Otto Scharmer


Otto Scharmer

Support Staff

Get in Touch



Academic Groups

Academic Area

Centers & Initiatives

Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer in the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-founder of the Presencing Institute. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector innovation and introduced the concept of presencing”—learning from the emerging future—in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence (the latter coauthored with Peter Senge and others). His most recent book, The Essentials of Theory U, summarizes the core principles and applications of awareness-based systems change.

In 2015, he co-founded the MITx u.lab and in 2020 the GAIA journey (Global Activation of Intention and Action), both of which promote a worldwide ecosystem of transformational change. Most recently, he and United Nations colleagues cohosted the Global Dialogues on Transforming Systems. With his colleagues he co-created the Action Learning Lab for change makers across UN agencies, as well as a set of SDG Leadership Labs that build capacity for leading transformational change. 

Otto earned a PhD in economics from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. He is a member of the UN Learning Advisory Council for the 2030 Agenda, the World Future Council, and the Club of Rome’s High-Level 21st Century Transformational Economics Commission. He has won the Jamieson Prize for Teaching Excellence at MIT and the European Leonardo Corporate Learning Award. In 2021 he received the Elevating Humanity Award from the Organizational Development Network.

For more information visit and


Scharmer wins award for “elevating humankind”

Scharmer receives Leonardo Award

Scharmer wins Jamieson Prize


"2023 in Eight Points: Meditating on our Planetary Moment."

Scharmer, Otto. Field of the Future Blog. Medium, December 2023.

"Philanthropy 4.0: What Form of Giving Enables Transformative Change?"

Scharmer, Otto. Field of the Future Blog. Medium, December 2023.

"In memory of Ed Schein: From Accessing Your Ignorance to Accessing Your Love."

Scharmer, Otto. Journal of Awareness-Based Systems Change Vol. 3, No. 1 (2023): 9-16.

"Protect the Flame: But Where the Danger Is, the Saving Power Also Grows."

Scharmer, Otto. Field of the Future Blog. Medium, April 2023.

"The Navigation System, The Planetary Gardener, and the Prism: Metaphors for Bringing the Future Into Being."

Inayatullah, Sohail, Emma Paine, and Otto Scharmer. Journal of Awareness-Based Systems Change Vol. 2, No. 2 (2022): 183-201.

"Transforming our Economies from Ego to Eco."

Otto Scharmer. In Earth4All: Deep-Dive Paper 11, October 2022.

Load More

Recent Insights

Ideas Made to Matter

Fourteen MIT Sloan faculty members to follow on Twitter

New Twitter list collects insight and ideas from more than 40 professors, lecturers, and research scientists

Read Article

Media Highlights

Press Source: Medium | Field of the Future Blog (Opinion Piece)

Protect the Flame

"Because our planetary emergency is already so fragile, each of us needs to hold and protect the flame by holding it close to our heart."

Read Article
Load More