If we want to broaden our intellectual horizons it's important to remember our natural tendency to drift towards and eventually connect with only likeminded people. Stories of innovation and discovery throughout history illustrate how important this point is. My favorite, which doesn’t get told enough, is the discovery of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB), a key piece of evidence that changed our understanding of the origin of the universe forever....
The story of CMB reminds us that when it comes to solving difficult problems, a fresh set of eyes, even one that comes from a different field, is vital. The CMB story shows itself in one form or another many times throughout history. The world’s great ideas are as much about other people as they are about the individual who makes it into the textbook.
Before she became Tiger Mother, Amy Chua described the value of diversity in ideas and people to some of the "hyperpowers" in history. Ethan Zuckerman has written at length and critically on our tendency to seek out others like ourselves. Aside from the "opposites" link above, Jonah Lehrer has pointed to research on how diverse social neworks come with "real, tangible benefits" for entrepreneurs.
Each of these people have spoken at the IdeaFestival, by the way. If you've never been to the festival, why not make plans to be there this year? You're guaranteed to encounter people and ideas that will inspire and energize you.