Over time, the communications and information streams that we are exposed to have gotten more and more complex. This interferes with problem solving. Here is some recent research by a group at Stanford which demonstrates that multi-taskers are actually less capable multi-taskers than those who don't multi-task.
I've read about people who have figured out through data visualization techniques when most of their e-mails arrive. They then set aside a few times each day when the address e-mails. I only get 10s of e-mails a day. I can't imagine someone who may receive hundreds. They must develop an efficient system to wade through this smog.
If you cannot focus on the problem seriously, you will have trouble finding effective solutions. While there may be a time to get exposed to new ideas, and stimulate your creative problem solving, it is not in the midst of a problem.