The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers 

October 27, 2015

6:30pm - 8:00pm

Santa Monica


Gillian Tett, U.S. Managing Editor and Columnist, Financial Times
John Seely Brown, Visiting Scholar and Advisor to the Provost at the University of Southern California; Independent Co-Chair, Deloitte Center for the Edge



The Silo Effect sized3

Why do organizations act in ways that sometimes seem stupid? Why do intelligent people fail to see risks and opportunities that later seem obvious? One explanation may be our tendency to create departments — silos — that prevent us from working together in ways that can unleash creativity and innovation.

Award-winning journalist Gillian Tett examines this human — and institutional — frailty in her book "The Silo Effect: The Peril of Experience and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers." At this Milken Institute Forum, Tett and moderator John Seely Brown examined the tendency of modern enterprises to organize around departments, a structure that limits the flow of information and restricts thinking. Drawing from examples detailed in Tett's book, they also explored how institutions and individuals can master silos instead of being mastered by them.


Gillian Tett is U.S. managing editor and columnist at the Financial Times, where she has also served as assistant editor for markets coverage and capital markets editor. In 2012, she received the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' award for best feature article, "Madoff spins his story." Tett is the author of the bestseller "Fool's Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe" and "Saving the Sun: A Wall Street Gamble to Rescue Japan from Its Trillion Dollar Meltdown."


 John Seely Brown2

John Seely Brown is a visiting scholar and advisor to the provost at the University of Southern California and is independent co-chair of the Deloitte Center for the Edge. He was previously chief scientist of Xerox Corp. and director of the famed Xerox PARC technology research center. Brown’s research interests include youth culture and institutional innovation. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves on numerous boards, including He is a co-author of "The New Culture of Learning."