The IdeaFestival was founded on the assumption that most people have little opportunity to get out of their field to learn how to integrate, and apply to their area of interest, important ideas.
The quote above reminded me of a blog post last week at Psychology Today, "How our Senses Influence Creativity," in which the author makes the point that an ability to think broadly, or creatively, depends to an extent on what our senses are telling us.
Such research demonstrates strong links between perception and cognition. For instance, research has found that the concept of power is related to vertical spatial positions: powerful groups and powerful animals were identified more quickly when they were at the top of the screen, whereas there was no effect for powerless groups and animals. Another study found that when participants held a heavy (vs. light) clipboard, they invested more cognitive effort in dealing with abstract issues, such as displaying more elaborate thinking.
One of the real ironies of our hyperconnected age - my view - is that the information we process while compulsively texting, checking email or answering the phone takes far too much time in the march happening in our prefrontal cortex and contributes far too little to the creative process. Fixed on the fleeting detail, we lose the bigger picture. At the moment, we're focused on the vibration in our pockets. At the moment, we're thinking about the call we should make to a business associate. Staring at the drive-through monitor, at the moment we might supersize that lunch.
Stop. Give yourself a chance to incorporate what your eyes and ears are telling you.
The IdeaFestival is the perfect place to put aside the phone for a little cognitive down time "out of your field." You'll be surprised at the unexpected left-field connection that happens.