Enterprise 2.0 and the Hype Cycle


In 1995, Gartner proposed that the adoption of any new technology follows a hype cycle (Wikipedia: Hype Cycle). See the diagram below.

Enterprise 2.0 Hype Cycle

It seems to me that Enterprise 2.0 has passed the Peak of Inflated Expectations and is now on the trip through the Trough of Disillusionment.

The Hype Cycle can’t be stopped. As Mark Raskino, co-author of Mastering the Hype Cycle, explains in a reply to a TechCrunch blog post, “Bloggers: Let’s Band Together and Stop the Hype Cycle“:

“[The Hype Cycle] can’t be completely stopped because its existence arises from a fundamental mismatch between the speed of social excitement and the slower pace of engineering progress & market penetration.”

I’m looking forward to our immature Enterprise Social Software market climbing the Slope of Enlightenment and reaching the Plateau of Productivity — like countless game-changing technologies that came before it.


Join The Discussion

  1. EphraimJF

    Chris: It seems that an additional mismatch is between the speed of social excitement and thoughtfulness of implementation. Folks think the new technology solves problems on its own.

    A lot of folks already are gaining great benefits from enterprise 2.0 tools, but its because they implemented like they would any other tools: to support clearly articulated business needs and with clear goals & governance.

  2. Chris

    Ephraim, we absolutely agree. The hype cycle seems to hold true on a micro level for many companies. Like you said, they buy the technology and then expect it to solve problems on its own — and then end up in the “trough of disillusionment”. A thoughtful implementation of 2.0 technologies is key to reaching the “plateau of productivity”.

    Many of our customers assemble a small but skilled in-house team for implementation, including a KM coordinator-type role. You’ve done that at Oxfam. So has Penn State, Hicks Morley, IDEO, and many of our other customers.

    Other customers have had great success leveraging our Professional Services partners.

    In both cases, implementation hasn’t been left to chance. It’s been carefully managed.

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