Otto Scharmer

Senior Lecturer, Organization Studies

Biography | Selected Publications

Otto Scharmer

Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and cofounder of the Presencing Institute.  A global action researcher, Otto works with leaders in government, global companies, and NGOs to achieve profound innovation across sectors and cultures. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector leadership capacity building in China and Indonesia.  

In collaboration with his colleagues, Otto introduced the concept of “presencing” —learning from the emerging future — in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence (the latter coauthored with P. Senge, J. Jaworski, and B. S. Flowers). His book Leading From the Emerging Future:  From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies (coauthored with K. Kaufer), applies the concept of mindfulness to the transformation of capitalism.

In 2015 he cofounded the MITx u.lab, a massive open online course (MOOC) that uses a blended o2o (online-to-offline) learning platform to enable transformational leadership learning for tens of thousands of participants in hundreds of countries.

Otto earned his diploma (with distinction) and PhD (summa cum laude) from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. In 2015 he received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching at MIT.


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Contact Information
Office: E62-419
Tel: (617) 253-0486
Support Staff
Name: Ashley Langer
Tel: (617) 324-7368

Research Center(s)

General Expertise
Action learning; Africa; Asia; Asia Pacific; Banking; Brazil; B-school; Change management; China; Developing countries; Digitization; Distance learning; Distributed leadership; Economic crisis; Economic history; Economics; Economy; Emerging markets; Entrepreneurship; Environmental leadership; Ethics; Ethics; Europe; European Union (EU); Executive education; Future of work; Future of work; Germany; Global economics; Globalization; Government; Healthcare; Innovation; Innovative thinking; Japan; Leadership; Leadership; Leadership; Managing change; Managing change; MOOCs; MOOCs; Organization development; Organizational behavior; Organizational change; Organizational communication; Organizational culture; Organizational learning; Organizations; Political economy; Scandinavia; Sharing economy; Social entrepreneurship; Social responsibility; Southeast Asia; Strategic management; Strategy; Tri-sector collaboration