IV. Keeping up with digital technology advancements

Keeping up with digital technology advancements


Organization digital transformation and digital business capabilities depend on managerial digital business competencies (e.g. to lead digital transformation and digital innovation efforts). These competencies, in turn, depend on managers’ability to keep up with and therefore be able to leverage digital technology advancements. Keeping up with digital technologies is increasingly becoming a critical component of “expert leadership” in digitalizing and fully digital businesses. This means it is becoming critical to all expert leaders (e.g. healthcare leaders, political leaders, engineering leaders, food and beverage leaders). As a result, keeping up with digital technologies is increasingly critical to the effectiveness of hospitality and leisure managers. In this chapter, we conceptualize keeping up with digital technologies as an accelerated learning practice. That is, hospitality and leisure managers can keep up with digital technologies to the extent that they can accelerate or align their digital technology learning rate to the rate of change in digital technologies. Accelerated learning, or learning efficiency, has individual beliefs/attitudes/traits levers that can be influenced, and it has learning strategies/practices/habits levers that can be adopted/learned. In this chapter, we unpack each of these lever types and explain how they interact together to drive the accelerated learning/ learning efficiency necessary to keep up with digital technology advancements.

Importance and challenge of keeping up with digital technologies

In the preceding chapters, we outlined the threat of digital disruption, the pressing need for digital transformation, and the digital capabilities required by organizations to effectively compete as a digital business. For each of these organization digital capabilities, we highlighted required managerial competencies (knowledge, skills, abilities). A recurring theme in all organization digital capabilities is the need for hospitality and leisure managers to have sufficient technical and strategic knowledge of and proficiency with a range of different digital technologies. Without such knowledge, skills, and abilities across different digital technologies, hospitality and leisure managers can become key impediments to their organizations’ digital transformation and digital business competitiveness efforts — and can also limit their own managerial careers. However, hospitality and leisure managers face challenges effectively acquiring the required working knowledge of different digital technologies and keeping it relevant. For example, the range of digital technologies to have working knowledge and skills in is broad, it’s ever changing, and it seems to expand in breadth and depth at an exponential rate. As a result, keeping up with it can easily overwhelm even the most enthusiastic of managers. Managers who succeed at it recognize that technology learning is a never-ending process that combines effective technology learning habits/practices with effective strategies to maximize both what is learned and the efficiency with which it is learned.

Common strategies and practices for keeping up with digital technologies

The challenge of keeping up with digital technologies is not unique to hospitality and leisure managers. Across different industries, job functions, and professions, a range of strategies and practices are employed to keep up with digital technologies. In the remainder of this chapter, we’ve curated a list of commonly used strategies and practices from both academic research and from practitioners. This list is just a starting point, and what works for one manager may not work for another. Our aim in putting together this list is to start managers on the never-ending journey of seeking out effective strategies and practices to add to their repertoire and leveraging the right strategy or practice for them, at the right time, and for the right technology, to maximize their learning and learning efficiency.

Strategies and practices from the research on technological knowledge renewal effectiveness

Framing it as technological knowledge renewal effectiveness, researchers exploring challenges and drivers of effectiveness at keeping up with digital technologies have identified three individual beliefs/attitudes/traits and two technology learning strategies. The identified individual beliefs/attitudes/traits are a perceived need for digital technology competencies, sufficient appreciation of the technology learning challenge, and tolerance for ambiguity.1 The identified technology learning strategies are learning from external experts and learning from internal experts.2 We explain each of these below. Each of these individual beliefs/attitudes/traits and learning strategies can be thought of as a lever that can be turned one way to accelerate technology learning; or turned another way to decelerate it.

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