Not invented here
Not invented here (NIH) is the philosophy of social, corporate, or institutional cultures that avoid using or buying already existing products, research, standards, or knowledge because of their external origins and costs. The reasons for not wanting to use the work of others are varied, but can include fear through lack of understanding, an unwillingness to value the work of others, or forming part of a wider "turf war". As a social phenomenon, this philosophy manifests as an unwillingness to adopt an idea or product because it originates from another culture, a form of nationalism. The term is normally used in a pejorative sense. The opposite predisposition is sometimes called "proudly found elsewhere" (PFE) or invented here.
An argument for NIH is to guard against an aggressive action by another company buying up a technology supplier so as to create a captive market. This may also guard against future supply issues due to political unrest or other issues.
In programming, it is also common to refer to the NIH "Syndrome" as the tendency towards reinventing the wheel (reimplementing something that is already available) based on the belief that in-house developments are inherently better suited, more secure or more controlled than existing implementations.
Some have criticized several newer free software projects for being conceptually based on an inter-generational NIH mindset. The idea is that in the newer project's development circle, previous contributions to the field are not valued and assumed to represent flawed or more primitive implementations, with the older project's age brought into the justification for the new product. Software age does not itself establish fault or flaw so this line of reasoning is conspicuously flawed thus implying this mindset. Examples of this would be:
- The assumption (usually by those coming from more graphically-driven software platforms) that text-based utilities are always inefficient or an artifact of poor design, without regard to increased levels of explicitness or re-usability of components (this does not include logic that does address these points).
- That systemic inertness in some areas represents an unintentional lack of functionality rather than an intentional shift of workload/workflow design onto the administrator.
In some cases, software with the same functionality as an existing one is re-implemented just to allow for the use of a different software license.
In popular culture
In late 2009, Bill Barnes (of Unshelved) and Paul Southworth (of Ugly Hill and You Are Dead) launched a webcomic titled "Not Invented Here" which parodies mistakes made in the software development industry such as overly optimistic schedules, improper specifications, interferences from marketing (and other outside sources or departments) and many others. It is drawn from the experiences of Barnes, who worked in software development for two decades.
- Appeal to spite
- Association fallacy
- Editor wars
- List of cognitive biases
- Wishful thinking
- YAGNI (You Ain't Gonna Need It)
- "The Innovation Playbook: A Revolution in Business Excellence", Nicholas J. Webb, Chris Thoen, John Wiley and Sons, 2010, ISBN 0-470-63796-X,
- The Cambridge economic history of modern Britain
- HBS.edu P&G's New Innovation Model
- "Electronic Arts plays hardball". Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "Not Invented Here – About". Retrieved 2011-02-04.