Systems thinking principles (example based on ‘love’)

Purpose: To provide an understanding of key systems principles.

Description: This five-minute video uses ‘love’ as a universal example to illustrate what it means to think in systems (rather than parts) to better understand complexity. An example is provided of each of the following:

  • Stocks
  • Inflows
  • Outflows
  • Reinforcing feedback loops
  • Balancing feedback loops
  • Nonlinearity
  • Delays
  • Non-existent boundaries
  • Unintended consequences
  • Policy resistance
  • Escalation
  • Eroding goals
  • Addiction
  • Seeking wrong goals.

The following “wisdoms” are suggested as a guide towards systemic solutions:

  • Take time to understand the system
  • Make your language meaningful and truthful
  • Favour quality over quantity
  • Acknowledge mistakes, stay a learner
  • Go for the good of the whole.

Video (5 minutes): “A systems story” by BEE Environmental Communication was a short introduction to key systems thinking concepts uploaded in July 2014. Online:

Related tools on this website:

Related tools on the i2Insights blog:

Related topics on Wikipedia:
There are several relevant entries, with the following as key:

Posted: January 2015
Last modified: March 2020