mastering the Hype Cycle – Highly recommended for different reasons for different audiences SageCircle, 7 Oct 2008 • Mastering the Hype Cycle (Gartner blog by Jackie Fenn and Mark Raskino) • Which is the right Gartner blog for you? ITasITis, 17 Sep 2008 • Forrester get TechRadar on the road ITasITis, 25 Apr 2008 […]

  3. […] to Carter Lusher at sagecircle.com – ‘far more useful than the Magic Quadrant’ … you might say that, we […]

  4. Carter,

    I took a shot at teasing out some of the implications for vendors in this book. My basic point is that vendors can succeed by consciously positioning themselves and timing their marketing efforts with the Hype Cycle in mind. I’d love to hear your take.

    Best,

    Britton

    You can check it out here: http://www.brittonmanasco.com/2008/11/mastering-hope-and-hype.html

  5. […] the enterprise client, there are many valuable insights in the book for vendor AR professionals.  Click here for SageCircle’s review of the […]

  6. […] we head into Hype… on Thinking about Gartner’s…As we head into Hype… on Mastering the Hype Cycle – Hig…Wendell Aaron Courtl… on AR belongs in Marketing – a de…joncollins on Acquisitions of […]

  7. […] the current positioning is close to the top of the curve. In their excellent book, titled "Mastering the Hype Cycle", Jack Fenn and Mark Raskino point out four key characteristics need to be addressed prior to […]

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