Not Invented Here

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Not Invented Here (NIH) is a term used to describe persistent social, corporate or institutional culture that avoids using or buying already existing products, research or knowledge because of their external origins. It is normally used in a pejorative sense, and may be considered an antipattern. The opposite culture is sometimes denoted Proudly Found Elsewhere (PFE)[1] or Invented Here.

As a social phenomenon, "Not Invented Here" syndrome is manifested as an unwillingness to adopt an idea or product because it originates from another culture, a form of nationalism.[2]


In computing

An example is the low acceptance of early British-made home computers in Japan and the USA; and Japanese-made ones in Britain and the USA. For example the Timex Sinclair 2068 received almost no attention in the USA, while its Sinclair Spectrum predecessor became hugely successful in Britain and the rest of Europe.[3] Similarly the Japanese/Dutch MSX home computer standard became successful in many countries but not in Britain and the USA, which produced competing systems.[4] Likewise, British and American home computers were unable to establish a foothold in Japan. These cases may demonstrate both the "not invented here" and the "invented here" syndromes.

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.[5] 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.

In academia

In academic environments, the motivation for the NIH effect is twofold: first, resources from student workers are often paid in a lump sum (as a stipend, scholarship, or fixed salary) resulting in no variable increase in pay for more requested work; and second, the drive for publication at some institutions may drive repetition of work done at other institutions or in industry so that the researcher (and institution) may publish about their (repeated) work.[citation needed] Replication is, however, considered an important element in many areas of science as part of experimentation.

The quality of academic products developed from the NIH effect varies widely, mostly for the aforementioned reasons.[citation needed]

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