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19 Examples of Structure

A structure is an organized collection of parts. This is the foundation of nature, biology, science, society and technology such that structures are found in most things. The following are illustrative examples of structures.


The structure of matter such as a group of atoms bonded together in a molecule.


The arrangement of the parts of an organism. For example, the structure of a DNA molecule.


The parts of a society such as the government, industries and communities that form a nation.

Social Structures

The political, economic, cultural and social institutions of a society all have some structure. For example, the institution of family may be structured by generation with grandparents, parents and children.


Systems are structures that have complex parts such that they are difficult to model. Systems are understood using specialized methods such as systems theory or chaos theory.


The way that the parts of a machine fit and integrate together is a type of structure.


An architecture defines the structure of a building. It is also common to use the term architecture to refer to the high level design of other complex things such as IT systems.


Design is largely a process of planning the structure of things. This can include tangible designs such as a product design and intangible design such as the design of a process.


The structure of an organization is typically defined in an organizational chart that shows the roles of different organizational units and individuals.


Infrastructure is a term for foundational services that are used in other structures. For example, a road that is part of the structure of a neighborhood, city and nation.


Processes are repeatable practices and automation that give work a structure.


Planning is the process of giving structure to the future. For example, a lesson plan that is used by a teacher to give a lesson structure.


A template is a document that gives structure to future documents.


Culture can include structure. For example, the grammar rules of a language that define how sentences are structured.


Creativity often has structure. For example, music that structures musical notes into a rhythm or melody.


Rules are used to structure behavior. For example, rules that govern an examination such as "no talking" that allow the activity to be orderly.

Norms & Conventions

Norms and conventions are informal rules that are flexible but provide some structure. For example, conventions of politeness that promote civility by giving a flexible structure to social interaction.

Abstract Structures

Abstract structures are structures that apply to things with no specific tangible representation. For example, rules of mathematics that give structure to calculations using numbers.


It is possible to use structures to think. For example, formal rules of logic that give structure to the examination of evidence. Everyday concepts also give structure to thought such that human thought is inherently structured.
Overview: Structure
An organized collection of parts.
Related Concepts

Design Thinking

This is the complete list of articles we have written about design thinking.
Abstract Design
Accidental Complexity
Backward Invention
Choice Architecture
Complexity Hiding
Contextual Design
Design Abstraction
Design Philosophy
Edge Case
First Principles
Life Design
Design Driven Business
More Is Different
Divergent Thinking
Passive Design
Silent Design
Speculative Design
Ephemera Design
Transition Design
Essential Complexity
Working Backwards
Feature Fatigue
Worse Is Better
Feedback Loop
Form Follows Function
Human Factors
Less is a Bore
Less is More
Low Technology
Management By Design
Modeless Design
Nudge Theory
Test And Learn
Value Sensitive Design
Visual Thinking
More ...
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