Online education portals like Udacity and Coursera are really changing the world of remote learning in significant ways. By making free and high quality education accessible to a global audience, these platforms are opening up undreamt of possibilities for communities around the world to improve, grow, and prosper in the digital economy of the 21st century. Education at top tier colleges and universities has traditionally been a social and economic privilege, but now anyone can join in the learning revolution by sitting in virtual classrooms with the world’s best and brightest educators. Whether this involves learning how to code and build smart phone apps, or starting up a new business, or learning about public health literacy, the sky is the limit of what’s now possible.

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Keeping an eye on emerging & disruptive technology

In today’s ultra-fast-paced world technology has become the key differentiator for businesses to set themselves apart from the competition. Translated, this means that without first hand optics on the latest and greatest technologies and how they’re rapidly changing the marketplace and affecting the consumer, businesses will fall behind . . . guaranteed!




Business leaders who hold positions of influence in companies must make smart and agile decisions about how to embrace and adopt emerging and disruptive technologies to grow their verticals. By the way, a disruptive technology, or disruptive innovation, is defined as one “that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.”

There are a number of things that every business leader should be mindful of when it comes to tracking the latest trends in technology. Let’s go through some of the best practices you should adopt to keep pace with all the changes and stay ahead of your competitors.

Understand Gartner’s Nexus of Forces: According to Gartner, “The nexus of forces describes the convergence and mutual reinforcement of four interdependent trends: social interaction, mobility, cloud, and information. The forces combine to empower individuals as they interact with each other and their information through well-designed ubiquitous technology.” It’s critical for business leaders to understand how this nexus is transforming the home, business, and society on multiple levels.




Build an Emerging Tech practice: Gather together a small team of emerging tech researchers and strategists who can map the latest disruptions in your vertical against organizational business goals. Have them develop quarterly updates as well as 6-12 month outlooks around the most pressing areas in your industry. Get them involved in conferences and other networking events to keep your leadership team updated of the latest technology trends.

Innovate, Innovate, Innovate: Innovation has become a big “buzzword” in business circles over the past few years and everyone is scrambling to get onboard. Technology progress means that innovation is now happening on a scale never seen before . . . and so is disruption. Don’t ever think that your company has arrived! Business leaders must make frequent assessments and inventories about where their organizations stand on the innovation spectrum.

Internet of Things is the next Big thing: Internet of Things (connecting physical objects to the web) represents the next major disruption of the Internet. Gartner recently reported that Internet of Things has now even replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. And Cisco thinks IoT will have five to 10 times the impact on society as the Internet itself and is projecting a $19 trillion dollar market in the next decade. Should the Internet of Everything even become a fraction of this, business leaders better not miss out on this epic trend!

Understand the Future of the Internet: Earlier in the year Pew Research released an influential report called Digital Life in 2025 that brought together many experts to crystallize 15 predictions about the digital future. A nice summary of the 15 predictions are offered here. Don’t overlook the implications of this report and what it can mean for your business strategy.

Leverage 3-D Printing: This disruptive technology may well spawn the next industrial revolution. It requires low overhead and puts prototyping and manufacturing easily in the hands of the small business innovator. As one source points out, “For $1,299 . . . anyone can now buy a 3D printer, hook it up to a wi-fi network, and begin downloading files that will turn into real objects.”

Be smart about Smart machines: Technologies driven by artificial intelligence will dramatically transform our offices and homes. Examples are contextually aware devices (smartphones that user information influence computer behavior), intelligent virtual personal assistants, smart advisors (think IBM Watson), advanced global industrial systems, and driverless cars. Gartner says that the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT and one study claims that nearly 47% of all current U.S. jobs may be outsourced to smart machine in the next two decades.

Get onboard with Telepresence robotics: The virtual worker is becoming major factor in business development today and companies are scrambling to adapt. Telepresence robots are creating new options for employees to collaborate remotely. The consumer robotics market is expected to reach $6.5 billion by 2017; telepresence will comprise a major segment of a market already dominated by task and entertainment robots.

Educate and empower your employees: Over the past 3 years Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs for short, have disrupted education by offering high quality courses to a global audience for free. Online learning platforms like Udacity, Coursera, Khan Academy, and edX now provide a convenient way for your employees to brush up on a new skill, inspire novel ideas about an existing project, or give them tools to develop a new career path.




There was a time when a business could get by for a while without a social media or mobile strategy, but those days are long gone. Now leveraging the latest technologies is essential for a business to stay afloat. If you’re not tracking these changes, your competition will. So start today and get on the fast track to developing your emerging and disruptive technology strategy plan.

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called, along with oversight and leadership of - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.