Speeding into Tomorrow with F1: Sorting Hype from Truth

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By Martin Bouza

March 5, 2024

I’m a die-hard Formula 1 fan. The roar of the engines, the precision of teamwork, the adrenaline rush of the speed of it all—it resonates with me on a deep level. And sometimes, in the thrill of the race, it sparks deep reflections on what lies ahead. Let’s delve into how Formula 1 mirrors the realities of shaping our future.

Much like the frenzy of a Formula 1 race, our world is a whirlwind of activity, with so much happening simultaneously that it’s easy to mistake a passing car for the leader of the pack when, in reality, it’s just one of many contenders. And just as in F1, technology plays a crucial role in success, but it’s ultimately the coordinated efforts of humans that drive progress, including the ripple effects of our actions.

How do hypes weave their way into our lives and even shape our cognitive biases? Take, for instance, the electric vehicle (EV) hype. Hypes are characterized by exaggerated excitement surrounding a particular idea, product, or technology, often driven by speculation, marketing, or media attention rather than solid evidence of impact. Electric vehicles are currently all the rage, with people flocking to them for their perceived environmental friendliness, despite ongoing debates about their actual ecological footprint. Even F1 teams experimented with EVs and dropped them after concluding they aren’t the solution they’re expected to be. This hype, I believe, stems in part from the actions of figures like Elon Musk, whose pioneering work has catapulted EVs into the limelight as a new category, a blue ocean if you will, of its own. It’s a blend of technology, design, and our innate desire to embrace the latest and greatest.

This phenomenon is very aligned with Gartner’s Hype Cycle and Technology Adoption curve. You see, Gartner identifies five phases in a technology’s life cycle, starting with the innovation trigger—a breakthrough that kicks things off but its actual massive viability is still unclear. This phase is where very early innovators hop on. Next comes the peak of inflated expectations, where publicity generates a buzz that often goes beyond the technology’s actual capabilities. In some cases, an investment bubble forms as early adopters join. However, hypes don’t always evolve into lasting trends or shape the future; sometimes, they simply fade into nothing, making room for the next big thing, just as we’re witnessing with EVs today.

So, once the dust settles, we can begin to see emerging trends based on patterns of change and observable data. Going back to our F1 example with EVs, we’re witnessing a growing trend toward alternative energy sources for transportation, or perhaps a shift toward autonomous driving capabilities, that goes beyond individual attempts like EVs, synthetic fuels or any other applied solution. I believe F1 serves as an ideal testing ground for innovative alternatives, as it brings together most automotive companies who use races as the perfect sandbox for new developments. Similarly, the recent launch of Apple Vision generated a big buzz initially that has already been muted, but the lasting trend worth noting lies in the adoption of visor and VR technologies.

Hypes are rationalized through behavioral patterns that may or may not evolve into trends that shape the future. Trends do this by influencing innovation, investment, policy decisions and societal norms, driving technological advancements and informing strategic planning and decision-making. In a way, trends mature and adjust to reality to create the future. Gartner describes this process as the trough of disillusionment, where interest wanes unless solutions within the trend adjust to satisfy early adopters. This is followed by the slope of enlightenment, where people increasingly recognize the benefits of a technology (even if it’s not for its original purpose), leading to widespread adoption among the early majority, and ultimately, the plateau of productivity, where mainstream adoption occurs, capturing the late majority of users. And just like that, a trend becomes part of our daily lives and projected future.

The future task force that I’m creating over at Arionkoder will analyze reality through the lenses we’ve just tried on. Not falling for the hype but seeing it for what it is. Don’t get me wrong; there are business opportunities within the hype, and we’ll capitalize on them. But our focus lies in differentiating between hype, trend, and future to shape our strategy accordingly, considering factors like opportunity, revenue, longevity, and transformative potential.

Let’s not sit on the sidelines as the future unfolds. Let’s get in the driver’s seat, fueled by our passion for progress. The road to tomorrow isn’t just about speed—it’s about choosing our destination. It’s about driving towards a future that reflects our values and dreams, not just going along for the ride. So, if you’re ready to grab life by the wheel and make a real impact, buckle up and let’s hit the gas together. See you at the finish line!