Hype Cycle Traps and Challenges

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

—Richard Feynman, Rogers Commission Report on the Challenger Crash1

IN 2000, TIM B . JOINED ONE of the major Canadian banks to lead the bank’s e-business strategy. His predecessor had left the bank in the wake of a costly and unsuccessful foray into Internet banking. Its online bank, like most others at the time, hadn’t succeeded in enrolling enough customers quickly enough to pay off the costs of creating and launching the new service.

Tim joined the bank with significant experience in the world of innovation. He rapidly realized that Internet banking was neither product nor service but a channel—that ...

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