When positive influences, negative influences, and delays combine, systems start to exhibit behaviours that are familiar to us in the real world. Two simple examples are reinforcing and stabilising loops. Look for some of these patterns on your system map; you may choose to circle or label them to come back to them later.

Reinforcing feedback loop

Reinforcing feedback loop

  • More sales of a good product leads to more satisfied customers.
  • More satisfied customers lead to more positive word-of-mouth to other potential customers.
  • With some delay, this additional positive word-of-mouth leads to increased sales.

Stabilising feedback loop

Stabilising feedback loop

  • More immigrants entering a country leads to greater fears around immigrants taking jobs.
  • After a delay, this reduces overall numbers of immigrants entering the country. 
  • This leads to pressure on government to pass stricter laws aimed at slowing down immigration.