Reassessing The Allure Of ‘Shiny Objects’ In Business Strategy

By Brian Greenberg, CIO/CTO, Partner at Fortium Partners.This article first appears on Forbes on 6/21/2023.

Under constant pressure to stay ahead of the competition, companies often adopt the latest technologies without proper foresight. When business leaders see another company making headlines for utilizing buzz-worthy tools—like blockchain, NFTs, AI, or deep learning—they often experience FOMO when they realize they’re not. It’s essential, however, to consider whether these new tools align with the company’s overall goals and provide real value. That’s not to say that investigating the latest technologies isn’t the right thing to do. It just needs to be done thoughtfully. For those organizations that don’t engage with new technologies thoughtfully, they’ll likely experience several pitfalls associated with chasing new technologies (a.k.a. “shiny objects”), such as:

1. Diverting Significant Resources To Technologies That May Not Provide ROI

Chasing new technologies can divert considerable resources and time from critical areas of the core business, especially if the business doesn’t have teams dedicated to the kinds of research it requires. Companies investing in the latest tech without considering their alignment with long-term goals waste resources and miss opportunities. Purchasing hardware and software and hiring specialized staff to integrate and maintain the new systems can be costly. Additionally, researching, implementing, and training employees on new technologies may detract from vital business areas. If the new technology fails to provide a significant return on investment, it adds no value to the business. To avoid chasing shiny objects, companies must ask if the new technologies improve the effectiveness of business processes or customer experiences. Does the technology align with the overall objectives and values? Does it have the potential to provide a substantial return on investment? By evaluating new technologies and their potential impact on their business, companies can avoid diverting resources and focus on investments that yield positive results.

2. Losing Sight Of Core Values In Pursuit Of Short-Term Gains

Chasing trends risks losing sight of a company’s mission and values, leading to misaligned objectives and eroding customer trust. Focusing on short-term gains diverts resources from sustainable growth, hindering adaptability in a changing market. On the other hand, prioritizing long-term goals and staying true to the company’s mission can prevent trend-chasing and deliver lasting value.

3. Failing To Establish A Comprehensive Strategy

Chasing shiny objects prevents companies from creating a robust and comprehensive plan to withstand industry disruptions. Focusing on short-term fads detracts from long-term planning, considering core competencies, customer needs, and market shifts. This reactive approach leads to missed opportunities and hampers the ability to pivot in response to inevitable changes in the industry. To ensure long-term success and adaptability in volatile market conditions, companies must invest in developing a comprehensive strategic plan that aligns with their overall objectives and values. Adopting a proactive approach to business and anticipating industry changes enables companies to drive sustainable growth. Instead of chasing shiny objects, companies should build a solid foundation that can withstand industry disruptions and provide lasting value.

4. Failing To Distinguish The Company From Competitors

Chasing shiny objects can also impede companies from differentiating their products or services, resulting in imitation and a diminished competitive advantage. For example, by fixating on the latest trends or mirroring competitors, companies risk blending in and diluting their brand identity and undermining their unique selling points and identity. To establish a unique value proposition, companies must remain focused on their core competencies and develop innovative offerings that set them apart from competitors significantly and meaningfully. Organizations must build upon their strengths and capabilities to create a loyal customer base and a strong brand identity that resonates with their target audience.

5. Excluding Customers Or Stakeholders Who May Not Be Interested

Chasing shiny objects risks alienating customers uninterested in the latest technologies, who may perceive the company as insincere. Overemphasis on trends can harm a company’s reputation and severely erode customer trust. Companies must balance adopting new technologies and addressing customer needs to maintain customer loyalty. By understanding their target audience, companies can offer tailored solutions that foster trust and loyalty, which can help ensure long-term success.


Embracing the latest trends and technologies can entice businesses, but chasing “shiny objects” without thoughtful consideration may lead to undesirable consequences. By remaining focused on core competencies and long-term objectives, companies can build a solid foundation, differentiate themselves in the marketplace and foster customer trust. It is essential to balance adopting new technologies and meeting customer needs to ensure lasting success while avoiding the pitfalls of chasing short-term gains and blending in with competitors. Thoughtful evaluation of new technologies and their alignment with overall goals will help companies drive sustainable growth and maintain a strong brand identity.

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About Brian Greenberg

Brian Greenberg is a technology and product leader, Forbes contributor, and is a member of the Forbes Technology Council. He lives in Chicago and has been working at companies of all sizes from the Fortune 100 to startups for over 30 years including international experience as an expatriate in Japan and Europe. In addition to being part of the Adjunct Faculty in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University, Brian Greenberg is an award winning CIO & CTO, considered a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and visionary leader, accomplished at strategic planning, process improvement, product development, and reengineering of key business processes. Highly successful in achieving financial results through strong customer loyalty and long term relationships with suppliers and vendors. Ability to achieve business results through strategic application of technology to business challenges. Readily pursues "stretch goals", not afraid to take risks, and is grounded in a strong teamwork approach. Regarded as a skilled communicator, team builder and negotiator who maximizes efficiencies and productivity through boosting employee morale and performance. Brian Greenberg has expertise in digital transformation, automation, turnaround management, security, data storage, and data protection. He is also a storyteller and an improvisor in Chicago’s comedy community.