Not invented here

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Not invented here (NIH) is: the tendency to avoid using or buying products, research, standards, or knowledge from external origins. It is usually adopted by social, corporate, or institutional cultures. Research illustrates a strong bias against ideas from the outside.[1]

The reasons for not wanting to use the work of others are varied, but can include a desire to support a local economy instead of paying royalties to a foreign license-holder, fear of patent infringement, lack of understanding of the foreign work, an unwillingness to acknowledge or value the work of others, jealousy, belief perseverance, or forming part of a wider turf war.[2] As a social phenomenon, this tendency can manifest itself as an unwillingness to adopt an idea or product because it originates from another culture, a form of tribalism[3] and/or an inadequate effort in choosing the right approach for the business.[4]

The term is typically used in a pejorative sense. The opposite predisposition is sometimes called "proudly found elsewhere" (PFE)[5] or "invented elsewhere".

In computing[edit]

In computer programming, "NIH syndrome" refers to the belief that in-house developments are inherently better suited, more secure, more controlled, quicker to develop, and incur lower overall cost (including maintenance cost) than using existing implementations.[citation needed]

In some cases, software with the same functionality as an existing one is re-implemented just to allow the use of a different software license. One approach to doing so is clean room design.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Piezunka, Henning; Dahlander, Linus (26 June 2014). "Distant Search, Narrow Attention: How Crowding Alters Organizations' Filtering of Suggestions in Crowdsourcing". Academy of Management Journal. 58 (3): 856–880. doi:10.5465/amj.2012.0458.
  2. ^ Webb, Nicholas J.; Thoen, Chris (2010). The Innovation Playbook: A Revolution in Business Excellence. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-470-63796-X.
  3. ^ Floud, Roderick; Johnson, Paul, eds. (2003). The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain. 3. Cambridge University Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780521527385.
  4. ^ Hagler, Bo (2020-03-04). "Build Vs. Buy: Why Most Businesses Should Buy Their Next Software Solution". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  5. ^ Huston, Larry; Sakkab, Nabil (2006-03-20). "P&G's New Innovation Model". Retrieved 2020-04-18.