By Snigdha Sen

(Business 2.0) – Staying abreast of the latest technology isn't easy in a fast-paced world, but Booz Allen Hamilton may have found the perfect way to ensure that its workers keep up. The $3.7 billion consulting giant keeps a 1,000-square-foot "technology petting zoo" at its McLean, Va., headquarters, where employees are free to touch and test any of the 260 gadgets and software programs on display, including many products still in beta. Bruce Gregor, the zoo's director, says vendors big and small welcome the chance to show off their latest wares, while employees get access to useful products. That's how consultant Cameron Mayer discovered one of his favorite tools: iGrafx Process, a Corel product he then used to help a key client, the U.S. Army, manage technology requisitions from soldiers in Iraq.