I believe that most artists employ this technique without giving it a thought. It is second nature to them. They pay attention to things that go unnoticed by others much of the time. Sometimes I think of it as having the eyes of a child. To a child the world is big, fascinating and often it’s the little details that they pick up on. We might walk down the street and look in the distance, while they are looking at the bugs scurrying along a crack in the sidewalk. We might see a 5 o’clock shadow on dad as ‘needing a shave’ while they might reach up with their little hands and rub it to feel how tickly it is. We might ignore the jet flying overhead as something we’ve seen many times, they might get excited and say “Airplane!”
When you employ precise observation, you will see things with a new innocence. It might even be considered a childlike curiosity.
Sometimes you can be too close to your idea and need a different perspective. Walking away from it might enable you to see it better. Remember Winnie the Pooh following the tracks of something he thinks might be a Woozle? As he walks, Piglet joins him and together they start to believe that woozles may be growing number. Only Christopher Robin above them in a tree can see they are following their own tracks in a circle.
Now, I think I'll go outside and take a look at the world - again.