Helping Leaders Embrace Emerging Technology

Winning over skeptical leaders and turning them into champions of emerging technology is crucial for driving innovation and long-term success.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, emerging technologies are transforming industries, disrupting traditional ways of working, and unlocking new value pools. Tapping into these value pools, however, requires strong leadership buy-in—which is not always easy to get.

Leaders often take a conservative, skeptical stance with new technologies. They may be waiting for more widespread adoption or looking for a solid business case to emerge before experimenting. They also may have concerns about the cost, complexity, or change management process for the organization (or themselves).

Whatever their reason for skepticism, however, winning over these leaders and turning them into champions of emerging technology is critical for testing, learning, innovating, and, ultimately, driving long-term success.


This is where Learning professionals can make a strong impact. A first step in bridging the skeptic-to-champion chasm is conducting an engaging, hands-on leadership learning session (or broader program). This can quickly catalyze mindset and behavior shifts, but only if done with three strategic principles:

1. Demonstrate commercial impact. Showcasing new technologies must be done in the context of practical value to the leaders’ work, such as gains in efficiency, productivity, revenues, customer experience, employee engagement, brand elevation, and other key metrics. Providing relatable case studies can be particularly effective in building buy-in for new technologies. Learning professionals can invite guest speakers from within the industry or organization who have already implemented emerging technologies successfully to share their experiences and insights.

2. Provide a wow factor. Mindsets change faster with an emotional “wow factor” that inspires leaders to explore emerging technologies further. This can be achieved by showcasing the most visually engaging, immersive, or cost-saving use cases to generate excitement about their transformative potential. Personalization helps, as well. Instead of using generic imagery and data, including lightly customized assets as part of the demo can enhance emotional engagement. Incorporating hands-on, experiential learning as much as possible also helps create connections and personal memories that drive retention and buy-in.

3. Make experimenting easy. When leaders start considering how to apply emerging technologies to their businesses, it is important to make experimenting as easy as possible. This means quickly channeling their energy toward concrete ways to test their ideas to determine their effectiveness. This can involve setting up small-scale pilots or prototypes to test their ideas, or conducting surveys with customers or employees to gather feedback. Learning professionals can make this easier by offering with suggestions of cost-effective, low-friction ways to get started.


Winning over skeptical leaders and turning them into champions of emerging technology is crucial for driving innovation and long-term success. They cast an important leadership shadow that shapes long-term innovation culture.

This is where Learning professionals can make a significant, strategic impact on the organization. By conducting engaging, hands-on technology learning sessions and making experimentation easy and accessible, they can help skeptical leaders become champions of innovation. This will enable them to reshape their leadership shadow and inspire their teams to embrace new technologies, innovate for the future, and build sustainable advantage in the market.

Yulia Barnakova
Yulia Barnakova is passionate about helping people develop the skills and learning mindset to thrive in the digital age. She is always experimenting with emerging technologies and has been recognized by Microsoft as a “Most Valuable Professional” for her creative presentation technology tutorials, which have more than 8 million views on YouTube. Her recent TEDx Talk, Think You’re Not Tech Savvy? Here’s Why You Are, shows how everyone can (and must) develop the mindset and skill set embrace technology. Barnakova is an emerging tech strategist for Accenture, a global technology consulting firm. In her role, she works with Fortune 500 leaders to envision how emerging technologies will transform their business and how to stay ahead.