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“Silos”

Michael Leahy, Maryland CIO

I refer to those as “cylinders of excellence.” Everybody loves silos but they all say they’re against them, because otherwise they would have been gone by now. In government, generally, bureaucracies are mandated to do a particular thing, they tend to be more risk averse, so if they believe something works for them, they are reticent to change it without significant pain because the fear of failure associated with potential change makes them view most of life as a negative-sum game. So everyone rails against silos and talks about being collaborative and interactive and then continues to run their particular business on the premise that they are the subject matter experts, no one else could possibly understand what they do, they’re special and so they have to remain in their enclave.

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