otto scharmer – theory u
Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT and founding chair of the Presencing Institute. He is the author of the book Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges – The Social Technology of Presencing.
via this post..
“We are tinkering with all these reforms, with all these innovation initiatives, we are renewing the “house” of education with another window here or another door there — but frankly, what we need most is a radically different FOUNDATION for the entire house!” I loved that. Isn’t that so true?
page – the same day as we read that.
Follow him here:
theory u via knowmads newsletterholy cow.. theory u is so resonating
hmmm. would love to be present at this.
hmm. collaboratory and city as school..
be you. be us.
jan/feb 2014 – u lab via edx – led by Otto:
On January 7th, 2015, we will lauch a six-week course called U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society, and Self. Delivered by MITx free of charge through the online platform edX (co-founded by MIT and Harvard in 2012), this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will prototype a new 21st-century university model, one that offers a hybrid online/real-world learning environment, with the goal of sparking a global web of interconnected hubs, inspiring initiatives, and grounding learning locally in places where societal challenges are manifest.
Otto’s post upon recent return from Bhutan – where he/they were studying Gross National Happiness (GNH):
Western alternative indicators for measuring economic progress, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), often lack the teeth to influence actual policymaking. But the Bhutanese approach to GNH is full of very tangible effects on a policy level. A few examples: Bhutanese citizens enjoy free education and free healthcare services and a literacy rate close to 100%; 80% of the country is covered by forest, 50% of which is protected; Bhutan bans advertising in public places; it has implemented policies for achieving 100% organic farming by 2020; it limits the import of cars and helicopters; it puts a very high priority on the well-being of animals; and, for GNH considerations, it did not join the World Health Organization (WHO).
From the moment you arrive in Bhutan, located in the Himalayas between China and India, you can sense that it is a special place. You feel the presence of humanity in a more profound way than you do in other places. It’s as if Bhutan was a little island that globalization and Western materialism has not yet penetrated. Going to a place like this can make us question our lives on a deeper level. Who are we as human beings? What is our role and purpose?
The informal economy in India is not exactly small — it represents 93% of the workforce in India. In spite of its significance for well-being in India, the informal economy remains largely invisible.
Back home in Boston, I feel inspired and humbled by these connections and initiatives from around the world that aim at the very same thing: to shift the economy from ego (me) to eco (wellbeing of all). Its a movement in the making. Its a global field of inspired connections that grows, widens, and deepens every single day. Where and when do you feel connected to that movement? What initiatives do you see and what seed ideas do you carry that may be relevant here?
What is it that we are called to do now?
book links to amazon
notes/highlights from book:
love the iceberg model graphic (below).. – the 3 tips of the iceberg, [eco, social, spiritual divides)
Like the tip of an iceberg – the 10% that is visible above the water-line – the symptoms of our current situation are the visible and explicit parts of our current reality.
then 8 bubbles, keeping us from truths..
how to respond to the current waves of disruptive change from a deep place that connects us to the emerging future rather than by reacting against the patterns of the past, which usually means perpetuating them
The more dramatic the changes in our environment, the less we can rely on past patterns, and the more we need to learn to pay attention and tune in to emerging future opportunities.
Two and a half billion people on our planet subsist on less than US$2 per day. Although there have been many successful attempts to lift people out of poverty, this number has not changed much over the past several decades. In addition, we see an increasing polarization in society in which, in the case of the United States, the top 1 percent has a greater collective worth than the entire bottom 90 percent.1
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2000 more than twice as many people died from suicide as died in wars.
Many organized interest groups, including the banking, agriculture, nuclear, oil, and pharmaceutical industries, command a disproportionate influence on the very regulatory bodies that were originally designed to supervise them.
The blind spot of our time is that we take mainstream economic thought for granted, as if it were a natural law.
all so-called economic laws begin to melt and morph into something else the moment you begin to change the most important variable: the quality of awareness of the participants in a system.
x-d glasses – a non-linear growth model, not a circle, not a spiral, .. an interconnected mesh/web
Despite their practical relevance, consciousness and awareness are not variables in the framework of mainstream economics and management. They are a blind spot.
We believe that there is no more important research challenge today than to invent and prototype the institutional innovations that will power, scale, and sustain Economy 4.0.
What innovations in property rights would give voice to future generations and facilitate the best societal uses of scarce resources and commons?
On a global per-person basis, according to Juliet Schor in her book Plenitude, the average material use has been 8.8 metric tons, or just under 50 pounds per day. The US consumer used more than 2.5 times that amount (23 metric tons per person per year, or 139 pounds per person per day).
We have—through our economic thought—turned our planet into a commodity. We have created an economic machine that requires the resources of 1.5 planets.
The current global GDP of US$60 trillion would drop to zero in an instant without nature.
Bucky – 1 in 10,000
Money 4.0, which does not yet exist, would maximize the capacity of all economic actors to shape the systemic use of money in a more intentional, collective, and creative way.
A 4.0 system would put these principles to work. The flows of money and capital would be redirected from the US$190 trillion bubble of profit-seeking capital into those sectors of society that today are underfunded—basically, the whole regenerative side of the economy: innovation, education, health, sustainability, and the environmental, social, and cultural commons.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, gift money often generates the highest productivity over the long term because it allows recipients to radically sense and actualize the emerging future, rather than satisfying the expectations of funders or other stakeholders who tend to driven by viewpoints and indicators of the past.
art – the thing you can’t not do
the root of technology goes back to the Greek word techne, meaning “art.” Art is a realization of the creative process. Thus the source of technology leads us to the source of creativity. From that angle we can differentiate between two types of technology: technologies that are (from the viewpoint of the user) creativity-appreciating and technologies that are creativity-depreciating
To create these communities more often, more intentionally, and also more inclusively, we need supportive holding spaces and people.
Myth 3: Leadership is about creating and communicating a vision. The problem with this myth is that it focuses primarily on broadcasting a message rather than on something much more important: listening.
But what is needed is a model of communication that creates missing links between the different actors in an economy. This model would be multilateral, which means that many parties could join the conversation. It would also be transparent by providing open access to information, and cyclical by allowing the group or the system to reflect on and see itself.
At the core of these struggles is the need to rethink our definitions of “we” and “them.
We call this new capacity ABC—awareness-based collective action—because it arises from places that facilitate the capacity of the system to see itself, to sense what wants to emerge, and to explore the future by doing (prototyping)
to sense what wants to emerge
we have entered an era when insisting on the primacy of individual property rights is outdated and in conflict with the real needs of our time.
What used to be a cultural and economic practice (seed sharing among farmers) was illegal and could be prosecuted, leaving the farmers with a bad choice between economic dependence on Monsanto’s GMO seeds and breaking the law, resulting in the major driver of what has been called the single largest wave of recorded suicides in human history, with 250,000 Indian farmers killing themselves over the past 16 years.
flavors of success – what is being
The ecological divide (overshoot), the social divide (inequity and poverty), and the spiritual-cultural divide (depression) emerge directly from the model of economic thought that frames the earth, human beings, and money as commodities.
Varela, in 1996, he voiced an important insight: “The problem is not that we don’t know enough about the brain or about biology; the problem is that we don’t know enough about experience.
my lack of curiosity had visibly hurt her
We started experiencing the situation from multiple angles. I am the girl. The pirate. The child. The weapon seller. I am the victim and the perpetrator of the Holocaust. I am in you. You are in me. I begin to feel the we. The we is something in me that isn’t me
The bending of the beam happens in a social holding space formed by true listening from the heart
What am I supposed to be doing with my life?’ I kept asking myself. ‘What do I love so much I would pay to do it?’
You could do almost anything with just five people.
if we can be patient and keep from jumping into action, there’s a new possibility present.
cc @dfrieze two-loop theory
The next social revolution has to be an institutional one. A revolution that helps us to bend the beam of institutional attention all the way back to source—that is, to a place where the institutional system can see and renew itself.
cc @RodBeckstrom and @oribrafman #StarfishandSpider
You connect them. You shift the locus of leadership from the center to the periphery—that is, from one place to many places. You connect these places in ways that facilitate sense-making in more distributed, direct, and dialogic ways.
In spite of the importance of personal and relational change, we all know that none of the change initiatives discussed in earlier chapters will make a dent in the global challenges that we face unless we succeed in transforming the key institutions that constitute our society’s systems.
perhaps the vehicle to social change (of all other institutions)
a crisis of deep human transformation (Education 4.0)
yes. it is legal to think for yourself. talk to self daily. call that school/life.
We think it suggests that the real limitation is not “out there” in the world but in our heads, in our assumption about what might be possible.
on becoming us
[made me revisit – bridge over the wadi]
Her mother, a death camp survivior, had faced unspeakable orrors in the camp, but the only memory she had shared with her children was of seeing Germans weeping as they ined the streets outside the camp when it was liberated. For me, it was breathtaking that she chose only to highlight the humanity of a people whose country had committed such atrocities against her.
loc 1925 – from (central) sticks to (market) carrots to (social) norms to (eco) common awareness
post sept 2013:
Otto interviewed by Arianna at davos gef14:
the impact of mindfulness of brain plasticity – we can rewire – form new connections
helps you become a better listener
without listening hard to do/be anything..
no place to wake up together…
we need new structure et al.. but most of all we need a new mindset.. we know how to do that on an individual level.. but not on a systems level.. which would mean to transform capitalism, or economic institutions.. from ego awareness to eco awareness..
Otto’s take on davos wef14:
Otto on leader after davos:
In my previous blog post I shared my observations from the World Economic Forum in Davos: about the rising mindfulness movement on the one hand, and the continued supremacy of what could be called collective sleepwalking on the other.
Collective sleepwalking results in three deep divides that are the signature of our civilizational crisis today:
- the ecological divide–the disconnect between self and nature (resulting in overuse of planet earth’s finite resources–we are using 1.5 planets today);
- the social divide–the disconnect between self and other (resulting in two societies: the 1% vs. the 99%);
- the spiritual divide–the disconnect between selfand self (resulting in suicide now taking more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined).
Leaders need to extend and deepen their capacity for listening–from
- downloading (listening only to confirm what I already know) and
- factual listening (listening for information that challenges what I already know) to
- deeper empathic and generative listening (sensing and presencing the emerging future).
from the Matrix of Social Evolution:
Crossing the Threshold toward 4.0 Societies
Still, moving larger systems to a 4.0 state of operating remains a huge challenge. It requires crossing a threshold of self-reflective meta-awareness on multiple levels:
- As individuals, we must begin to pay attention to our attention (self-awareness)
- As teams, we must begin to have conversations about our conversations (dialogue)
- As enterprises, we must begin to organize our organizing (networks of networks)
- As eco-systems we must begin to coordinate our coordinating (systems of awareness- based collective action, ABC)
To support this ego to eco shift we need a new type of awareness-based collective action leadership school–a distributed platform that focuses on pioneering profound innovations by an approach that links and integrates all sectors (business, government, civil society), system levels (micro, macro, mundo) and all intelligences (head, heart, hand).
To explore this space of possibility and to learn from ongoing experiments already being conducted around the world, the Presencing Institute and the MIT Colab (director: Dayna Cunningham) are co-hosting a Global Forum on economic transformation on Feb 11-12 at MIT. Change-makers from across all sectors, systems, and cultures will be attending.
will be available (the on-site event is already fully subscribed).
Otto’s reflection on Dalai convo 2014:
jan 2014 U.Lab launch:
We are launching it today, January 7, 2015, through MITx on the edX platform. With 22,000 enrolled participants from 187 countries, the U.Lab uses an awareness-based action methodology that will allow change makers from all sectors and countries to collaborate on their respective change initiatives — and to enhance their collective innovation capacity — at a price point of zero. The U.Lab combines the positive side of online learning — equal access to higher education at no cost to the learner — with features that have been largely missing from online offerings: local hubs, mindfulness practices, and deep-listening-based small-group coaching circles that allow individuals and groups to co-sense and co-create their highest future possibility.
If you want to join as an individual participant: click here. If you also want to form a local hub that allows you to link up with collaborators and friends to co-shape this emerging global platform, click here and make it happen.
jan 14 – video launch – http://webcast.amps.ms.mit.edu/spr2015/PGC/VOD-14jan/
25,000 from 192 countries
on noticing. on being.
where you put your focus.. where your love goes rather than your fear
global means everything.. doesn’t have to be big
doing small things with great love.
simple delight of working together with others on things you really care about
so busy focusing on the thing rather than the relational space
14 min – when you’re doing what you’re doing because you want to… creates such a bond
17 min – how to hold the space for a different kind of organizing
what does it mean to create a platform for others to do things and you to be invisible
20 min – creating spaces where something can happen… that journey is a journey of letting go.. the premise is that if i don’t do it it won’t happen
the – what i have to do in order for it to happen – may literally be what’s standing in the way..
Otto’s take/report/reflection on his mooc experience – may 2015:
all i can think of now is this:
i don’t know that any of this has to be this complicated/programmed/labeled (ie: mooc what not ness). we have 2 needs. this experiment showed a response/potential to tickling one of those needs.. no?
[i’m very critical… and/or very ignorant.. in my comments. i always seem to get this way.. when it’s close enough to the edge to look like it’s there. so seems to me more dangerous/blinding…]
the blind spot: uncovering the grammar of the social field – june 2015:
He believed that, in order to understand people’s behavior, one had to look at the whole psychological field, or “lifespace,” within which people act. Lifespaces are constructed under the influence of various force vectors. (20th cent kurt lewin)
2. Boundaries. There is a boundary between the outside and the inside of social fields and social systems. In a recent workshop that I ran with colleagues from the Presencing Institute, one participant missed a 50-minute mindfulness practice designed to teach people how to connect to their deeper sources of creativity and self. When she rejoined the workshop, she described her recognition of that boundary like this: She said
everyone [was talking] from such a deeper level of flow and energy. I must have missed the most important part. I no longer [knew] how to connect to them.
ooh. still reading on.. but first impression is how dangerous that sounds. i don’t think boundaries are healthy. esp if they make you feel like you aren’t enough – at any point in time. (in fact, i’m pretty sure i’ve heard Otto talk this way.. no) i think if we’re talking basic needs, essentials, they can’t be dependent on a lesson. ie: they are already written w/in each person. so i’d not only question the ethics of making people feel this way.. but also question the content of that teaching… ie: how will it sustain. seems to me sustenance comes/will-come from something that’s already w/in each one of us.
3. Interiority. What differentiates social fields from social systems is their degree ofinteriority. Social systems are social fields seen from the outside (the third-person view).
ie from above comment. Bill Russell’s experience happened. it wasn’t that he learned how to do it from a flow chart or any chart. if we try to teach people that experience.. they will most likely act like they get it.. go through the motions.. but it most likely will never be real to them. and thus.. never sustainable. and most certainly.. never authentically thrivable/joyous/eudaimonious. no?
seems we’re to complex/thumbprint ish to fit a chart of fields. for something essential to our being. we dance improv.
where is the life we have lost in living ness. Eliot.
i perfected this for 45 some years. so – i could be completely emotional and blinded to the wisdom of what Otto is saying here… or i could be sensitive enough to detect a (threat?) to a deeper wisdom..
being curious about the process is great. mapping it out to teach others.. that scares me. again – if it’s essential.. seems we have to trust it’s already in us.. and perhaps… rather than teaching it into it.. we trust its emergence from each of us .. daily.. having the luxury to do whatever we want.. ie: swimming in our art…
15. Mirroring. To change the operating levels of a social field, people need a mechanism that helps them bend the beam of observation back onto the observing self. When this happens for the individual (micro), we call it mindfulness. Mindfulness is the capacity to pay attention to your attention. When this happens in a group, we call it dialogue. Dialogue is not people talking to each other. Dialogue is the capacity of a system to see itself. What’s missing in today’s capitalism is a set of enabling or mirroring infrastructures that would help our systems to sense and see themselves and thereby remove the barriers preventing the next round of profound institutional innovation and systems change.
The recent rise in popularity of mindfulness practices is a positive development that is beginning to reshape professional practices in education, health, and leadership, among other sectors. In almost all cases, however, we see the power of mindfulness applied to the cultivation of the individual, the assumption being that once there is a critical mass of individual practitioners, they will eventually shift and transform the whole system.
That view reflects a naïveté in the current mindfulness movement; it tends to be ignorant about the collective structural dynamics of profound social change. From the perspective of social fields the essential question is: How can we apply the power of mindfulness not only to the cultivation of the individual but also to the transformation of the collective–that is, the evolutionary shift of social fields?
ni ness – re wire
17. Eight acupuncture points. At the core of transforming the current social field from ego-system to eco-system is the transformation of the economy–and of economic thought. Rethinking the key categories of economic thought from ego- to eco-system awareness includes the reframing of:
• Nature: from commodity to eco-system
• Labor: from jobs to creative entrepreneurship
• Capital: from extractive to intentional
• Technology: from system-centric to human- and eco-centric
• Leadership: from individual heroism to co-sensing & co-shaping the future
• Consumption: from consumerism to conscious, collaborative sharing
• Coordination: from hierarchy and competition to co-creative fields
• Ownership: from state and private to commons-based ownership rights
Facilitating these shifts in the economy requires a whole suite of institutional innovations. These institutional innovations need to be complemented with innovations in learning infrastructures, such as collective cultivation practices that build the collective capacity to co-sense and co-create.
again – or just trust/set people free.. no? letting a rev of everyday life.. emerge the irrelevance of ie: the acupuncture points unhealthy side
Figuring out how to co-create these new learning infrastructures is one of the most interesting challenges of our time. At the MITx U.Lab and the Presencing Institute we have developed and tested several building blocks for such collective cultivation practices, including deep listening case clinics, technology-enabled global stillness practices, and Social Presencing Theater. All three of these practices effectively do the same thing: they activate the fourth level of the social field and then turn that field into a mirror that allows the actors to sense and see themselves from the evolving whole.
makes me think of pbl.
The recent results of the global MITx U.Lab prototype in early 2015 and related learning experiences that activate the fourth level of the social field represent a very hopeful beginning. They mark the beginning of a new platform and global movement that aims at integrating science, consciousness, and social change by putting the learners into the driver seat of profound personal, relational, and institutional renewal.
ie: the lady in #2 above – doesn’t sound like she is in the driver’s seat.
As Systems Collapse, Citizens Rise
we may be witnessing an emerging pattern of the years to come: bureaucracy is failing (EU), systems collapsing (millions of Asylum seeking refugees in urgent need of helping hands) — AND: citizens rising to the occasion!
Closing the door to problems that we helped to create in the first place means that we are unwilling to look into the mirror of our own collective past (according to the Guardian, the US took only a total of 1500 refugees from Syria since 2011 — less in four full years than the city of Munich did on a single morning last weekend).
dec 2016 – are we ready to rise
*Adopt a practice of intentional stillness…**Create a circle or holding space
*3 and **30 convos..
Find ways to link your networks with platforms that promote dialogue and function as a network of networks.
experience is not what happens to us—but what we do with what happens to us.
? why not what we decide to do everyday.. rather than reacting..
april 2017 – transforming capitalism
..something is missing, something that contributes significantly to the sense that we’re heading in the wrong direction. ..a systemic connection between all these initiatives—an enabling mechanism that allows us to not only connect the dots, but also to see ourselves, and the significance of our work, from the whole.
a true transformation must deal with an essential design flaw in the core architecture of capitalism.
deep/simple/open enough.. for all of us: a nother way – short bit
In his 1944 book The Great Transformation, political economist Karl Polanyi describes this design flaw as commodity fiction. Capitalism, or the market society, as he calls it, is constructed on the foundation of a fiction—namely that nature, labor, and money are commodities; that is, they are produced for the marketplace and for consumption. But, Polanyi argues, nature isn’t produced by us for market consumption. Nor are human beings (labor). And neither is money. But in the market system they are treated as if they are commodities. That’s what he calls commodity fiction.
begs we get to roots of healing
1.Nature: From Resource to Eco-system
2.Labor: From Jobs to Doing Your Own Thing
3.Money: From Extractive to Intentional
actually.. from extractive to irrelevant.. no..?.. ie: bi as temp placebo..
4.Technology: From Creativity-reducing to Creativity-enhancing
The challenge here is to use technology to empower all people to be makers and creators of their worlds and systems rather than their passive recipients, regardless of the level on which they operate.
5.Leadership: From Top-down to Co-create
6. Consumption: From GDP to Well-being
7. Governance: Awareness Based Collective Action (ABC)
how to re invent 21st cent uni
The difficulties we have in meeting today’s global challenges, such as implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) worldwide, are not caused by a knowledge gap. We have all the knowledge we need. The problem is a knowing-doing gap: a disconnect between our collective consciousness and our collective actions.
if this is true.. and if urgency matters.. perhaps a means to hasten that.. ie: as it could be
The classical university was based on the unity of research and teaching.
i thought it was based on a space of leisure
The Greek word for “leisure,” σχoλη, produced the Latin scola, which in turn gave us the English school — our institutions of learning, presently preparation for a lifetime of industrialized conformity, were once intended as a mecca of “leisure” and contemplative activity.
The purpose of education is not to fill vessels. It’s also not to spurn people who diligently rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. The purpose of the 21st-century education and university is to help us develop what matters most: vertical literacy—the capacity to sense and actualize our highest future possibility in the face of disruption.
vertical literacy? – the capacity to sense and actualize our highest future possibility.. comes thru training..? isn’t that rearranging the deck chairs..?
At the entrance to the Academy of Athens there was an inscription that said: Let no one enter here who does not know math and geometry. What should the inscription be at the entrance to the new university that we aspire to create today, 2,400 years later? Maybe it could read: Let no one enter here who does not know that the issues outside are a mirror of the issues inside; i.e., let no one enter here who is vertically illiterate. The new university comes into being—the flame is kindling—wherever and whenever we bend the beam of collective attention back onto ourselves, whenever we cultivate our deeper sources of knowing in order to generate practical solutions for the evolution of the whole.
why even have a space that says.. let no one enter here who does not know.. ______(anything)
Otto Scharmer (@ottoscharmer1) tweeted at 5:45 AM – 8 Jul 2018 :
350 change makers in Western Australia this evening at the Social Impact Festival in Perth https://t.co/1gstZs5kkT (http://twitter.com/ottoscharmer1/status/1015924911989288960?s=17)
Karen San Miguel Wellington ️ (@Karentton) tweeted at 4:31 AM – 8 Jul 2018 :
We need new learning infrastructures that link head, heart & hand. @ottoscharmer1 #SIFest18 #systemschange #21stcentury #education (http://twitter.com/Karentton/status/1015906163630592000?s=17)
Jeroen Koomen (@Jjeekkoo) tweeted at 3:12 PM on Sat, Nov 10, 2018:
Combine this with @KateRaworth Doughnut Economics and let’s get to work! “Axial Shift: The Decline of Trump, the Rise of the Greens, and the New Coordinates of So…” by @ottoscharmer1 https://t.co/NEiNvmpDzP
wasn’t going to add because whole article seems so out of touch.. ie: 1\ everyone has access?
“The digital divide was about access to technology, and now that *everyone has access, the new digital divide is [about] limiting access to technology,” said Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired magazine
everyone has access..? how so..?
2\ finland as ie
Third, while we all know good individual schools that venture into the upper half of the learning spectrum, there are hardly any examples of larger school systems that have done so. I say hardly any because the Finnish (and the Nordic) educational system(s) probably qualify as the sole exception to this rule — even though the key players in Finland emphasize that they are only just beginning their own transformation journey.
but adding because i have to comment on this:
The vertical axis, however, is based on the empirical finding that, in developed economies, more GDP does not tend to translate into more well-being. So, if GDP (as a measure of output, not outcomes) is not a good indicator of economic progress, *is there a better alternative? That’s where the new conversation starts..t
we don’t need a better alt to measuring we need to *quit measuring
then these are given as alts..?
Some alternative indicators currently discussed include (1) Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) indicator, the HDI (Human Development Index) of the UNDP, and (3) an emerging set of measurements that track the progress on implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.
Otto Scharmer (@ottoscharmer1) tweeted at 6:55 AM – 26 Nov 2018 :
Thrilled at @Presencing_Inst to be working with UN to develop the leadership and innovation capabilities to achieve the SDGs. #leadership #SDGs @UN_SDG Leadership Lab explores key insights from systems-thinking and co-creating development with @UNUganda. https://t.co/SnETp3Az0u (http://twitter.com/ottoscharmer1/status/1067054162964291586?s=17)