Limits to Growth

When things slow down after the initial dizzying heights of glory.

This suggests that the system has hit a bottleneck that is hidden.  It is not easily visible.

And if you look at the structure of the archetype carefully, we see that it starts with a circle reinforcing in one direction (clockwise on your left-most side of the archetype.  Yes?  And then as that circle sets into motion, we see another circle running off right next to it.  Except it is turning in the opposite direction.  It is a pictorial representation but I like this form of presentation as it allows us to imagine a metaphor of a bicycle with wheels turning in opposite directions.  Eventually the bicycle will have to grind to a halt.  That is the fate (destiny) of this structure.

The purpose of this archetype is to help us find where these bottlenecks that are grinding the structure to a halt may be lying within the system.  It is usually the part of the structure that is the least obvious.  Here’s an example to illustrate this.

Let’s imagine that we have just designed and produced a brand new model of a laptop.  It is a very good design and we think to ourselves that surely if we can find ways to take it the market, that people will buy it.  So, in order to make that happen, we set up a team, a team of marketing agents and their role is to take the product to the market and interest customers in purchasing the product.


Causal loop diagram - system archetype "L...
Causal loop diagram – system archetype “Limits to growth” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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