The strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
— Rudyard Kipling
We define nodeness as the art and science of living and working as both a whole and a part.
The Greeks gave us a similar term holon, from holos, meaning whole. It’s not an entirely esoteric idea. We are at once individuals and members of families, groups, and communities. Employees work in teams to define organizations, and businesses create value inside ecosystems.
So why the fancy word?
Nodeness isn’t just about how pieces fit together. It’s the idea that there is nothing to the world but nodes and connections. That when we think we see an edge, in reality the full network has simply yet not fully emerged. There is no end. There is always something beyond: another input, another output, another impact. And it’s all connected.
This is the promise of network thinking. We must simply have the patience to sense it, the insight to design for it, and the confidence to act on it.
Nodeness energizes multiscale lenses and levers
Thinking in terms of networks also means thinking about multiscale lenses and levers. The same rules that govern the node rule the network, and vice versa. This means we can find power laws and principles that drive innovation, adaptivity, and resilience in people, teams, companies and ecosystems.
Nodeness also lets our perspective quickly scale without losing focus. Imagine a lens zooming out overhead from a single person, walking down a street, and pulling back into space. As that person moves, simply zooming back in isn’t enough to find them. But nodeness gives us the context we need to zoom in / zoom out with clarity. We understand what is pushing the person to move, where they might end up, and how they’ll travel. Nodeness keeps perspectives centered regardless of scale.
Nodeness helps us transmit purpose in meaningful ways
The search for purpose should be a short one. Ask yourself: What am I optimizing for? That’s your purpose — or it should be. As individuals and teams, we look where we spend our time and energy. For organizations, we can analyze dollar and talent budgets. For ecosystems, we look at how and where we are creating value. If we can transform our individual purpose, we can do the same at any scale.
And purpose is no longer an optional conversation, in an era of unprecedented transparency where all is eventually revealed. You can make endless statements and promises on purposes, but ultimately what we optimize for illuminates our true aim.
Nodeness shows us where the future of business is headed
At every scale, evolution rules. Humans have moved from questions of scarcity (food/water/shelter) to the challenges of abundance (equity/empathy/elevation).
Businesses and brands, having made the most of the commodity economy, are seeking to elevate the value they bring to customers, as demonstrated by the rise of the intangible economy¹.
Are you ready to maximize your nodeness? Dialog can help.
¹Libert, Barry, et al. The Network Imperative How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models. Harvard Business Review Press, 2016