When you're used to the way things are, obvious solutions may escape you.

Breaking Silos to Unlock Innovation and Growth

breaking silos use case Mar 02, 2023

Breaking Silos to Unlock Innovation and Growth

Discover the surprising truth about the biggest hurdle to progress for super-experienced managers. As a futurist with 15 years of experience, I thought I had seen it all - until a client confided a shocking revelation.


The Case

As a futurist with 15 years of experience, I thought I had seen it all. But when a client in the business automation industry confided in me, I was left stunned.

The client had multiple solutions for different markets, and each market differed vastly from the others. One was more advanced, another was slower to adopt new technologies, and the third changed rapidly. I asked if the products from the most advanced market would eventually trickle down to the others or if they would be introduced in simpler configurations or packages. But the answer was no.

I wondered why.

The client started laughing from surprise. He said: apparently, our silos (product/market teams working independently) are the biggest hurdle to progress!

Indeed: Siloed teams are a considerable risk. When teams work independently for a long time, they become used to their processes and ways of thinking. When teams operate in silos, they have limited collaboration and communication, which can lead to a lack of fresh perspectives and new ideas.

I thought to myself: I guess silos and habituation are a much bigger problem than I thought. When you've been working long in a particular industry or company, you are so used to it that stupidly simple opportunities escape you.


I have been working as a futurist for, let me see, 20 years now. So there must be something to gain for me too!

So now I have given myself the assignment to find out if I can reduce, reuse or recycle processes, services, or products myself... More on this later ;)

The Lesson: Un-silo Your Teams

Think you've got everything figured out as a manager? Think again. You'll be surprised at how much further you can push the boundaries of innovation and growth - even when it seems you've already reached your limit. Start with one or more of the lessons from our story:

  • Unlock Innovation: Foster cross-functional collaboration and communication to unlock innovation and progress. By breaking down silos and encouraging teams to work together, you can ensure that ideas and solutions are shared and developed across teams, leading to more effective and efficient outcomes.
  • Always Look Out for Better Ways: Challenge yourself and your teams to look for opportunities to improve processes, services, and products, even if you have worked in a particular industry or company for a long time. By cultivating a culture of continuous improvement, you can stay ahead of the curve and drive innovation and growth for your organization.
  • Look Outside In Partner with foresight experts like me to gain insights into emerging trends, anticipate changes in the market, and develop strategies for navigating uncertainty to stay ahead of the competition.

Break Down Silos with Strategic Foresight and Discover New Opportunities

Interactive foresight activities and facilitated discussions help break down silos and uncover new opportunities for growth and innovation.

Bring together representatives from various siloed teams. Encourage them to exchange ideas and insights while exploring the future needs of each product-market team’s target customers. Close the meeting by identifying potential overlaps or opportunities for collaboration.

Try it yourself, or let’s join forces for success. Contact me for more information on the methods for collaborative Foresight workshops to break down silos and unlock growth.

Contact Futurist Barbara now


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