If you spend time laying in the grass looking up at the stars or the changing clouds you will see patterns, even if you are not trying to see patterns. A cloud may be a dog, a cat or airplane. Your imagination will see patterns on a changing abstract background. What your mind sees is constrained by your environment and experience, e.g. caveman might see a bird where you see an airplane.
The same applies to innovation. An individual will tend to look at the abstract cloudy views of an industry or business and visualize innovations that are constrained and limited by their environment and experience.
Innovation often jumps between industries when the market context of an industry has changed. The innovation opportunity may be easily seen by someone outside the industry – because their thinking is not constrained by what those in the industry take as “givens”.
I like working with people who have worked in different industries or have experience that spans a wide range of disciplines – surprising ideas can surface during discussion.