Otto Scharmer


Otto Scharmer

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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.

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Scharmer wins award for “elevating humankind”

Scharmer receives Leonardo Award

Scharmer wins Jamieson Prize


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

Interviewed by Jake Carlson. Modern Leadership, July 2018.

"4.0 Lab: Inventing the Future of Food, Finance, Health, Ed & Management."

Scharmer, Otto. The Blog. The Huffington Post, June 2017.

"5 Conditions for Shifting Social Fields."

Scharmer, Otto. HuffPost, October 2014.

"5 Introductory Lectures on Theory U By Otto Scharmer."

Scharmer, Otto. Presencing Institute, December 2010.

"7 Critical Tactics to Lead Your Business to a Better Future."

Scharmer, Otto. Young Upstarts, April 20, 2018.

"8 Institutional Innovations that could Update the Economic System."

Scharmer, Otto. The Guardian, September 26, 2014.

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