PICOTEAM is a network-organisation with nodes in Africa, Latin America and Europe
  that supports efforts to bring about change and innovations for sustainable development.

PICOTEAM Ltd. PICO Southern Africa PICO Uganda PICO Tanzania PICO Latin America
PICO Academy for Practitioners PICO Knowledge Networking

Our Key Concepts

In operationalising these core values and principles, we build on four main concepts for design and implementation:


Most of the development interventions involve services and the interaction between the state and non-state actors. 
The service delivery framework offers a sound perspective to analyse service systems and define systemic interventions at the three levels in order to make the system work as a system and not get stuck in isolated measures to enhance some elements of the system.



Guided by critical success factors depicted in the LearningWheels, together with stakeholders we identify iteratively the key drivers and systemic triggers for change with the highest likelihood for impact and performance improvement. 
It is this systemic analysis which makes interventions well targeted and focused while monitoring the whole system performance.

The concept of participatory ACTION LEARNING / ACTION RESEARCH

No matter how well-planned an intervention can be, continuous changes are required during implementation. To keep the intervention focused on the ultimate goals and impacts, we apply action learning as a core approach to learning while implementing. Well-defined learning loops, iterating action and reflection phases, guide the process and together with the systemic LearningWheels provide a flexible frame for moving towards the desired successes in a non-linear way.


Capacity development is the centre piece in development. What we mean by capacity is more along the notion of ‘competences’ which means the performance for delivery in the job by individuals, teams and organisations. This is much more than qualifications or skills; it is the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of doing business and finding innovative solutions to challenges. It requires space for the individuals to develop and the capacity to utilise their space effectively.

The development of systemic competence requires a very different approach than conventional training. We do not train modular topics, but we engage people in learning processes in how to perform their job better. This means we enable people in these processes to deepen their understanding, skills, and attitudes required to perform successively in this learning and coaching process. 
We pull in the technical knowledge as required to perform better. We operate through workshops, team and peer coaching and learning and strategic change management support at organisational level.
Systemic Competence Development (pdf)
In all the four concepts, FACILITATION FOR CHANGE is at the heart of interventions.
The quality of facilitation is the key to success.


Our Products 

Building on our long standing practical experiences as analytical practitioners, we have developed a set of products, related to our focal areas, which promote learning and change at various organisational levels and for diverse dimensions in research and development. Products are methodologies and approaches being utilized to lead change processes towards intended outcomes and impacts. Some key products are:

Learning to make Change / Innovation Competence: a high impact approach to develop innovation and change competence in individuals and teams. It focuses on change management, personal and team development, facilitation, action learning / research and systemic intervention. 
Learning to make change sees the transformation of individual as key to changing systems. Often individuals underestimate completely their creativity and power to change things and see themselves as victims of a non-conducive system. In Learning to make change processes, which are built around learning programmes, individuals develop their entrepreneurial competence to innovate, to engage in change and to lead change in their teams and organisations.

LearningTeam: a successful approach for team development integrating three components: joint conceptual vision and thinking, 
team development (behavioural) and personal development (individual). We apply LearningTeam as part of an integrated competence development in organisations and teams which is linked to the broader organisational orientation. LearningTeam aligns organisational change with team competence.

Facilitation for Change: an approach to process facilitation which aims at triggering change. It is based on a range of psychological methodologies, critical & appreciative enquiry, solution-oriented approaches and provocative elements to bring out the potential for transformation in groups and individuals. It is applied from local to international level and is the core of our facilitation methodology.

LearningSystem: a methodology for an alternative way of managing complex and dynamic development processes with quality and efficiency. LearningSystem is an outcome-based planning and management system for innovation processes. It was experientially developed in a number of initiatives, as a response to a lack of tools and methods to manage process-type interventions with an adequate quality and stakeholder involvement without being boxed and stifled by rigid linear planning systems.
LearningSystem (PDF)

LearningWheel: a methodology for creating common frameworks for joint learning, action and knowledge management. The LearningWheel methodology generates experience-based conceptual frameworks, building on the lessons and success-factors of practical examples in an analytical and appreciative manner. The utility of the conceptualised experiences is in its application to enhance practice and learning. Some of the options where the LearningWheelframework has been successfully applied in practice embrace
a) as a frame to design new programmes,
b) as a frame to monitor and evaluate on-going programmes in a strategic way, 
c) as a knowledge management tool or
d) as a tool to create a common understanding and vision.       
LearningWheel (PDF)

Mainstream: a methodology to integrate successful pilot approaches into the mainstream of organisational approaches. Often good pilot activities get forgotten because they are never integrated in the main organisational approaches and systems (‘pilotitis’). Mainstream offers a sound process to assess pilots for their merits by the organisations themselves and to design ways to integrate the positive aspects in their approaches.  We have applied Mainstream successfully in various fields of practice and a range of organisations.

Participatory Extension Approach – PEA: a well proven and successful approach for building local / farmer organisational capacity and innovation at grassroot level / the demand side of services. PEA focuses on developing farmers’ adaptive capacities. PEA builds up facilitation competences of field-level extension staff and community activists in order to these engage community members in collective action for tackling their major challenges. Farmers and extensionists involve together in joint learning interventions to bring about positive change in rural communities. 
We have been working with this approach since 1991 and have developed it to its maturity with success cases in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Dominican Republic, Mozambique, Cambodia etc.


INRM: an integrated process approach for managing natural resource programmes (research and development). INRM provides an operational framework for facilitating interventions in natural resource management and conservation which integrate multiple scales of interaction and response, embrace a high frequency of non-linearity, uncertainty, and time lags, and involve multiple stakeholders with often contrasting objectives and activities. 
INRM describes NRM as a comprehensive systemic process involving a number of key functions ('cornerstones') which need to be in place or developed if interventions are to be successful. INRM and conservation have been at the core of PICO’s field interventions in a range of countries.


REED: an approach for rural economic and enterprise development, focusing on services and systems required to foster economic development. 
REED provides a conceptual framework that covers all economic development domains in rural areas, not just agriculture. REED includes the promotion of on-farm commercial activities, as well as non-farm activities, by rural households and enterprises which ultimately leads to the creation of new jobs, improved rural livelihoods and economic growth. The main focus is on promoting employment and generating income through micro-, small- and medium-sized rural businesses.


RuServe: a systemic approach for renewal and transformation of rural service systems and organisations. The key focus is on developing service systems which function on the demand and supply side as well as the policy side to it. RuServe approaches three main levels
a) self organisation and representation of clients,
b) decentralised management of services, and 
c) policy advice (enabling environment).
RuServe is not about improving the single components of the rural service system, but to make the systems work as a system. We have applied RuServe in many reform and change processes in service provider organisations in Africa and Latin America.

RuServe (PDF)

PRISM: an approach to operationalise innovation systems development in agricultural research and rural development. It is focusing on practical ways of putting innovations in action and on the required institutional arrangements and adaptation processes. Prism focuses on the entrepreneurial competence of researchers and research managers to move beyond boundaries and engage the stakeholders of the whole innovation system in bringing success in the rural communities. 
We have applied PRISM as a whole and compoents very successfully in a range of countries and institutions. 
All products have been successfully used in practice for a number of years and are continuously further developed by the PICO teams.

Service Delivery Framework
Systemic Competence Development