Ivory towers and islands

The classic silo mentality is something many of us try to battle, but these defense towers like structures are more incorporated into our mindsets than we like to imagine and before we know it, we’re back in the silo

Escaping Silo thinking

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt – FritsAhlefeldt.com

For many years I have worked with open innovation, concepts and ideas and one of the mindsets that comes up a lot is the silo mentality.

I’ve drawn a few drawings of silos but reading about related concepts I’ve come across some that looks similar but still a bit different. Two of them is the ivory tower mentality (defence tower ) and the island mentality. Together these three can make up a whole eco-system:

  • Silo Mentality – is mostly viewed as inside protection of knowledge and reluctance and mistrust to sharing, because of difference in goals or ways to measure performance. The concept is often used in connection to innovation, disruption and organisational consulting Silo mentality on Wikipedia
  • The ivory tower mentality – it is more skeptical to sharing, more isolated and watchful and more ready to protect the inside from the outside. It is maybe to view like an armored version of the silo mentality – see more about the ivory tower on Wikipedia
  • The island mentality – Is still more isolated and more related to the perception of others, than to defense. On islands the threat is more imagined and more related to what might happen or to the unknowing of it ( See Island mentality ccording to Wikipedia )

The Iron-defense-silo-tower-as-island hybrid

I just wondered could these three archetypes of silo mentality be drawn up as one situation out at sea, situated in an ocean of knowledge? – The ocean is a great visual archetype too – prescribing the unlimited, the open and the shared, but also something you need to sail in a boat, or be a fish to swim in, for long periods without drowning.

The open sea of thinking can be a stormy place

And the sea come with it’s own dangers, sharks, depths and storms – Sometimes a tower can be a good thing, sometimes the sea is calm, sometimes it is not.

Castles far out at sea

The lighthouse as a different kind of tower logic

The lighthouse is in many ways different than the defense tower, it is made to share information and make navigation easier, still it holds strong ground in an floating reality – I’ve made a story and drawing about it here:

Link to the lighthouse as mindset story

Lighthouse with a string of light bulbs along the beach Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Ideas for better thrive, innovation and climate resilience along the coast

keywords: mentality, innovation, coaching, mindset, metaphors, landscapes of understanding, platforms

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