Most people use the hype cycle to compare and contrast the developmental stages of multiple technologies or innovations at a fixed point in time. These help our clients make appropriate portfolio trade-off, and innovation adoption timing decisions. All of the current 50+ Gartner published hype cycles are like this and they focus on different domains. For example Gene Alvarez and others published last year’s on on E-Commerce, Monica Basso leads one on on Networking and Communications while Van Baker has one on Retail Technologies.
Occasionally we develop a different format of hype cycle view which takes a single innovation and a fixed date time-line. This helps to explore the recent past and possible future evolutionary milestones for an innovation. The good thing about these is that they help to shape your thinking about how the thing will play out, over what time period and the various forces at work. It is a scenario exploration tool – good for helping to generate future event hypotheses, but those require a lot of additional work before they can be made into predictions.
Here’s a simple illustrative example from some work I did back in 2005
And here’s a well populated example of a single innovation cycle plotted by someone outside Gartner - learning consultant Michael Hanley
Actually, one of the most famous individual hype cycles published by Gartner was a fixed time-line version on a single innovation. We include Alex Drobik’s E-business hype cycle in the book.