Otto Scharmer

Senior Lecturer, Organization Studies

Biography | Selected Publications

Otto Scharmer

Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

He is cofounder 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 Well-being 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. He has worked with governments in Africa, Asia, and Europe and led leadership and innovation programs at corporations such as Daimler, Alibaba, ICBC, Eileen Fisher, Google, and PwC.

In collaboration with his colleagues, Scharmer introduced the concept of “presencing” —learning from the emerging future — in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence (the latter co-authored with P. Senge, J. Jaworski, and B. S. Flowers). His most recent book, Leading From the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies (coauthored with Katrin Kaufer), focuses on transforming business, society, and self.

Through MITx and, he currently delivers the U-Lab, a new type of social entrepreneurship MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that uses presencing practices of co-sensing and co-creating emerging futures with a platform of 28,000 participants from 191 countries that collaborate through more than 350 self-organized U.Lab Hubs across countries and cultures. 

Scharmer holds a PhD in economics and management from Witten-Herdecke University in Germany. In 2015 he received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in teaching from 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