All of us acquire a “lens” through which we see the world. This is based on past experiences, our readings, our interactions with people and our thinking. Multiple external inputs come together to create the lens for us. This becomes a frame of reference, the “context” in which we see the world. Once the lens is in place, our thinking crosses a “tipping point” giving increasing returns for the time invested. What is also important is to expose ourselves to multiple inputs so that we can have a richer and diversified lens.
The usefulness of having this lens in place becomes evident as we work on building our views on the future and imagining what tomorrow will be like. The lens helps us see elements of the future (and the present) which we would otherwise have missed. It helps us relate developments in other areas to what we are doing. It also helps us apply principles and ideas from segments which may seem quite tangential back to what we are doing.
This is, according to me, one of the ways by which we can make ourselves think innovatively. Aggregating and assimilating readings and writings from different people and viewing them through our unique lens can lead to new and different ways of looking at existing challenges.