FRESH OFF A DAY-LONG session with web-savvy students, I'm looking at how to explain the roadmap I use to view the world of emerging trends. Straightaway, I don't know if my route is worth following.
A lot of what I do involves falling into rabbit holes. I've dug and dug into social bookmarks, followed streams of consciousness on Twitter, and occasionally showed the discipline to read the hundreds of pages that drop onto my Kindle every week.
By my own admission, I need more clever listening because even reading 2000 words per minute, I fall behind on a weekly basis.
Nonetheless, I think my strategy is sound. I start with watchlists that include terms I need to explore or hashtags on Twitter that I should follow. I constantly review reading lists, trying to find precise chapters and paragraphs that deliver the greatest meaning. And I spend time to poke around the landing zones (i.e., the company websites or personal blog pages) of trust agents worth following.
Some of this process respects serendipity. That means I get to flick through stacks of interesting photos on Flickr and Google Plus. I also permit myself time to view a few exceptional video clips on Vimeo every day.
The insider's tip I should reveal is this--you need to spend some time every day in deep thought, perhaps arising after reading a minimum of 80 pages in a standard book. That deep immersion, away from a computer screen, takes a reader to a special mental place. That's what I'm going to do now.