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The role of expectation in innovation evolution: Exploring hype cycles

Yuwei Shi and John Herniman

Technovation, 2023, vol. 119, issue C

Abstract: Digitalisation has unleashed numerous and rapid technological, enterprise, and societal innovations. The complexity of social learning and action evidenced in these innovations (e.g., social media-based commerce) across the individual, organisational, and societal levels has multiplied since the introduction of superglue, radial tires, and televisions in the 1950s. Nevertheless, the diffusion S-curve model has remained dominant in innovation evolution research and practice for almost 60 years. Gartner's hype cycles introduce an alternative model and are increasingly used in high-tech management practice. Despite its popularity for over 20 years, the scant academic literature has offered little insight beyond verifying the existence of hype cycle phenomena. Building on the foundation of innovation diffusion and extant hype cycle literature and integrating it with perspectives across several diverse disciplines, this paper develops a conceptual framework for understanding hype cycles and connecting them with the S-curves. It establishes the role of expectation and presents its changes over the course of early-stage innovations leading to the initial adoptions. The paper concludes by highlighting contributions to and suggesting several directions for future research.

Keywords: Hype cycle; Innovation diffusion; Innovation expectation; Decision-making; Reinforced learning; Rhetorical justifications (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2022.102459

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