So I've been thinking today . . .
I'm discovering that face-to-face conversations are critical components of my ability to synthesize. I know that I often prefer them to other media (assuming I have the option of an interesting one), but I wasn't totally aware of what they do for me until yesterday and today.
Had several interesting conversations with 4 different people in the last 2 days. All of them were about different topics, but I walked away with major insights from each one—insights that came after 10-15 minutes of conversation in almost every case (in other words, it wasn't the length of the conversation that produced the insight).
Explaining my thoughts to other people and having them bounce questions back helps me "crop" the ideas quickly (think of a chef chopping vegetables—slice, slice, slice so quickly and so decisively that you wonder how he manages to miss his fingers each time—well, I noticed my mind doing that today. One comment and slice, there went a huge chunk of the idea, a question and chop, there went another major piece, until after a few minutes, the whole thing is crystal clear and very condensed in my head.)
Applying the concept of cropping to ideas is interesting to me.