In his book, "Paul Revere's Ride," David Hackett Fischer suggests that General Thomas Gage suffered from "stovepipe intelligence," or gathering information from the top down. The British Military Governor of Massa-chusetts asked questions about what the rebels were up to and his lieutenants answered them. Judging purely from the outcome, some of the answers were probably the kind Gage preferredto hear, but not very accurate.
Paul Revere's group, on the other hand, collected information from the bottom up, from diverse self-appointed committees and ad hoc groups that shared information amongst themselves.
With no one in overall charge, they were free to collaborate, compare data and filter out inaccuracies. Not an overly efficient system perhaps, but it encouraged initiative and intellectual curiosity. How else to explain that elegantly simple solution of just two lights in a church steeple? Collabor-ation between colleagues to achieve higher performance is today's business model. Stovepipe mentality is, well, history.
A New Model
A fairly recent management decision made at Toyota illustrates the new collaborative model, which is a cornerstone of the "Green" engineering approach.
Everyone in the company became a collaborator as they shifted focus from the project (next year's model) to establishing a reputation for the life cycle sustainability of the Toyota product. If any process did not deliver value to theconsumer it was eliminated or altered until it did. Computer modeling of the entire process stripped away waste while identifying opportunities for enhancing sustainability.