Silo thinking: always a bad thing?

January 12, 2011

Silo thinking, silo working, silo vision, silo mentality… I expect if you’re a consultant you’ve said rude things about silos, or the apparent lack of communication, cooperation and understanding between the various bits of organisations – those units, departments and fiefdoms that seem to do what they like, when they like. And I bet that you’ve banged on, given the opportunity, about the joined up benefits of ‘systems’ thinking, and nodded sagely when people have talked of the Fifth Discipline. Because let’s face it, the ‘silo’ word only seems to have negative connotations. But is this right? I’m changing my mind because I think silos often represent the USP of an organisation. That’s not to say that they’re always healthy, or indeed constructive, but you take them apart at your peril. And one guy I think has something useful to say on the subject is Venkatesh Rao (Venkat). Try this piece on his Ribbonfarm blog:

Photo credit: Dan/


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