The Silo Effect

RSA Event


Great Room Auditorium, RSA House

  • Creative Institutions and Systems
  • Creative economy
  • Economics and Finance

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Why are we so prone to creating organisational silos that hinder creativity and progress? How can we break these barriers down, and unleash innovation?

Ever since civilised society began, we have felt the need to classify, categorise and specialise. It can make things more efficient, and help give the leaders of any organisation a sense of confidence that they have the right people focusing on the right tasks. But it can also be catastrophic, leading to tunnel vision and tribalism.


But why do humans working in modern institutions collectively act in ways that sometimes seem so foolish? Why do normally clever people fail to see risks and opportunities that later seem blindingly obvious? Why, as psychologist Daniel Kahneman put it, are we sometimes so “blind to our own blindness”?

Award-winning FT columnist and journalist Gillian Tett answers these questions by plumbing her background as an anthropologist and her experience reporting on the financial crisis in 2008, to share stories of how a variety of different organisations have dealt with silo syndrome, from the Bank of England, to Facebook, to the New York Fire department.

Join Gillian Tett at the RSA as she lays bare the perils of the “silo effect”, and explains how individuals and institutions can break free of such barriers, to think and act more effectively, productively and creatively.


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