Archive for December, 2010

seeds of our future: some first sprouts

Friday, December 31st, 2010 | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The past five years has made us aware that presencing work is part of a much larger opening process that currently is going on in the world on many different levels and at different scales. In many places, it is also an important counter to increasing manifestations of absencing in the world.

What is the future calling us to do?
Five years ago when a small group of us started the Presencing Institute, we envisioned a global Presencing-in-Action Leadership School that would integrate science, consciousness, and profound societal change. As a first step, we decided to prototype a much smaller version of it and call it the Presencing Institute (PI).

Since then, many more people have become involved in PI, beginning to prototype seven key elements of the presencing-in-action leadership school:

1. Research: While the books Theory U and Presence have been published and each have been translated into 12 languages, we have been working on a new book that reflects on how Theory U can serve as a framework for transforming capitalism and pioneering society 4.0.

2. Social Technologies: We created an online open source Theory U toolbox. Currently, we are working on a 2.0 version of the online toolbox that will allow practitioners across our whole community to upload and share their tools as part of our collective knowledge-creation efforts.

3. Capacity Building . Over the past five years, we have been delivering the Presencing Foundation Program in Africa, North America, Asia, and Europe while also pioneering a global online class that blends state of the art online teaching tools with deep reflection practices and action learning (Global Classroom). We have used the Global Classroom for classes on Process Consultation (Ed Schein) and Presencing (Otto). We also developed a ten-month leadership program for high potential emerging leaders from business, government, and from civil society that results in hands-on prototyping initiatives. We currently are delivering this program through MIT executive education in Indonesia (where we just finished the second wave) and will soon expand this program to other countries including the Philippines and China. Another breakthrough this year was the launch of a two-year Presencing Masterclass that links 72 advanced practitioners from 24 countries into an inspired web of connection and co-creation. The participants of themasterclass meet in monthly virtual coaching sessions and convene in person as a global group for four days, four times over a two-year period.

4. Living Examples – Profound Innovation and Change: Perhaps the most important Presencing work is to support and be in service of applied projects and change initiatives in communities, organizations, and cross-sector large scale change initiatives. Currently, directly or through the Master Class, PI is supporting a range of living examples:
the African Public Health Care Initiative that helps leaders in the health system of Namibia to reinvent and improve their system
WWF and the Coral Triangle Initiative to Develop new or alternative models of juvenile tuna management in the Western Central Pacific and its associated fisheries that channel a portion of tuna’s economic value back into sustainable management initiatives
as well as helping leaders in companies like Natura to deal with their complex multi-stakeholder related challenges of creating innovations for social, economic, ecological, and spiritual well being.
5. Social Presencing Theater: Arawana Hayashi has made real breakthroughs this year directing Social Presencing Theatre that blends embodiment, awareness, improvisation, dialogue, and collective creativity. It has become a core component of the PI Masterclass curriculum.

6. Global/Local Presencing Community Building: The PI community now has 20 individuals in its core group , 72 in its extended core (PI Masterclass) and 4800 online community members, as well as a web presence of close to a million hits per year. How to best interweave and leverage these different levels of community is another question we will continue to work on in 2011.

7. Innovations in Infrastructures: Having prototyped the various key elements of a new presencing-in-action leadership school over the past few years, we now ask ourselves how to best take these elements to the next levels:
As our global community of Presencing practitioners and innovators continues to grow, we will continue to build and expand the structures we have created to convene, link, support and strengthen this work.
In addition, we will continue to explore the larger question of how can we reinvent institutions of education such that the next generation moves into the driver seat of profound societal change? At MIT, we have had great experiences and successes with using presencing for students and mid-career executives at the Sloan School of Management and at the MIT Community Innovators Lab. These first successes beg the question how we might take this more to scale.
While most of our funding is generated through our own products and services, we have been helped enormously in many of these explorations by a generous grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

We believe that the question for us now is what are we called to do as global community of change makers? How can we transform capitalism and pioneer a society and economy that is more inclusive, sustainable, and aware? We believe that we live in a time where emerging global communities like ours can have a big impact if we can rise to the occasion. To dialogue about this, and other questions, we are considering convening the first Global Presencing Forum in Fall 2011 (Oct 24-25) in Cambridge, Mass. Let us know what you think and whether such a forum might be of interest and relevance for you!
Wishing you love and light for the coming year!
– otto