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Foresight tool: A simple scanning technique to open up your thinking

Try this: dip into a stream of online news, or get out a daily newspaper or newsmagazine, and consider how every single item can relate to the topic, issue, etc. that you are exploring. For now, take the perspective that everything is related to your topic. If the news item, blog post, etc. does not seem relevant, still let it trigger your thoughts. Keep an open mind, make connections.
In my experiences in doing this, I have found that I get to insights I probably would not have, and importantly, I test and usually expand the boundaries around the topic that I am playing with. At first blush, many things seem beyond the reach of the subject, but by taking a moment to think about them, you will realize how they connect, or what other ideas they make you think of. This is a brainstorming technique, really, but as a tool for discovering forces, trends, issues, interrelationships, and so on, it's a great, simple foresight tool too. 
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