Before mapping your core nodes, it’s worth learning what a node is.

In simple terms, a node is something that can influence/be influenced by something else. Or in ‘systems speak’ – a node is the outcome of an influencing dynamic. Confused? Think back to the system dynamics you identified on card 27 and card 28 – where X leads to Y, or A causes B. X, Y, A and B are all nodes.

Here are some examples of nodes in the obesity problem system. Pay special attention to the phrasing:

Node Examples

Common confusions:

  • It’s worth noting that nodes are not just nouns – ideally they are things that can have a measurable quality/quantity. You might want to augment or diminish the quality/quantity.
  • For instance, ‘refugees’ is not a node – that’s just a group of stakeholders. What about them? ‘Number of refugees employed’ or ‘morale of recent refugees’ are both node-worthy: they can influence and be influenced.