elearnspace.org posted a link to an article by Jason Pontin 10 Ways to Think about Innovation. I was struck #4 - "Innovators find inspiration in disparate disciplines."
My instinct is to gather information - much like a squirrel will gather interesting objects for the nest. The information may not necessarily have anything directly to do with what I am (or should be working) on.
Case in point - the book I am currently reading - Will Write for Food. I love food writing. How someone can come up with interesting ways to say "Dinner was yummy" or "this dish was disgusting" over and over again fascinates me. The lessons in base-line writing skills don't hurt either. Even if most of my professional writing consists of step-by-step instructions. At some point, I will figure out how to apply the lessons I'm learning from all of this information.
A great thing about blogging and bloggers is that it is much easier to find people of a similar mind. David Seah's blog addresses issues surrounding productivity, creativity, and being a generalist in a specialist's world. I wish I could find the original article in his archives where he talks about "scanners" - people who compulsively gather information. Still - what impresses me about him and many of the other blogs I find myself bookmarking is that these people are not afraid to gather new information or ideas - even if they do not have an immediate use for it yet. It is comforting to find kindred spirits.