10 ways to feed your hunger to consume

The smartest business people I know are always hungry. They've insatiable appetites to keep consuming knowledge and developing understanding of the world. Their thirst for knowledge expands behind their comfort zones and the most astute frequently force themselves into the unknown or unappealing even it's to simply suck it and see.

It's no coincidence the same people were early and most passionate adopters of social media given its power to connect, consume, share and collaborate. And certainly no surprise to me they're typically the ones to react quickest to emerging trends or develop compelling products and services people really want.

Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project, is so passionate about consuming information and meeting people he otherwise wouldn't, he only accepts every third invite regardless of what that results in him attending or missing. He's also introduced a policy at Eden where all staff frequently read books picked for them by others and must cook a meal for their colleagues.

Tim passionately believes "all strong leaders should regularly take their views to the cleaner". Check out what he had to say on the subject when we interviewed him

If you could do with stepping outside your comfort zone, here are 10 ways to consume something new:

  1. Watch a TED talk every day - obvious once you're in the TED crew, not obvious when you're not.
  2. Follow more people on Twitter. Forget the ego-flattery of having a high follower to following ratio and instead benefit from a wider stream of thoughts and opinions.
  3. Use YouTube and Flickr as search engines - you should find what you're looking for AND something valuable you're not.
  4. Engage in popular culture. Read tabloid newspapers, watch The Apprentice, X-Factor, Big Brother, Eastenders every now and again. Use iTunes and Amazon to keep an eye on the music and book charts.
  5. Get into audiobooks - even if you can skim read a 300 page book on the tube, will you? Audiobooks get the job done.
  6. Speak to children and young people. Ask them what they did today, what they're and what frustrates them.
  7. Network erratically. Go to events for industries that have no relevance to you. You'll go from being the same as everyone else in the room to being the one who's different and interesting. Network in different cities.
  8. Shake up your social scene. Visit your local gallery every month regardless of the exhibition. Let your friends pick the movie, play, gig, restaurant. Find out about talks in your area and go along. Take an evening course in something totally different.
  9. Check out and sign-up to Springwise and other sites that give you regular idea and trend updates.
  10. Read US magazines and websites. Watch live streams of US events.
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