In order to be able to connect the dots between random and seemingly disconnected things—a key element of innovation—you must know at least a little about a lot of things.
The single best way I know to do this is by reading widely.
Read books. Read magazines. Read newspapers. Read websites—especially online encyclopedias, which have a higher density of useful links than most any other source.
And I said read, not skim. (Mostly.)
To a certain extent, you must skim, because this is the most efficient way to learn about a wide variety of subject matter.
For instance, my boss told me he subscribes to about a hundred publications. There is no way he can read but a fraction of those. But by reading some, and skimming the rest, he learns about the latest happenings across many disciplines. And I’m convinced this broad and up-to-date knowledge is one of the key enablers to making him a visionary.
But you must read deeply in at least three areas. The first is obviously in your chosen field. The second must be for fun—preferably fiction. The third must be in a field that is totally unrelated, even diametrically opposed.
Then pick another 6–12 fields or topics to skim.
Jeremy subscribes to 100 technical or trade journals…