Networks: Webs of relationships connecting people or things.
Nodes: Individual parts of a network. Also known as elements or actors.
Links: Connections between the parts of a network. Also known as edges or ties.
Clusters: Groups of people or nodes that are much more connected with each other than they are with others.
Bridges: Connections between two clusters, networks, or parts of a system that would otherwise be disconnected. Wide bridges feature multiple connections, while narrow bridges feature a single connection. Those who create bridges are known as bridgers, brokers, or boundary spanners.
Hubs: Highly connected nodes in a network.
Core: The most densely connected part of a network, often appearing at the center.
Periphery: The less-connected part of a network surrounding the core.
Impact network: A network that brings individuals and organizations together for learning and collaborative action for a shared purpose.
Learning network: A form of impact network that primarily facilitates the flow of information or knowledge.
Action network: A form of impact network that facilitates connection and learning in service of coordinated action.
Movement network: A form of impact network that connects many other impact networks together, creating a network-of-networks.
Network mindset: A worldview that embraces the reality that everything is connected. Those who adopt a network mindset see themselves as a part of a larger web of activity (not always as the central hub) and seek to develop stronger connections to create impact through collaboration.
Catalyzing: A network leadership role that brings people together to explore and launch a new impact network, and that fosters opportunities to expand the network’s impact.
Coordination: A network leadership role that provides operational support to sustain network activities and develop the network’s ability to share information, capture learnings, and coordinate actions.
Facilitation: A network leadership role that guides participants through group processes to find common ground and advance collaborative action.
Weaving: A network leadership role that nurtures connection to foster new relationships.
Core team: A group of participants who volunteer or are elected to help guide the work and activities of an impact network.
Design team: A group of diverse representatives from across a system who work to collectively clarify why an impact network is needed, who needs to be involved initially, and how to best organize network convenings.
Learning circles: Groups of participants who gather together to hold conversations, share knowledge, and collect information on a specific topic.
Project teams: Groups of participants who collaborate to advance a specific body of work related to the network’s purpose.
Convenings: Gatherings that bring all network members together simultaneously, whether in person or online.
Emergence: The process of something new arising from learning or interaction.
Leverage points: Places where targeted intervention can produce outsized impacts throughout a system.
Resilience: The ability to withstand disruption and adapt as conditions change.
System: A group of interacting or interdependent parts that together form a larger whole.
Systems change: The process of reforming or transforming the structures, relationships, policies, power dynamics, narratives, and norms in a given system to create positive social or environmental effects.