In defence of silos

Everyone hates silos. Don’t they? Except, of course, silos are very effective … at storing grain. Silos reflect specialisation, and specialisation is why I am typing these words on a keyboard and can shortly post them on a global network, (theoretically) readable anywhere on earth – rather than standing in a river trying to spear a fish, or somesuch.

All of us are smarter than any of us...

Are we being too hard on silos?

I regularly hear clients describing their workplace as being siloed. It’s common in public, private and third sector.

Sometimes people mean that their organisation is structured in silos.  Sometimes they mean that their information is managed in silos.  Sometimes they mean both.

As KM professionals, we can be a bit militant in our language when it comes to silos.

They have become our public enemy number one – we need to demolish silos, tear silos down, break silos up, eradicate silo working…  you get the picture!

A wise leader once challenged me with a simple question.  I was being evangelical about knowledge management, sharing and networking and painting a picture of how the company could be different if it was restructured with knowledge in mind. His thoughtful response was:

“That sounds really good Chris, but can you also tell me what we would…

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