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Innovation: How to stay ahead as a contractor

Being in the know and up to date on current technologies is no longer enough for the independent contractor.
2 minute read

With disruptive technologies becoming increasingly mainstream, it is more important than ever to look ahead and keep abreast of the latest technologies and developments in technical innovation.

But how?

Even though independent contractors have a significant advantage over the traditional company employee, there is a glaring potential disadvantage. They must keep abreast of the myriad of technical innovations to be able to stand out from the crowd. We have compiled a round-up of ways to do this.

1. Watch Technical Innovation TED Talks

Technology. Entertainment. Design. TED Talks very often bring a unique viewpoint to a diverse range of topics! With technology and innovation talks being a huge part of what makes TED Talks so beneficial to the likes of independent contractors. Often where there are no colleagues to run ideas by and discuss new tech with so listening to experts in their field talk for anything from 10 to 30 minutes on tech topics can prove enormously helpful. Even if you are unable to attend conferences specific to your industry on a regular basis, TED Talks can be an excellent stand-in to keep you updated on the latest technical advances. Especially those that are relevant to your industry. There are thousands of talks to choose from, and there’s even an app!

2. Read technology research reports

Keeping an eye out for reports from larger and more established companies within the technology realm is another brilliant way to keep yourself updated on the latest tech innovations as an independent contractor. Numerous reports are produced by different sources frequently. It’s a good idea to sign up for one or more of these types of services.  If you have a research report on the latest technologies in your inbox, pour yourself a coffee and read about what’s new in the tech world.  Some inspiring sources include Popular Mechanics, Deloitte and KPMG.

3. Track social media

With thought leadership articles being published daily on LinkedIn within a variety of industries, there is no shortage of news around technical innovation. As an independent contractor you are probably on LinkedIn anyway, so why not follow some popular sources in your industry? Tech innovators are a brilliant way to keep yourself updated on the latest tech developments! Since a quick search and follow is only a few clicks of a mouse away, a sea of information is literally at your fingertips. Don’t forget Twitter as a veritable source of information too. Follow thought leaders and other tech “know-it-alls”, as well as the accounts of the big innovators in your industry.

4. Follow technical innovation news

Following the trends in technical innovation can help your business as an independent contractor immensely. It is vital to find ways to follow the news rather than wait for it to come to you. New tech trends are emerging almost daily! Thankfully, there are helpful sources from where to glean all the information you’ll need to keep up from.  Apps, email subscriptions, websites etc. Depending on whether you want high level and easily digestible information, or you prefer in-depth updates on your chosen topics, there’s a service to suit you.

For reputable online thought leaders producing a range of industry publications take a look at Recode and TechExplore. Handy apps include TechCrunch and Tech News Tube, while websites like WIRED, The Verge and BBC News’ Tech section provide a mix of tech news. Sign up for an email subscription to any (or all) of these and never miss an update. Another noteworthy news source for technical innovation is Engadget which has a range of news on all things related to consumer tech.

A constantly inquiring mind is key when it comes to keeping abreast of the latest tech news and developments. Stay open to new information, read regularly and liaise with other independent contractors in your field of expertise. Discuss the latest tech influencing the industry and never stop learning. Being aware of a new tech development before your competition could just secure you that new account!

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