Theory U

"The purpose of the field walk is to learn to see what so far has largely remained invisible: the full process of coming-into-being of social action, the creation of a social reality

Just as a plant starts growing long before we see the sprout above the soil surface, the coming-into-being of social reality starts before people behave and interact. This invisible territory beneath the surface is what I explore and describe throughout this book."

The core of U Theory

At the core of the "U" theory is presencing: sensing + presence. According to The Learning Exchange, Presencing is a journey with five movements:

We move down one side of the U (connecting us to the world that is outside of our institutional bubble) 

to the bottom of the U (connecting us to the world that emerges from within) 

and up the other side of the U (bringing forth the new into the world).

On that journey, at the bottom of the U, lies an inner gate that requires us to drop everything that isn't essential. This process of letting-go (of our old ego and self) and letting-come (our highest future possibility: our Self) establishes a subtle connection to a deeper source of knowing. 

The essence of presencing is that these two selves-our current self and our best future Self-meet at the bottom of the U and begin to listen and resonate with each other.

Once a group crosses this threshold, nothing remains the same. Individual members and the group as a whole begin to operate with a heightened level of energy and sense of future possibility. Often they then begin to function as an intentional vehicle for an emerging future.

The core elements are shown below.

1. Co-initiating common intent: Stop and listen to others and to what life calls you to do.5. Co-evolving through innovations: ecosystems that facilitate seeing and acting from the whole.
2. Co-sensing the field of change: Go to the places of most potential and listen with your mind and heart wide open.4. Co-creating strategic microcosms: Prototype the new to explore the future by doing.
3. Presencing inspiration and common will: Go to the threshold and allow the inner knowing to emerge.

"Moving down the left side of the U is about opening up and dealing with the resistance of thought, emotion, and will; moving up the right side is about intentionally reintegrating the intelligence of the head, the heart, and the hand in the context of practical applications".

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The Four Levels of Listening

Vídeo de YouTube

Listening is the most underrated of leadership skills, leading to a disconnect between leaders and the situation. Otto describes four levels of listening.
This is essential viewing for anyone desiring to truly understand situations. Extracted from edX MITx U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society and Self

The Blind Spot of Leadership

Social transformation and the path to a green, regenerative, and just economy requires a new collective leadership capacity that enables communities to innovate at the scale of the whole system. This new leadership capacity involves all key stakeholders in a journey of sensing and actualizing emerging future opportunities. To do so, leaders need to progress from egosystem awareness to ecosystem awareness.

Learning from the Future as it Emerges

Vídeo de YouTube

Otto Scharmer talks about how we, as individuals and collectively as a society, create results no one wants - ecological, social and spiritual divide. He talks about what causes such divides and how we can overcome them. He points out that we need to shift to a mindset where we care about the wellbeing of others instead of just looking out for ourselves. He then introduces us to the U.Lab an online course that aims to change, through introspection, how we interact with ourselves, others and nature so as to create a future of harmony.

From Ego to Ecosystems

Vídeo de YouTube

About Otto Scharmer

Otto Scharmer grea up on an farm, son of pioneers in organic farming. 

He is a senior lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. 

He is the co-founder of the Presencing Institute, and the founding chair of the MIT IDEAS Program, that takes leaders from civil society, government and business from Indonesia and China on a nine month action learning journey in order to co-create profound social innovation in their communities. 

With the German government (GIZ Global Leadership Academy) and the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan, he co-founded the Global Wellbeing and Gross National Happiness Lab, which brings together innovative thinkers from developing and industrialized countries to prototype new ways of measuring well-being and social progress. 

Scharmer holds a Ph.D. in economics and management from Witten-Herdecke University in Germany. In 2015 he received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in teaching from MIT.
Stella Ne,
25 Jan 2018, 14:47