Silo'd Thinking Is the Kryptonite of Achieving Big D Value. Graham Hogg, founder of Connectworxs.


I have heard a story about a doctor who happened to sit next to an oncologist on a plane. They got to talking shop, and the oncologist mentioned using a drug with his cancer patients that was normally used for diabetes.

When the doctor expressed surprise, the oncologist explained that, during his 20 years of practice, he repeatedly saw patients with serious cancer conditions who recovered for no evident reason. After investigation, he realized that many of these patients were taking the diabetes drug. So, he began prescribing it for cancer conditions, with considerable success.

Now the doctor follows the oncologist's lead, prescribes the diabetes drug for cancer patients, and has been very happy with the results.

I argue in my recent book Seeing Around Corners: How to unlock the potential of Big Data that whilst organisational silos are the biggest barrier for unlocking the millions of dollars promised from Big Data, that silo'd thinking has nothing to with technology or organisational design but rather all about culture. And how through improving the quality of discussion in everyday meeting interactions, business teams can overcome this critically important hurdle and start to realise the true value potential of Big Data.

Building connected teams

How can we help leaders shape the right behaviours in their teams to become more data driven in meetings?

How can the critical gap between domain and analytics skills be closed as we make important business decisions?

Having spoken to thousands of leaders and teams around this subject, this simply involves building the right behaviours in teams so that we start to shift from a manufacturing mind-set to a data-driven mind-set shown above:

Leading through discovery

For years we have mastered building annual plans and populating tasks and goals into spreadsheets or software. The notion that "you can't manage what you can't measure" no longer holds true. Now, leaders need to master the skill of asking questions, seeking support from data skill sets at every juncture in a highly iterative way.

They need to promote the translation of insights across the entire organization. Too often, data and information are used as a means to wield power and kept closely to the 'owners' of such insights for political gain.

Leaders who act and think in this way will simply get left behind in the information age.

But, winning organizations are those that purvey insights to those who need to know them, irrespective of...

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