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6 ways to stay on top of emerging technology trends

Written by: Kim Turley

Published on: November 28, 2017

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Things move fast in the tech world. As new trends constantly emerge, keeping up-to-date can be tricky. But staying on top of the new technologies shaping your industry is essential for driving innovation, accomplishing business goals, and remaining competitive.

Many innovation teams struggle to bridge the gap between challenges and impactful solutions. Without timely and relevant insights, it can be hard to bring new ideas to the table and fresh perspectives to the team’s existing knowledge base.

A “never stop learning” attitude helps keep everyone open to new information, inventive approaches, and progressive techniques. Read on to learn some simple ways to establish a knowledge-learning mindset within your teams and help them stay up-to-date with the latest innovations advancing your industry.

1. Read the latest research reports

There’s no shortage of digital resources to help you identify new technologies in the market. Thoughtworks Tech Radar is one of my favorites. It reports on findings from companies within the tech industry and can help shed light on current technologies, technologies about to be adopted, and those on the edge of mainstream.

Image Credit: Thoughtworks Technology Radar

2. Follow tech news

With new updates emerging almost everyday, having a network of industry experts to turn to for guidance is essential. Use apps like Panda or Pocket to create a customized dashboard or news feed that you can read offline. Follow leading thought-leaders on industry publications such as TechCrunch and Recode, and watch relevant video content from Two Minute Papers, The Verge, and WIRED. These media outlets condense complex subjects into digestible formats to quickly give you the best, high-level insights.

3. Get new opportunities delivered to your inbox

Sign up for ‘new feature’ alerts and announcement emails from leading technology platforms, like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure. Opting-in to these updates ensures the latest developments, best practices, and opportunities are delivered to your inbox every day.

4. Know what’s trending in the open-source community

The open-source community is often the first to adopt new technologies. Trending projects in these communities can be a good indicator of the competitive landscape and general best practices.

Explore trending projects or top starred projects on github to learn what’s on the horizon. While your organization may not be ready to adopt these technologies, knowing what’s out there can help you identify opportunities and anticipate possible business impact.

5. Divide, share, and conquer knowledge gathering

With so much new knowledge available, staying current can feel overwhelming. Make it more manageable by assigning each team member an area of technology to “own.”

Encourage each teammate to conduct their own research and become the go-to thought-leader in that area. Regular meetings bring team members together to share knowledge, while setting up a shared space for resources gives the entire team access to the most important findings.

6. Use reminder cards

Cards help keep the latest technology trends top of mind during your innovation workshops. Print your own, or use cards from tools like MethodKit, and note each type of new technology on its own card. These serve as reminders of the new technologies available and make it easier to integrate new tech into your ideas for projects.

Image Credit: MethodKit.com

Technology is changing at an increasing pace; we need to employ multiple strategies to keep up-to-date. Be receptive to new knowledge, and keep an open stream for fresh information and the latest news. Remember innovation never happens in a vacuum. Regularly benchmark yourself against competitors and industry leaders, and share the load among team members to stay on current on innovations that can lead to business opportunities.