Most tech pros closely follow tech news and developments because of their passion for the field. However, tech leaders can’t rely solely on that innate curiosity to ensure their team members stay up to date on the latest industry developments. It’s essential to set aside time and provide resources for team members to explore cutting-edge, relevant tech trends to ensure your company remains competitive.Creating a culture of learning not only contributes to your tech team members’ happiness and growth, but also ensures your team will continue to build products and services that customers truly need and want. Below, 16 members of Forbes Technology Council detail the ways they ensure their teams stay ahead of the game in terms of new technology and trends.1. Hold Regular Meetings Focused On Tech TrendsWe have a scheduled weekly tech trend meeting and announcements. Each member of the team shares their knowledge of new and trending technologies. I also encourage members of the team to join known technology groups, forums and chat groups and to attend events and webinars. One other strategy is to regularly invite original equipment manufacturers and technology vendors to come and share knowledge on new and innovative technologies and improvements. – Dr. Samuel Mbonu, Tangerine Africa2. Allocate Time For Personal And Community Projects And SabbaticalsWorld-class organizations that want to foster curiosity and innovation in their engineering cultures often allocate time in their resource plans for personal projects, community or open-source projects, and sabbaticals. It’s a time-tested approach used by think tanks and universities around the world. – Dan Branco, GSI Solutions3. Include All Teams And Cover Multiple TopicsWe use Slack across the board, including all teams within our company—field, product, engineering, HR and sales—and covering a wide range of topics, including well-being, mental health and so on. This helps us to align and drive collaboration. But this is just one among the many tools and resources we use to drive the dissemination of information, including intranets, wikis and so on. The only issue becomes maintaining all of these different communication tools! – Navaid Khan, Cohesity4. Implement An ‘Innovation Intake’ ProcessWe have implemented an “innovation intake” process wherein anyone and everyone in the company can make recommendations or highlight new trends. It’s important to understand why a tech trend or a new technology caught someone’s attention, to detail and understand the features they liked, and to assess the value that could be delivered. This helps us prioritize our roadmap accordingly and empowers us to be tech enablers for the firm. – Karthik Ranganathan, SupportNinja5. Build Learning Into The CultureIf you’ve built learning into your culture, more individuals will not only “keep up,” but more critically, they will help share and evangelize organically. This not only helps spread knowledge naturally and sustainably, but it also reinforces the culture of learning. – Andy Lin, Provoke Solutions6. Dedicate Communication Channels To Sharing Industry NewsWe use internal communication channels dedicated to regularly sharing industry news so that everyone on our team is in the loop on changes impacting our business and those around us. Depending on the news, discussion threads often take off and actionable ideas are formed. – Mikael Berner, Edison7. Leverage A Combination Of StrategiesI have three key strategies when it comes to keeping the technology team up to date and curious. First, I allow the team to spend time each month on a project that they find interesting, as long as they are willing to present it to the rest of the team. Second, I survey the team for top technologies they would like to learn about in the upcoming year. Finally, I encourage team members to participate in hackathons. – Brandi Vandegriff, Alchemer8. Stay In Close Communication With CustomersStaying ahead of the game in tech isn’t just about following the latest buzzwords. We need to understand the foundational challenges impacting our customers and the ways they work. This requires consistently communicating with customers about their needs and pain points, ensuring that feedback is cascaded throughout the organization and using that information to guide decisions. – Andrés Irlando, Zayo Group9. Have The Team Interact With Outside Industry Peers And ExpertsWe take a few different approaches to keep our tech pros in the know. These include interacting with industry peers, attending trade shows and conferences and having external experts or vendors share their insights with the team about industry trends and topics. – Prasad Ramakrishnan, Freshworks10. Schedule Lunch-And-LearnsBuild a culture of sharing throughout the team. If you see an article of interest, share it with your team and tell them why it caught your attention. Encourage them to do the same. If something is of particular interest to your organization, schedule a lunch-and-learn on the topic and tap one of your team members to facilitate (be sure to give them time to prepare). – Jeffrey Ton, InterVision11. Encourage Team Members To Try Out New Technology FirsthandAny developer or development leader can follow trending new tech on platforms such as GitHub or via media like NewsStack. But one way to stay ahead of trends is to take advantage of open-source or freemium projects and incubator or tech previews. Trends are good, but nothing compares to developers trying out new technology firsthand. – Juliette Rizkallah, Kong Inc.12. Invest In A Training LibraryAs a tech company, we pay for access to a library of tech training that includes over 7,000 courses. If the training is specific to a particular job function or project, it’s available during company time, while the rest is available outside of business hours. Also, we encourage our tech people to attend events that are centered around their technology focus and skill set. – Kevin Beasley, VAI13. Keep Up Active Learning Channels And Promote Active ContributionParamount in a learning culture is having active channels and active contributors. We have a shared digital messaging group to promote and share new, cool tech innovations and articles. Naturally, these shares lead to informal conversations and discussions—both in person and virtually—which in turn fuels further posts and discussions. Everyone contributes, but the key here is informality. – Markus Bernhardt, OBRIZUM14. Set Aside Time In Team Meetings To Talk About TrendsTech leaders can help their teams stay informed about new technologies by carving out time in team meetings to discuss trends, which can ultimately lead to productive brainstorming sessions. I also recommend leaders reserve and track training budgets for their teams so they can learn the latest tech. Leaders should then integrate new tech training and learning into employees’ MBOs and goals. – Ed Macosky, Boomi15. Employ GamificationIt’s good to insert gamification into daily tech routines so that the team is encouraged to gain new knowledge on various topics. For example, one can use the “What? Where? When?” game, in which team members respond to questions related to their tech field within a limited time, and the responses are decided in a collaborative, discussion-based manner. It increases knowledge, and it’s fun! – Aleks Farseev, SoMin.ai16. Appoint A Knowledge Curator (Or Curators)One effective method is to have a dedicated team or individual responsible for keeping up with the latest developments and sharing that information with the rest of the department. This could involve setting up Google Alerts for relevant keywords, subscribing to industry newsletters or attending conferences and trade shows. – Andres Zunino, ZirconTech
This article was originally published by forbes.