Conjuring ideas from thin air is a rare feat. Most of the mythologized eureka moments involve layers of information that lead up to connecting the dots. Before we can combine them into new insight, they must be available to us. Exploration is the fundamental practice of harvesting this information. Alex Pentland and his colleagues at the MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab have conducted extensive research in what makes teams consistently innovative and productive. Using data from mobile phones, credit card records, and sociometric badges they confirmed explorations role. They have observed the individuals who comprise these teams spend an inordinate amount of their time exploring outside of their offices and departments. As the pace of the business cycle accelerates, one must think on your feet and be able to assimilate and evaluate information faster than ever.
Too often we succumb to the availability heuristic where we the most recently available knowledge and experiences permeate our thinking. This phenomenon further reinforces the need to ensure diverse and new information frequently injected into our daily habits. Continuous exposure to new knowledge can ensure we have fuel for new ideas. We need the dots to connect and new insights to bear on the problems we are trying to solve.Read More