The Organisational Islands source method is a way to make sense of the connections and disconnections between different parts or an organisation that may have resulted in the formation of silos and defensive tribes.


The Organisational Islands concept is based on the natural human behaviour of group formation where people can form into tribal factions with the corresponding In group/out group behaviours. This natural group forming behaviour can result in internal conflicts, both within the tribal faction and beyond at an organisational level. As people naturally like to defend their collective interests around particular areas of interest, it can lead to the formation of silos and loss of connection throughout an organisation. Rather than viewing these groups of people as silos or subject matter domains on an organogram, it can be far more effective to view them as topographical islands surrounded by waters that require navigational skills.


The purpose of Organisational Islands is to move beyond silos, in groups/out groups, and overly defensive tribal  behaviours.  By viewing groups of people and their subject matter domains as  island dwellers with topographically demarcated territories, it becomes much easier to open up lines of communication and navigate inter-tribal connections. The Organisational Islands method also enables domains, groups and functions to understand how they relate to each other and to explore how they can share resources more effectively. The perspective of viewing their domains as a territory also provides the opportunity to invite others onto their islands rather than seeing the domains as fortifications to be defended against all comers. Understanding how to connect silos and tribes becomes a navigational challenge rather than habitually adopting defensive postures and engaging in subversive actions.


  • • To engage with silos and resolve conflicts between them
  • • To mediate between in-groups and out-groups
  • • To encourage collaboration
  • • To increase levels of innovation
  • • To make more effective use of shared resources
  • • To move beyond habitual defensiveness
  • • To develop an understanding of the bigger picture
  • • To develop a more resilient culture
  • • To encourage cross domain working
  • • To create environments for innovation


To learn how to use Organisational Islands in your work, contact us