Identifying the particular contribution of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to specific development goals has proven to be extremely difficult. This paper argues that instead of trying to make ICTs fit with a linear conceptualisation of impacts and an often economistic view of development, the field of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) should be used as a prime example of a development process which has to be analysed in a systemic and holistic way. Amartya Sen's capability approach offers a way of thinking about development not as economic growth, but as individual freedom. The Choice Framework is presented as a way of operationalising this approach and visualising the elements of a systemic conceptualisation of the development process. An individual case study, related to telecentres in rural Chile, is used to demonstrate the way the Choice Framework can be applied as a guide to a systemic and holistic analysis. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.