Stretching the silo analogy

In my post on You know what you know better than anyone, Ken Nordan commented with an entertaining take on the silo mentality:

Unlock the silo your in and share the grain you store with others. Help nourish the world with you knowledge and wisdom, and we'll all be better.

And then in e-mail correspondence, I had some fun pushing on the silo model to see where we could go.  I proposed some other hooks for knowledge management as seen from a silo, and then Ken took them in his own direction.

Jack: Rats & other vermin eating the grain if it sits around too long
Ken: Sounds like knowledge atrophy "Use it or Loose it". If you keep storing knowledge and you don't use it eventually it will  become useless.  (I know this because my career is going that way).

Jack: Explosions ignited from electrostatic discharges into dust of the  contents of the silo
Ken (version 1): If the spark is a creative spark, then this silo decides to write a  book about all the stuff they have accumulated over the years.
Ken (version 2): If the spark is a pink slip, then the company this silo is working for  does not realize what the silo have stored up and they fire them, that  explodes (blows up in their face) and all the knowledge goes up with it.

Jack: Unused silos turned into hotels (as in Quaker Square in Akron, OH)
Ken: Hotels, hummmm.  Well, An unused vessel becomes something else, maybe a greeter at WalMart...

Can you stretch this analogy any more?

2 Comment(s)

I think of yet another meaning of "silo": the armored building used during World War II for people to shelter against bomb attacks. (This was for me still a very vivid concept during my childhood because many of them were not yet torn down and I heard many narrations from my parents' generation about the life during bomb nights.)
So for me the analogy of silo mentality also connotes the fear of external threats to a group. In the workgroups context, this includes all sorts of uncertainties, and leads to insulation and demarcation against unwanted accountabilities.

Dave Simmons said:

Silo analogy - part deux

- Silos are loaded from the top
- Silos need good circulation inside to keep content fresh
- Grain elevators are the resource used to fill 'em. Shut off or redirect the elevator, starve the silo.
- To collapse a ceramic silo, you only need a well-placed hit at the base with a sledgehammer.
- To bridge a silo, you need 2 windows; 1 on each silo.

Okay, I've filled this analogy to the brim.

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