The technology sector is growing at a lightning-fast pace, making it difficult to keep up with emerging trends.  Without new and relevant insight, it is difficult to cultivate the inventive ideas and fresh perspective needed to edge out competitors.

It is important to adopt the mantra: keep learning, or risk becoming irrelevant.  It is true in today’s economy that the only constant is change. Technological automation is shifting the way we do business, lessening the routineness of jobs in favor of making them more cognitively challenging.  In our globalized economy, you are competing for employment positions against candidates from all over the world, and every minute competitors are quickly increasing their individual knowledge via the internet and other communication technologies.  The relentless impact of these cumulative forces is the creation of a new imperative: we must be dynamic learners to stay ahead of the curve. Dynamic learners continuously acquire new information and leverage knowledge to stay on top of trends, outperforming their respective peers.   

Here are a few simple tips to establish a “keep learning” mindset and help stay up to date with the latest industry innovations.

 

  • Keep a close eye on the consumer space

Most recent innovations are created within the consumer space, particularly around mobile technology such as smartphones, consumer cloud services, tablets, gaming, and intelligent cars.  Disregarding consumer technology in favor of “enterprise grade” is a huge misstep. Everything from the iPhones to personal cloud storage started in the consumer space before ever becoming enterprise grade.  This sector is such a big deal that even Forbes publishes a list of the consumer technology 30 under 30. If you want to stay up on the trends, make sure that you pay close attention to the consumer space.     

  • Read the latest and greatest research reports

The internet is exploding with digital resources that help to identify new technologies.  Innovative platforms such as ThoughtWorks Technology Radar can keep you well informed about shifts within the tech industry.  These types of resources report on findings from tech companies, casting light on current technology, emerging tech, and innovations teetering on the edge of mainstream.   

  • Follow tech news

Having a lineup of industry experts who provide guidance is a necessity.  Sources such as Engadget.com, TechCrunch and Recode provide insight from thought-leaders throughout the industry.  The amount of news that these sites generate can be extremely overwhelming; however, using an aggregator like feedly.com allows you to quickly skim headlines, quickly filtering out unappealing content.

  • Know what is trending in the open-source community

Open source refers to any program source code that is made readily available for use or modification.  The open-source community is often at the forefront of new technology development. Watching trending projects within these communities can provide insight and a general overview of the competitive landscape.  Exploring the Digital News Innovation Fund or trending projects on GitHub is a great way to learn about everything up and coming.  While you may not be interested in utilizing the source code, knowing what is out there can help you identify possible opportunities.     

  • Find a technophile

Every organization has a handful of technophiles, so called “nerds” or “geeks”, who know everything about the latest tech trends.  Stepping outside of your industry may help you broaden your scope and identify other organizations and industry experts in your area that are utilizing new technology.  IT has traditionally been the hub for the technophile types, but increasingly, product development and marketing firms are home to forward thinking people who religiously follow technology.  

  • Divide and conquer

Staying up to date on all of the new tech innovations can be daunting, leaving you feeling overwhelmed.  You can make your knowledge search more manageable by assigning a team member or cohort to a specific area of technology.  By encouraging each teammate to independently research related topics and report back findings, you vastly broaden your reach, gaining access to the most pertinent findings across a variety of different technology sectors.