Systems Thinking: Internal Training Course
Contract Supervision: Program Manager
Last Date of Submission: 23 February 2023
Contract Timeline: 1 year (starting 1st March 2023)
Email and website:

About SELCO Foundation

SELCO Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based out of India. The organization works towards creating a holistic ecosystem to provide reliable energy access for underserved communities in a manner that is socially, financially, and environmentally sustainable. The Foundation works to link the benefits of sustainable energy to poverty eradication by collaborating with NGO partners, local financial institutes, and social enterprises.

Background of the requirement for a Systems Thinking Course

SELCO Foundation has worked strongly towards building inclusive ecosystems for Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) access for the underserved populations in the past decade. Efforts have been made in the themes of livelihood, health and built-environment to innovate efficient solutions, powered by renewable energy, and via the synergies made with ecosystem partners and stakeholders at multiple levels (individual to institutional), these solutions have been made affordable and accessible to the underserved communities on ground. The interventions designed are aimed at leading to positive upliftment in the lives of these communities, balancing social and environmental sustainability. Holistic approaches are used that simultaneously encompass social, financial and environmental dimensions.

An iterative and collaborative approach is required to be adopted in the ecosystem to improve the effectiveness of SELCO Foundation’s interventions, considering various stakeholders as well as other systems at play. This has necessitated comprehensive learnings of the teams to be generated on systems thinking approach and developing a holistic problem-solving mindset. By way of workshops in the past, the fundamental phases and methods in systems thinking has been imbibed by the teams, however, a more intensive handholding support to the teams, for deepening their learnings as well as incorporating them in actual program designs, has been identified as a need of the hour.

Through the framework and tools of systems thinking and learnings on the application of this approach, SELCO Foundation hopes that the teams will be able to locate high impact areas early in the process and plan for effective collaborations. With a system thinking approach, the SELCO team will be able to become problem-solvers that view 'problems' as part of a wider, dynamic system.

Objective of the system thinking training course

  • Introduction to tools of systems thinking- relevance and application
  • To understand the systems thinking approach in terms of its impacts on solving complex development challenges
  • Build the capacity of the employees to bring systems thought processes into program design
  • To promote critical and analytical thinking in designing high impact systems building programs
  • Handholding of teams to design and monitor programs with an aim to promote synergistic collaboration amongst teams or entities.

Scope of work for the course

Internal Training workshops on Introduction to Systems Thinking | 1 Year | 4 Workshops

Introduction to Systems thinking

  • What is systems thinking?
  • Introduction to system thinking tools
  • Examples of a system and non-systems case studies
  • Selective habits and behaviors of a systems thinker
  • Context for Learning and reflecting
  • Single, double and triple loop thinking

Connecting to SELCO’s work

  • Discussion of examples from SELCOs programs and projects and how the system approach is used.
  • Discuss examples of programs without a system approach and how the impact will be different with systems thinking.
  • The process to involve inquiry, exploration and uncovering mental models for in depth understanding of the needs / gaps
  • To identify various systems in a program and how it can be considered during the program design
  • How to apply system approach from program design to program implementation.
  • To develop the system thinking mindset for co-developing the solution with the end users and relevant stakeholders.

Intensive Handholding Support to Teams

  • Workshops on actual program designing processes using systems thinking approach
  • Direct handholding support to individual teams to design, implement & monitor pilot programs applying systems thinking lens (Target- 6 programmes). This is proposed through initial program design workshops and monitoring and learnings workshops
  • Extend support to combinations of thematic (teams focusing on specific livelihood themes such as agriculture, animal husbandry, resilient micro businesses etc.) and geography-specific teams to design and implement collaborative programs using systems thinking lens (Target- minimum 4 programmes)
  • Extend program design support using systems thinking approach to programs being co- designed with partner organization with an aim to design energy nexus programs (Target- minimum 02 programmes)

Way forward plan

  • Insights and takeaways from the workshops would be discussed
  • To develop an action plan on the basis of the learnings generated from the implementation of programs designed and implemented using systems thinking approach by teams
  • Ideate on the future support needed to the teams on building their systems thinking perspective

Other Deliverable:

- Documentation of learnings and reflections from the extensive workshops conducted on systems thinking program designs with teams and develop an action plan on how to further build and strengthen team capacities on applicability of systems thinking approaches in everyday program design activities- this is to inform a way forward for workshop participants and other teams at SELCO Foundation on how to thoroughly imbibe the systems thinking lens while devising strategies for complex problem solving practices

Overall Deliverables:

  • 04 Internal Workshops (ideally 01 workshop per quarter)- Each workshop for a group of minimum 25 participants from SELCO Foundation (SF) on Systems Thinking covering basics of systems thinking and developing vision of SF projects with that lens
  • Guidance and Handholding for designing and implementing a total of 6 programmes which involves a minimum of 2 teams/ entities.
  • A report/action plan- based on learnings and reflections from the internal workshops and program design workshops conducted with the teams, with recommendations on how to strengthen the understanding of the approach within teams so that it is applied each time while solving for complex development challenges and designing impact driven programs for the underserved populations

Interested consultants/organizations, with relevant experience (please include references of previous similar work as proof of experience), team member details working on the project and based out of Bangalore (preferably) are requested to reach out with a detailed proposal giving a brief on the methodology and the process they will uptake for this project, including budgets (with break-ups and explanation), timelines and milestones and send the same to & marking: “Systems Thinking: Internal Training Course” on or before 23 rd February ’23.