As a senior engineer I'm expected to keep an eye out for technology that may be useful for the company. I set time aside to poke around, see what's out there, and play with new stuff. Some of this may end up being only of personal interest, while some of it may end up being useful for the company. Until I have a look at it, I won't know.
I'll spend half a day on something on my own responsibility, a morning or an afternoon, before I seek buy-in from my boss to proceed further.