Diversify Your Input!

Today I would like you to reflect on a key thing that helps me create new ideas and also helps bring things together.

Because, when you do this you will generate the opportunity to link other things together well. But, if you don’t do this you could miss out on the obvious clues and connections to bring things together. I’m talking about ‘diversifying your input’.

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What do I mean by this term “diversifying your inputs”? It’s when you go out and start to look around at a wider variety of subjects, not necessarily just looking at what is your own specialist subject area.

Let’s face it, when you are only looking at just one specific specialist subject area, whether that is Computing, finance, law etc you will inevitably be working with the same people and doing the same old things day-to-day.  You will be writing the same kind of documents and having the same kind of ideas and results.

This tunnel vision way of working doesn’t really help you in the long term, as it doesn’t bring in a wider, richer, diverse body of information and solutions.

There is a high probability that other organisations may well have had better ideas on how to successfully accomplish similar tasks.  They may have already solved the same problems that you’ve been struggling with for ages. By looking beyond your own subject area for the solutions, you can quite often take parallel ideas and use them to get the success you were looking for.

Chunk Things Down

Rather than just thinking about the “whole” problem or issues as a singular problem, if you chunk things down into a range of smaller components, it can work much better.  By working on these smaller component parts you can more easily look at similar and related areas for the solution.   “Diversifying your inputs”, later you can fit these smaller component solutions back together and make something new.

Many people that I have worked with over the years have sadly had the attitude, “well I really don’t like doing that”, or “I only like to be an expert in my own subject”, or “I don’t need to read about other subject areas for solutions”. Being so narrow-minded they will potentially miss the opportunity to make broader connections with other ideas and solutions that can frequently provide great results.

I’m going to leave you with this thought; are you going to diversify your input materials and therefore make those connections that other people don’t?  In doing so are you also going to enjoy learning about something new and open your mind to new possibilities that are awaiting you? Or are you just going to continue to look only at your specific subject and then wonder why you never innovate in any way?

As the author Steven Johnson once said, “Chance favours the connected mind”.