What is the Geodesic Theorem™?
The Geodesic Theorem™ is a concept extrapolated by Dr. Meredith Gardner from the work of Buckminster Fuller, whose geodesic sphere constructions revolutionized architectural design in the 1940s and 1950s.
Based on the principle of triangular strength in engineering and architecture, the Geodesic Theorem™ embodies the importance of the Power of Three in human relations and corporate team-building.
Stated simply, the Geodesic Theorem™ reads as follows:
Results are directly proportional to the strength of the relationship between the three entities involved.
Implications of the Geodesic Theorem™ are deep and far-reaching. There is hardly an area of human endeavor that does not respond to the Power of Three. For example, in the basic triad comprised of “you, me and us,” or in the expanded triad comprised of “individual, team and enterprise,” the strength of the relationships is enhanced when the three parts are connected and aligned; it is weakened or destroyed when even one of the connecting links is misaligned or broken. The same thing happens in family and team contexts as well as in the larger arenas of corporate enterprises, human social entities, and sovereign states.
Our English word Geodesic comes from the Latin meaning “earth-dividing.” What is ironic, however, is that these “so-called” divisions can actually help us understand the true nature of the Power of Three, collaboration and connectivity, especially with reference to our interdependence on one another.
According to noted biochemist Sondra Barrett, Ph.D., the Power of Three goes as deep as our DNA’s “code of three.” In her insightful book Secrets of Your Cells, she asserts that “Life itself depends on threes…”4 Moreover, the triangle is thought to be the most perfect of the sacred geometric forms. “The triad is the form of completion of all things,”5 said Roman mathematician and philosopher Nicomachus of Gerasa. It is through the three-part prism of geodesic awareness that we are able to find stronger and more inclusive interpersonal connections. Find out how the Power of Three can help you achieve the kind of communication you want for your IT team.
Most people are familiar with the longitudinal and latitudinal divisions of Earth as depicted on a globe. In addition, however, there is another way to divide a sphere which can change how we think and act in an interpersonal context.
Below is the definition of a “Geodesic Dome” taken from “How Geodesic Domes Work” by Nathan Chandler, an article which was posted on the “how stuff works.com” website:
“A geodesic dome is a spherical or partial-spherical shell structure or lattice shell based on a network of great circles (geodesics) on the surface of a sphere.The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that have local triangular rigidity and also distribute the stress across the structure.”6
“Michael Bushnick, owner of American Ingenuity (which sells dome homes), says triangles are key to making domes strong: ‘(Domes) are three-dimensional structures using stable triangles approximating spheres to create multiple load carrying paths from point of load to point of support. The triangle is the only arrangement of structural members that is stable within itself without requiring additional connections at the intersection points to prevent warping of the geometry.’7
In other words, apply pressure to one edge of a triangle, and that force is evenly distributed to the other two sides, which then transmit pressure to adjacent triangles. That cascading distribution of pressure is how geodesic domes efficiently distribute stress along the entire structure, much like the shell of an egg.”8
Discovery of Geodesic Informal Networks
Over time, Dr. Gardner noticed certain naturally occurring and almost predictable informal networks within organizations. These informal grids exert strong influence over the success of all interdepartmental and vertical communication, management, and leadership initiatives within the enterprise.
The networks work both positively and negatively—positively when they are acknowledged, formalized and harnessed; and negatively when they run wild, unacknowledged but still exerting their silent, insidious impact.
Through further research, Dr. Gardner found that, much like the triangles on a geodesic sphere, these networks are comprised of three-sided clusters throughout the organization—miniature triangular clusters (i.e., me, you, and us) which, in turn, fit into larger clusters (i.e., individual, departmental, and enterprise).
As she began to dig deeper into the three-part infrastructure of interpersonal networking, Dr. Gardner discovered an astounding fact: These myriad triangular networks eventually connect all personnel within the enterprise and cut across departments, levels, silos, cohorts, and even virtual involvements.
It was Dr. Gardner’s groundbreaking study of interpersonal triangular networks that led to the creation of the Geodesic Theorem™, Geodesic Executive Coaching™ and the Geodesic Team Development™ Modules—a collection of Softskills training seminars. These harness an astounding phenomenon and provide the basis for higher levels of communication, management, and leadership.