Our perspectives are notably influenced by personal preferences, peer pressures and unconscious cognitive biases. Unescapable. Our attention span, our energy to engage, our availability for deep understanding and even our radars to capture – everything is limited compared to an unlimited universe for complex information about everything we know, and especially about what we do not know.
It is a fact that we pay attention to everyday things that require a sense of urgency and practical sense to solve. These are trivial, dense, complex things that insist to call us to an action or, at least, for contemplation. Such day-by-day subjects are the ones that take up a better part of our productive time, requiring dedication, articulation and analysis.
At the same time, we have fun, get scared and are surprised with futuristic subjects that pop up in the present day. These are intriguing themes, about the adventurous world of tomorrow, which flow, land and evaporate at the blink of an eye. Few can still leave lasting memories, causing us to revisit them from time to time. Extremely few progress over time, gaining momentum until they are incorporated in routines. Even organizations today tend to hire and develop people based more on their potential than on previously existing achievements.
But looking to the future, the new and the unknown always come stronger and omnipresently. Individually, we have a natural urge to stretch beyond the limits, always wanting to be better than we are and very often better than others. Business environments reflect the same desire, with organizations striving to always go beyond, becoming faster, longer-lasting and more prosperous. This immense market only heats even more the cauldron of pressure for hypes by reverencing results and people that strongly match that mindset.
The hyper-complex-convergent global context floods us with possible innovations perceived as disruptive that create huge buzz and sell themselves as miraculous formulas. The Gartner Hype Cycle, one of the best-known sources, brings a perception phase that perfectly translates our question: it is called the Peak of Inflated Expectations. This perceived phase usually creates immense pressure for adoption, even if personal interests have not yet emerged, triggering the known anxiety of not lagging behind and missing out on opportunities.
Hypes that are at the Peak of Inflated Expectations are ultimately interpreted as miraculous formulas or plug-and-play promises, that even plug, technologically, but always require parallel projects to develop the associated skills, implementations and culture. It is necessary to involve people, businesses and technologies, in addition to preparing the culture to reach the necessary maturity to enjoy that Hype.
Curiously enough, we enjoy the involvement with the hype and, at times, we resent the pain. While the first encourages us to envision something to be solved and built without great concrete need to do something, the second insistently summons us to pragmatically solve the moment’s hot topics.
Let us look at the metaverse scenario, the greatest hype right now. Few deeply understand what it really is about. To benefit from the promised value proposition, first it is fundamental to understand what value is for people and the organization with its adoption. Next comes the most challenging step: preparing the organization and the people for the innovation and for the real effort this adoption involves, preferably having already invested in the development of the group’s technological and socioemotional skills and in structure to foster innovation and digital transformation.
Another better-known subject, but even so a hype, is the Creators environment of apprentices and collaborators. These are minds that have extremely relevant knowledge, basis and experience and who must disseminate that in the organization. This process involves social, open, agile and fluid practices and resources that promote creation and co-creation to foster a learning organization. But this requires investment in maturity, culture and processes, both for the area of people development and for people themselves. Investing in creators is not the same as allowing that few (and always the same) produce knowledge with the moderation of a given area. Limiting creators’ production with the same control mechanism used today is like using heavy weapons to kill little ants. In other words, powerful technology and resources are used without achieving the results to become a smart organization.
In any case, not always can we envision that it is exactly the overcoming of the moment’s priorities (Pain) that prepares us for the future success (Hype). Reconciling time and integrating the subjects are two managerial priorities, premises to build feasible and effective pacts in organizations.
By accepting and analyzing the immense spectrum involving any context, the adoption of emerging technologies may, in fact, have an impact. Unfortunately, it is not what usually happens and, oftentimes, the result is unfairly only attributed to the hype.
Let us look at even the hype of NFTs, tokens and the like. What is the real value proposition with the blockchain technology? Create assets? Recognize assets/certificates? Reliability? Share evidences? History? All of these are differential returns, but the organization must understand what it wants and realize how much effort it should invest in the hype and how much it should allocate to the current context to adopt any innovation.
Keeping up with emerging technologies is crucial, mostly when it comes to an innovative organization mindset. But without understanding and dedication to a systemic and wide-reaching implementation, without the associated efforts and treatments and without taking care of the here and now, the innovation will only have pain and little (or no) gain. But if the context is being cared for with effort and sustainability and if the analysis of actual or potential problems is being addressed, analyzed and placed at the center, it becomes a lot more feasible to surf hypes and gain a lot by doing so, both in speed and in growth and durability.
Article written by Barbara Olivier (Afferolab’s CIO) and co-authored by Daniel Motta (BMI’s & Bossa’s CEO and Afferolab’s Board Member). Visit the blog at https://www.afferolab.com.br/blog/no-pain-no-hype.