CM 019: Gillian Tett on Breaking Down Silos

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Blog Post - Gillian TettWhen we operate in silos, we narrow our perspective in ways that can limit, and even destroy, innovation. So where have we seen silos before and what can we learn from them?

In this fascinating conversation with Gillian Tett, award-winning journalist and U.S. Managing Editor of the Financial Times, she explains how silos reversed decades of innovation at Sony, limited innovation in a world-class hospital, and played a key role in the 2007 global financial crisis. Drawing on insights from her bestselling book, The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers, she helps us see the patterns that create these tendencies, and the simple steps we can take to avoid or overcome them.

In this episode you will learn:

  • what makes smart people do apparently stupid things
  • how rewards and incentives can reinforce a silo mentality
  • why success can lead to silo perspectives
  • steps we can take to overcome mental and organizational silos
  • the value of an insider-outsider perspective

Also in this interview, Gillian encourages us to recognize how the silos begin erected in the information technology industry have begun to mirror those that led to the 2007 global financial crisis.

She is the other of two other bestselling books, Saving the Sun and Fools Gold.

Selected Links to Topics Mentioned



Octopus Pots

British Press Awards

Cleveland Clinic

Pierre Bourdieu

Mental Maps



Sir Paul Tucker

Paul McCulley


Shadow banking

Zoltan Poszar

Nicolaus Copernicus

Cultural anthropology

Brett Goldstein

Open Table

Toby Cosgrove


Robin Dunbar

It is Complicated by danah boyd

Liquidated by Karen Ho

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Thank you to Emmy-award-winning Creative Director Vanida Vae for designing the Curious Minds logo!



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