I have SXSW FOMO......
My husband and I went last year for the first time to SXSW, the famous tech festival in Austin which is happening right now, and this year, we missed it.
While we had a blast, we were beginners overwhelmed by the whole app and ticket reservation process. But, on the bright side, our aimless wandering in line led us to meet some incredible people.
One highlight of the conference was seeing Amy Webb live on stage, futurist, CEO of the Future Today Institute, and professor at NYU Stern School of Business, speak about her annual "Emerging Tech Trend Report."
This session was mindblowing and stretched my mind to understand in which direction our society is moving as technology is taking over the world.
And this brings me to the topic of today's blog post:
How can non-innovation experts with full-time jobs improve their digital skills to future-proof their careers?
Seeing the future doesn't require a crystal ball. Instead, you need the ability to connect the dots from the past and identify patterns that will help you anticipate future trends. Examining the past can gain valuable insights into what's coming next.
And here are my eight proven tips to help you level up your Digital Literacy skills all the way up to Digital Fluency:
Tip 1: Trend Reports
Discover which emerging technologies will transform your business by finding trend reports for your industry and reading through them. Consider watching summary talks or reading books from industry experts.
As I mentioned above, I love Amy Webb's annual trend reports, and on March 11, 2023, she revealed her 16th version at SXSW - brand new! You can read it here.
It's a must-read for every employee in whatever industry but if you are too busy, watch at least the one-hour summary talk on youtube (not out yet 03/13/2023); in the meantime, here is the talk from last year) - and from now on, every year. You can do this, it's fantastic stuff for free!
Another amazing trend report is from Accenture.
"Building on the 15-year legacy of Fjord Trends, this report—Accenture Life Trends 2023—has the same inspiring content. This year's report is rooted in life centricity and examines the ways in which people are adapting their lives and making use of emerging technology to meet their changing needs."
You will find more by searching for "trend reports 2023 + (your vertical/industry)".
Tip 2: Tech Books / Newsletters
Another idea is to read books like "Tech Trends in Practice" from innovation experts such as Bernard Marr or Peter Diamandis and because of the fast pace of technology, subscribe to their newsletters (or dive deeper and join his Abundance Digital Community) to get a quick and easily digestible overview of what's happening in the tech world.
Tip 3: Social Media Platforms
Another fun way to analyze the past and connect the dots in the future is via Social Media Platforms, e.g., Instagram, YouTube or TikTok. Here, for example, is the "What's Next 2023 TikTok Report". These reports gather data throughout the year and unveil new content patterns that reveal emerging behaviors and interest shifts.
Tip 4: Start-up Maps
Check what subcategories they have defined and think about the challenges in these areas and how these startups can help solve them. Which technology are they using?
Tip 5: Investor Portfolios
Analyze investor portfolios like Andreesen Horowitz or the @sequoia "Gen AI Market Map." This is another way of analyzing and betting on the future by checking where industry experts invest their money.
Tip 6: Events / Conferences
If you can't attend in person, check out the websites and analyze the program and speaker topics to identify what industry challenges and emerging technologies they think are most prominent.
Tip 7: Generative AI
In one of my blog posts, I experimented with ChatGPT as Innovation Assistant, helping me to dive deeper into my client's industry challenges quickly. You can check out my prompts here.
And if you want to level your game, check out the LinkedIn Carousel of Philippe De Ridder, CEO of the Board of Innovation, who shares his 20 prompts on using "ChatGPT if you're an innovator."
Tip 8: Keep learning
That is the most important tip of all eight: Allocate at least two hours in your calendar at the start of each year to gain a holistic understanding of the tech landscape. Throughout the year, focus continuously explore specific topics relevant to your job using Mind Map Brainstorming Tools like Mural or Miro. These tools will help you connect the dots and identify key patterns, providing valuable insights for yourself and jour job. Your boss will like it, too :-) If you repeat these eight tips every year, you will suddenly see the bigger picture - no crystal ball needed!
Remember, it's not a one-and-done deal. You need to keep learning and experimenting continuously to become digitally fluent.
👎🏼 Your turn: Start leveling up your digital literacy skills today and share with us your tips in the comments.