Otto Scharmer


Otto Scharmer


Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer in the MIT Sloan School of Management and founder of the Presencing Institute. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector innovation, which helps leaders in business, government, and civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system. Scharmer introduced the concept of presencing”—learning from the emerging future—in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence (the latter co-authored with Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers). He is coauthor of Leading from the Emerging Future, which outlines eight acupuncture points for transforming capitalism. His new book, The Essentials of Theory U (2018), focuses on the core principles and applications of awareness-based systems change.

In 2015 he co-founded the MITx u.lab, a massive open online course (MOOC) for leading profound change, which has since activated a global eco-system of societal and personal renewal involving more than 120,000 users from 185 countries. In 2019 he co-founded the Societal Transformation Lab, which focuses on reinventing education, advancing democracy, and reshaping an economy that works for all with hundreds of teams around the world. In 2018 he started to work with the UN Sustainable Development Group on accelerating the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by a global network of SDGs Leadership Labs.

Otto earned his diploma (with distinction) and PhD (summa cum laude) from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. He received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching at MIT (2015) and the European Leonardo Corporate Learning Award (2016). In 2018 The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General appointed him to the UN Learning Advisory Council for the 2030 Agenda. 




Scharmer receives Leonardo Award

Scharmer wins Jamieson Prize


"Turning the Tide."

Scharmer, Otto. Field of the Future Blog. Medium, December 2018.

"Ego to Eco – Building a New Economy for Western Australia (podcast)."

Interviewed by Karun Cowpe. Globalactive Podcast, August 2018.

"It Takes a Journey."

Scharmer, Otto. August 2018.

"3 Criticisms of Leadership with MIT Professor Otto Scharmer (podcast)."

Interviewed by Jake Carlson. Modern Leadership, July 2018.

"How to Escape your Organization’s Echo Chamber."

Scharmer, Otto. Conscious Company Media, June 11, 2018.

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