For Everything, There is a Season

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By James Lingle, HITEC Houston Guest Blogger

I had to make a choice this morning. I had to choose between two sessions that I wanted to attend that were happening at the same time. Both were interesting, but until I can clone myself, I had to pick one. I decided on Blockchain – primarily because I know the least about it (after all, they are educational sessions!).

It was a good decision. I learned a new phrase today. Now, I admit that if I heard it from my kids, it might frighten me just a little. But it’s OK – I learned it at HITEC. During the Blockchain session, speaker Mark Haley, a great technologist and all around good guy, shared Gartner’s definition of the Technology Hype Lifecycle.

As you might expect, there is a quick spike in attention, interest and most notably – expectations of a new technology. The real focus here is about expectations. Almost invariably whenever a new technology rises (in this case blockchain) we hear so much about how this technology will change everything. We hype all of the positives and brush aside the potential challenges as no big concern or challenge. Here is where my new phrase comes in: trough of disillusionment. I love it – it so aptly describes the feeling we all get after the fervor of the next great thing starts to wane.

The challenge during the expectation phase is usually our grasp of the concept. We know what we want it to do, but we don’t know enough to ask the right questions or foresee the challenges it will present. We overlook necessary changes to business processes or legal issues with the use of this new technology across the organization. Basically put, we don’t know what we don’t know.

Here is where I think a great opportunity lies. Not necessarily to do all of those things that we don’t do during the expectation phase (we should get better at it), but to let the expectation phase sweep us away just a little bit. I think the expectation phase is our opportunity to challenge our way of doing business. It is our white space, our time to not just think about what we have to get done or what we have to accomplish, but to innovate.

The trough of disillusionment will come soon enough, and it should. Regardless of innovation we have a responsibility to be practical too. Every phase of the cycle has a purpose. Embrace those phases and make the most of them.

Enjoy the show and feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

James Lingle, president at James Lingle Consulting, is an official guest blogger for HITEC® Houston 2018, taking place June 18–21, 2018 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas USA.

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