Industry leaders and large-scale enterprises are continually monitoring the latest innovations and emerging technologies in their respective fields. But to individuals operating further down the hierarchy, it can seem like a waste of time to keep up with all this information. Still, everyone can derive valuable benefits from being on top of new developments – here are some of the possibilities.
Exploring new opportunities
Innovation is exciting, but it can also be unpredictable or disruptive. Those who risk adverse consequences from a disruption are the established players – more specifically, the ones who maintain a reactive attitude, relying solely on tried-and-tested practices. If you’re aware of new developments and are willing to give them a try, you can capitalize on a wide-open field of new opportunities.
The legal industry is a case in point. Some areas of the law have such well-defined procedures that what matters is hiring the right attorney. Get into a collision while driving a Harley-Davidson down quiet roads in Kent, and a great motorcycle accident lawyer is the solution. But in emerging fields of legal practice, there may be several gray areas. Cases regarding artificial intelligence where ‘machine testimony’ or liability are being disputed will provide even newcomers with the chance to immediately develop expertise and take advantage of the unpredictable opportunities that new technology is creating.
Pivoting at the right time
Sometimes, new technology may not immediately make waves. Conditions might not be right – in the early days of the oil industry, for example, kerosene was the preferred product for lighting lamps; the market for refined petroleum didn’t exist, and in many ways wasn’t fully realized until the advent of the internal combustion engine.
Failing to capitalize on new trends doesn’t mean the window of opportunity is closed. When the widespread use of the internet led to a rise in illegal file-sharing at the turn of the millennium, intellectual property rights and piracy were a big issue. At the time, Netflix was just a slow-growing DVD rental and recommendation service, but the company persisted in tinkering with the new platform and finding ways to deliver content. Eventually, improvements in streaming led to the business taking off and becoming a global leader in content production and distribution – something that wouldn’t have been possible without persistence and mastery of emerging developments.
Increasing personal value
Keeping abreast of innovations isn’t something that exclusively benefits entrepreneurs or leaders. Individuals working in any industry will benefit from being informed of changes at the frontiers of their field. Even if there are no direct implications in your current position, being knowledgeable improves others’ perception of you. It could be customers treating you (and by extension, your company) with greater respect; colleagues would appreciate the value of networking with you, which opens doors in many unforeseeable ways. Thought leadership isn’t just a buzzword. People who have demonstrated a passion for their profession will invariably be interested in the latest developments, and this plays a big part in what enables those individuals to excel at what they do and advance further in their careers.
Whether you follow hot topics or industry leaders, you’ll find no shortage of ways to become better informed about your chosen profession or field. Far from being a waste of time, this knowledge stimulates creativity and will allow you to reap the benefits down the line.