I was inspired to create this icon after reading "The Ten Faces of Innovation" by Tom Kelley of the celebrated design consultancy Ideo. The book breaks down ten roles that Ideo uses in their design process.
The Cross Pollinator is someone who enjoys exploring many different fields, scenes, and cultures and sharing those insights with people. This kind of cross pollination of ideas can lead to important breakthroughs.
For example the Wright Brothers cross pollinated their way into flight by finding ideas in bicycle engineering to create the first airplane. A more everyday example is evident in the success of retailers bringing Edamame, japanese style soy beans, to consumers in the USA.
Cross pollinators love to teach, take notes, and explore many disciplines and cultures to create novel new combinations.
Out of all the ten roles Tom outlines, I found the biggest overlap with this role. I love exploring different disciplines, subcultures, and ideas and bringing them to people. I am always taking notes and sharing them with other people, and I have always done a lot of teaching, formally and informally. I felt quite validated after reading this role defined, as I have always felt a bit unusual. Glad to hear there are other people out there like me.
Of course a person can play any of these ten roles at any given time, but it seems to me that you are going to naturally find some roles a better fit than others. For me, the Cross Pollinator role fits like a glove.
You can read more about the Ten Faces of Innovation here.