Measuring Silos Across the Organization – the Silo Index (Si) – breaking down silos to boost innovation

Do your employees collaborate across the organization? Or are they stuck in disparate silos, working only with their organizational neighbors? You may have an intuition for whether your employees are stuck in silos, but how are you measuring it?

We know that a lack of collaboration can lead to misaligned priorities, lack of information flow and poorly coordinated decisions. To make matters worse, most companies do not even know where silos exist in their organization, or to what extent.

To address this issue, Imaginatik has developed a measurement for siloed behavior: the Silo Index, or Si. Whether you want to know the extent to which sales works with R&D, or how people in the Seattle office are working with those in the Munich office, Si reveals the communication gaps that stunt your innovation.

Si is measured on a percentage scale from 0% to 100% , with 0% meaning not siloed at all, and 100% meaning completely siloed. Si is measured on several dimensions: is your company siloed by department, where people do not work across department lines? Or is your company siloed by geography, where people only in the same office location work together?

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Consider the organization above. It is quite siloed by division: most people are only working with colleagues from their own division, and not with colleagues from others. Their Si by division is therefore 90%. However, they are not very siloed by site; they work across sites, with a Si by site of only 35%. And they are hardly siloed at all by title, with a Si of 5%.

Si is measured by analyzing all of the ideas and comments created by an organization’s employees in the ideation challenges run on Imaginatik software, looking at whether the Munich employees comment on ideas created by the Seattle employees, and whether the engineers comment on the ideas created by the sales professionals. Then we use modern network analytics to derive the silo index.

We can also measure Si as it changes over time. If a company is working to become less siloed, we graph how their interventions improve their organization’s silo index.

While silos are natural and necessary in any organization based on distinct areas of expertise, decisions made across silos work better than decisions made within one silo.

Measuring the location and intensity of company silos—and then intervening to break down those silos—leads to a number of innovation building benefits including:

- decisions are no longer made in isolation
- alignment is created amongst innovation strategists and innovation executioners
- individuals are identified who could be contributing to the conversation
- priorities are aligned across departments and groups

Therefore, if you are looking to strengthen your innovation initiatives, one of the earliest opportunities to do so is by identifying silos in your company during ideation. Because when it comes to innovation, the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Curious to learn more about Imaginatik's full suite of Innovation Analytics? See why Forrester Research ranked Imaginatik the 2016 leader of Innovation Management Solutions.

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