QIARK – Alleviating Silo Mentality

QIARK – Alleviating Silo Mentality

Silo mentality1, or the lack of sharing information and knowledge in organizations and workplaces (principal-agent problem), is a matter of increasing concern in medicine2, 3, 4, engineering5, commerce and elsewhere. It is felt that, not only do silos affect efficiency and corporate culture, but they can also:

  • have serious consequences for patients’ outcomes
  • negatively affect patients and their feelings of disenfranchisement
  • engender divisions between departments, teams, or satellite areas
  • cause repetition of the same tasks
  • give rise to inaccurate or outdated information
  • result in a lack of collaboration
  • cause ineffective communication
  • make people lose sight of the ‘big picture’
  • lead to accidents in the workplace
  • encourage entrenchment and ‘blinkered’ approaches

With regard to the final point above and its effect on collaboration, according to Kahneman6:

…it is much easier, as well as enjoyable, to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize our own.

Kahneman (2011:3)

Furthermore, Slovic7 et al postulates the notion of an ‘affect heuristic’ where peoples’ emotions affect their beliefs and opinions.

However, as Kahneman states:

The primacy of conclusions does not mean that your mind is completely closed and that your opinions are wholly immune to information and sensible reasoning.

Kahneman (2011:103)

And it is upon this critical argument that QIARK’s use has proven to be crucial. QIARK’s distributed-reasoning process shows that, not only will people set aside their own views – but they will positively evaluate other peoples’ conflicting opinions over their own – if they consider that the reasoning behind such views is sound. In this way, knowledge transfer occurs.

This means, and we have the data to support it, that contrary to current perceptions and practices on social media, the ideas or opinions which are put forward the most – by the most people – have consistently been overturned in the QIARK Adjudication phase by the opinions which are considered to have the best reasoning behind them (including the same group that submitted the ideas in the first place). In other words, people will set aside their own biases in favour of opinions which may contradict their own if such opinions are submitted with an intelligent rationale – encouraging collaboration and consensus.

This has huge ramifications for the users of QIARK and its potential for: the breaking of silos, knowledge transfer, proliferation of interdisciplinary teamwork (particularly in medicine and the sciences), and better outcomes.


1Ensor, P.S. (1988) http://www.ame.org/sites/default/files/documents/88q1a3.pdf

2Margaret McCartney: Breaking down the silo walls BMJ 2016;354:i5199

3Sonia Adam-Ledunois, Sébastien Damart, Alain Lacroux. The healthcare organization seen as composed of silos: a relevant representation? EURAM 2018, Jun 2018, Reykjavik, Iceland. 2018.

4Buchman S., Evans J.M., Mackinnon M., Gradin S. 7 Wright F.C. Bridging Silos: Delivering integrated care to patients with cancer in Ontario, Canada Psycho-Oncology 2018 1-4


6Kahneman D (2012) Thinking, Fast and Slow Penguin: London





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