I often think the daftest thing you can possibly do is read the same stuff as everyone else. Contagious, Archive, Creative Review, the D&AD book - all it gives you is stuff to copy...and guess what everyone else is doing?
Self obsession is never an attractive trait, and ad/digital type people are one of the guiltiest tribes. Apart from the hideous, destructive qualities of pre-testing, it's the reason that so much creative work looks the same. The people that made it all read the same stuff.
New stuff that's useful comes from voraciously consuming lots of apparently useless stuff and making the connections - widening the bandwidth of your mental scrapbook as much as you can.
That's why I've re-subcribed to Stack. A different set of obscure magazines to read every month. Wierd, esoteric, not the usual. I found I was reading too much of the same old stuff. Time to go back on safari, which, with kids and stuff is harder than ever.
I need ready made serendipity.
Take this month and Wooden Toy magazine. I'm still not 100% what it's supposed to be about, roughly some intersection between design, art and obscure music, But the writing is great and the art direction is unlike anything I've seen from any creative department I've ever worked with (possibly a reflection on the creative departments I know).
Look at this, lines from songs illustrated. Beautiful. I don't how this will come in handy, but I'm sure it will someday.