No Silos is one of the basic principles and probably one of the hardest one to implement as it contradicted with current management concepts. This principle is rooted both in Chaos theory and in Complex Adaptive System.
One of the primary element of chaos theory is fractals. Fractals are simple rules and parts that are repeating one each other to create complex and chaos structure. Fractal thinking is based on the concept of fractals, and it is different from analytic thinking. While analytical thinking views elements in the system are distinct, unique and not repetitive; Fractal thinking sees items within the system as repeating one each other and as interlinked. No-Silos principle expects an organization to follow fractal thinking and replace current departments (silos) with repetitive and interlinked hybrid groups that composed of people with different expertise and experience. No more IT group or the Marketing department or HR. Easy to say, hard to do.
From Complex adaptive system point of view, emergence and self-organize are the main attributes that explain why there shouldn’t be any silos in systems that need to deal with complexity and be adaptive. The best example is our body. We have several sub-systems in our body like the blood sub-system, bone sub-system, nervous subsystem. If you take any part of your body, you’ll find those three subsystems working together. Not as silos but as interlinked sub-systems. One way or another you can’t compare them to a Marketing department working with a Production department.
The fact that successful organisms and eco-systems succeeded to be agile and survive for many years in high percentage comparing to a modern organization in the last 100 years should be a warning sign that specialization and silos were a perfect fit to the linear business world, but they are not working for a complex business world. Although it is hard to implement, No-Silos are essential for your business. We started to see No-Silos in Agile development and DevOps implementation, but those are limited to IT/Development departments. Yes, you got it departments! What you need to do is to break those departments.