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Understanding the Hype Cycle… By Adopting Puppy

By Tori Paulman | February 21, 2023 | 0 Comments

Information TechnologyApplication LeadersCIO Leadership of Innovation, Disruptive Trends and Emerging PracticesDigital Workplace ApplicationsDigital Workplace Infrastructure and Operations

I’m no stranger to the Gartner Hype Cycle, I’ve used it in 100’s of discussions and even authored an “Innovation Profile.” But, despite being part of Gartner it had never struck me how relatable the hype cycle was until I saw my friend Helen Poitevin describe it in a theater session at Gartner’s ReImagine HR conference in 2022. In the first 5 minutes, Helen set a clear answer to the key question that most clients have “what are the best practices?”

The answer? Most of the ride, there are no best practices… They are created by you, and people like you, in the storm that is the trough of disillusionment.

Having come to this realization I started to think about the hype cycle differently. What if more of us could understand the stages of the hype cycle and harness it to channel our energy toward the right questions. As I started to explore explaining this new found insight I landed on the only relatable thing I could think of…

The Innovation Trigger 

Excitement builds…

Hype Stage: A breakthrough, public demonstration, product launch, or other event sparks media and industry interest.

Puppy Stage: “I am so excited to meet my new puppy!!!”

Peak of Inflated Expectations

Use-cases are developed…

Hype Stage: The excitement about, and expectations for, the innovation exceed the reality of its existing capabilities.

Puppy Stage: “I’m going to get so much exercise walking my new puppy!!”

Trough of Disillusionment

Best practices are developed…

Hype Stage: Overexcitement dissipates and disillusionment sets in due to performance issues, slower- than-expected adoption or a failure to deliver ROI.

Puppy Stage: “Wait, this is so much harder than I thought it would be!”

Slope of Enlightenment

Value is created…

Hype Stage: Some early adopters overcome the initial hurdles and begin to see the benefits of the innovation and best practices emerge.

Puppy Stage: “We graduated from puppy class!”


Plateau of Productivity

It’s time for more excitement…

Hype Stage: The innovation has demonstrated real- world productivity and benefits, and a sharp uptick in adoption begins until the innovation becomes mainstream.

Puppy Stage: “Let’s get another puppy!”


Gartner clients can read more about the Digital Workplace Applications Hype Cycle here!


My favorite coworker and coauthor Willow


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