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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

How C-level leaders keep up with the latest technologies

10 ways to maintain relevance in an ever-changing digital work environment.

How C-level leaders keep up with the latest  technologies
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

In an evolving virtual world, it’s important for companies to stay informed about the newly developed system solutions and devices that are there to make the daily operations of a small, medium, or large enterprise run a little smoother.

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Whether you are a COO executive whose days are filled with back-to-back meetings or a middle manager with a team of direct reports and other follow-up responsibilities that take up a good portion of your day, it’s not an easy task to squeeze in additional hours to take a deeper dive into why your individual department or entire company should strongly consider investing in the latest platform, software or gadgets on the market.

That’s why Fast Company Executive Board members wanted to share their 10 ideas on how leaders and staff can stay knowledgeable about current digital technology updates.

1. SURVEY SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.

Changes in the industry can be tracked in near real-time through a thoughtful and intentional survey of social media, particularly Twitter. Relatedly, following key technology publications through a news aggregator service can also be effective. These are largely free and open ways to keep up with changes in the industry. – Todd Slind, Locana

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2. FOLLOW AN ASSOCIATION. 

Most industries have a standards body, trade association, or advocacy group that publishes policies, studies, and industry-wide missions for the benefit of the field and all professionals working within the industry. At ArtVersion, when it comes to technology, we closely follow the Internet Society for internet development, evolution, and growth as a global communications infrastructure. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion

3. DON’T BE AFRAID OF CHANGE.

Two things have worked well for me. First, read publications or find reviewers who are constantly talking about the latest changes and releases. This keeps you plugged in on what is coming. Lastly, you have to invest time and/or money trying out the latest and greatest. The worst mistake you can make is to be afraid of change. – Richard Makerson, BlueFletch

4. SKIM INDUSTRY BLOGS. 

Skimming industry blogs is an easy way to stay apprised of the latest technology in my niche. I usually read my industry’s top four blogs every week and it only takes a few minutes. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

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5. GET CUSTOMER FEEDBACK.

Ask your customers what their concerns are and how technology changes are affecting their businesses. We regularly source feedback from customers about their latest security, privacy, and technology concerns to understand how our company needs to address their questions and iterate in the future. This is a great way to ensure your company is evolving in a productive way. – Jason VandeBoom, ActiveCampaign

6. LEARN SOMETHING NEW EACH DAY.

Every day, I spend at least two hours reading and researching with the intention of learning something new. By staying as knowledgeable and up to date as possible, I am better equipped to help drive my company forward in the appropriate direction. It’s much easier to adapt over time rather than all at once when it comes to technology. – Fehzan Ali, Adscend Media LLC

7. PUT ROI SYSTEMS IN PLACE.

Be thoughtful on tech stack needs for today’s success and tomorrow’s growth. Influencer marketing was considered a fad just a few years back—a trend in advertising that wouldn’t last. Advice for anyone investing in this space is to make sure measurement and ROI systems are in place and don’t get complacent with vanity metrics like engagement rate. Have tools to track results. – Jessica Thorpe, gen.video

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8. LEARN FROM OTHERS’ EXPERIENCES.

I love hearing from people in my network about the latest and greatest technology, especially if they are an early adopter type or they bring a unique lens. Some of my favorite folks to ask are those with accessibility challenges, those who invest in innovative technology, or leaders who implement technology for their teams. Tech Crunch is also a solid publication. – Melissa Barash, Mission Driven Finance

9. FIND MEANINGFUL SOURCES OF THOUGHT LEADERSHIP. 

Decide on the thought leaders and forums that are most meaningful to you and take time every week to soak in that information. Keeping up to date is a crucial part of the workweek even if it doesn’t feel like “work.” I also think giving yourself permission to accept that you won’t be up to date on everything is a healthy point of view in our fast-paced, information-saturated world. – Greta McAnany, Blue Fever

10. PUT TECHNOLOGY IN PERSPECTIVE.

While it is important to be aware of tech trends, there is actually danger in chasing new technologies. The most innovative brands understand that technology’s mere existence does not change the world. Instead, technology should be utilized to serve culture and society. When we remember that, we can dictate exactly how technology should serve us rather than allowing technology to control us. – Alain Sylvain, SYLVAIN

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