Look back, look forward

SELCO Foundation started in 2010 with the aim to innovate. Disruptive impact innovation is fueled by co-creative ecosystems. A huge challenge – much easier said than done. But the team has never been looking for easy shortcuts to development, so this suits us well. The term “Eco” is derived from the Greek word “Oikos” which means “the whole house” or “the place to live in”. Hence, ecosystem calls upon a collective approach – sensing and acting towards improving the environment, social, intellectual and economic aspects as a whole.

Sustainable development as we define it – is the holistic and inclusive promotion of well-being, health, education and livelihoods. By holistic we refer to a trans-disciplinary approach bringing technical, social, financial, governance, capacity building, policy and enterprise issues together; whereas, inclusive refers to creating better equal opportunities from a socio-economic standpoint.

As the world is becoming more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, inequitable wealth distribution, unsustainable production and consumption patterns, SELCO Foundation’s role becomes all the more critical. We cannot afford to think in silos and ego-systems anymore. One needs to move beyond just pointing fingers and to come together to create positive outcomes for all.

Diversity within teams and people who challenge each other and the organization have been critical for the growth and learning curve of the team as a whole.

Rural labs’ challenges of partnerships and taking pilots to scale; Urban labs’ issues of city stakeholders and insecurity of migrant populations and the Tribal labs’ challenge of working with very remote settlements, basic rights and cashless economies – the three community labs provide us with a key ground reality connect which is the source of all our design and agendas. Livelihoods, Vulnerability and Education have been key focus areas. The education team consistently grows stronger every quarter with the impact of hands-on sustainability and invention education programs for middle and high school students. The ecosystem support areas of policy, design and technology and incubation continue to be built as critical pillars of the foundation.

As new leadership challenges emerge across the world, breaking away from traditional thought processes of design, engineering, management and economics, the foundation too envisions its future work outcomes.

The direct outcomes, however, have always been less important than the impact, journey and the processes. There is still so much to learn, develop and question. For many of us who have joined hands it has become a journey, full of ups and downs, like a family. Some storm out of the house, some form unending bonds (with people and concepts) and others even find their calling.

It’s important for organizations and individuals today to make the journey from ego-systems to ecosystems. And we’re happy that we have been on that very path from an organizational and a global perspective. Our interventions will remain as good and strong as the internal state and thought process of our teams, people and partners. We wish to take more risks, failures, learnings and a few significant breakthroughs all towards long term impacts. We invite people (everyone) to join us towards imagining and realising positive change as a reality moving from frameworks, buzz words and jargon to commitment and action. We have been in a state of evolution, and always will continue to evolve until many of the foundation’s goals become significant models, concepts and thought processes to be scaled through replication.

It has been an exciting, nail biting, intellectually stimulating roller coaster 5 years where new friendships have been built, new communities and people have joined, new programs and projects emerged, new thought processes and approaches developed, new and efficient planning and administration systems operationalized, new methodologies to conduct activities and to get the best results … and the new list continues. Hope you enjoy reading the very first edition of SELCO Foundation newsletter!

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