10 insights on the Ego-2-Eco Economy Revolution

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 | Uncategorized

We live in an age of profound disruption. Global crises, such as finance, food, fuel, water, resource scarcity and poverty challenge just about every aspect of society. Yet, this disruption also brings the possibility of profound personal, societal and global renewal. We need to stop and ask: Why do we collectively create results nobody wants? What keeps us locked into the old ways of operating? And what can we do to transform these root issues that keep us trapped in the patterns of the past?

The book Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies ponders these questions and proposes a new line of thought that is summarized in the 10 insights below.

(1) The root cause of today’s global crises originates between our ears — in our outdated paradigms of economic thought.

Wherever you go and talk with people, they already know or feel that we are approaching a moment of disruption. You’ll find this is the case whether it’s a team at the top of global companies, governments, civil society organizations, or citizens gathered for grassroots-level community meetings. Most people today feel that we live in a time where something is ending, and something else wants to be born. This feeling is so common that we almost take it for granted now. Yet, just 10 or 15 years ago it didn’t exist the way it does today.

The symptoms of the current crises can be summarized in terms of three divides that disconnect self from the primary sources of life: ecological, social, and spiritual. The ecological divide manifests in symptoms like environmental destruction. We currently use 1.5 times the regeneration capacity of planet earth.  In other words, we actually use 1.5 planets! The social divide manifests in increasing rates of poverty, inequity, fragmentation and polarization. And the spiritual divide shows up in increased rates of burnout, depression and in an increasing disconnect of GDP from the actual well-being of people.

Figure 1 depicts these symptoms of our current crisis as the surface level of an iceberg model. The ecological divide is based on a disconnect between self and nature. The social divide disconnects self from other. And the spiritual divide is based on a disconnect between self and self — between the current self (which resulted from our journey of the past) and the emerging future self (that may result from our journey to the future).

What driving forces cause the deepening of the three divides? If the symptoms represent the visible part of our current reality iceberg above the waterline, what does the systemic structure below the waterline look like?

Figure 1 shows two levels of causal factors below the waterline. At first there is a set of eight systemic key issues. A structural disconnect between:

  • the infinite growth imperative and the finite resources of planet earth;
  • between the Haves and the Have Nots;
  • between the financial and the real economy;
  • between technology and real societal needs;
  • between institutional leadership and people;
  • between gross domestic product (GDP) and actual well-being;
  • between governance mechanisms and the voiceless in our systems; and
  • between actual ownership forms and best societal use of property.

Fig 1

Figure 1:  Three Levels: Symptoms; Systemic Disconnects; Paradigms of Economic Thought

These structural disconnects depict a broken system. But what is the root cause that gives rise to these disconnects and their systemic bubbles?

We believe that the most important root cause for these systemic disconnects originates directly from our paradigms of economic thought.

Like most things on earth, economic frameworks also have their life-cycle of birth, development, growth, and finally a phase of outliving their usefulness. The frameworks of modern economic theory are no exception. For example, after the world economic crises of the 1930s, the mainstream economic thinking evolved by opening up to Keynesian macroeconomic thought, which then shaped policy making for the better part of the remaining century.  Then, after the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, mainstream economic thinking evolved again by opening up to Milton Friedman’s articulation of monetarism, which influenced policy making for the decades that followed. How then has the mainstream economic thinking evolved and opened up as a result of the global financial crisis in 2007/8?

Unfortunately, there has not been any significant evolution or opening of the mainstream thinking since the financial crisis, and our economic debates are still shaped by the same frameworks, faces, and false dichotomies that ushered in the crisis. This is even more worrisome as the 2007/8 crisis may well mark a bigger disruption than the two crises previously mentioned. This is precisely why the development of an advanced economic framework is one of our primary tasks today.

The main shortcomings of conventional economic frameworks and theory can be summarized in two words: externalities and consciousness. While externalities have been discussed at length, consciousness tends to not even be noticed.

(2) The blind spot of modern economic thought can be summarized with a single word: consciousness 

Consciousness doesn’t register as a category of economic thought.  It happens to be a blind spot. However, in the reality of business leadership, the real role of a CEO has everything to do with it.  For example, most work of managing change boils down to helping conflicting stakeholder systems to move from one way of operating to another, that is, from just seeing their own point of view to seeing the problem from multiple perspectives. Whenever people leave their own points of view and begin to appreciate the perspectives of other stakeholders as well, the consequence will be better collaborative relationships and better results.

Yet, in spite of its growing practical relevance, consciousness still doesn’t register as a category of economic thought.

(3) The evolution of the economy and of modern economic thought mirrors the footprints of an evolving human consciousness. 

The history of the economy and of modern economic thought can be reconstructed as the embodiment of an evolving human consciousness. The modern economy is based on division of labor, which consequently has led to enormous leaps in productivity. Division of labor comes with the question: How do we coordinate all these individual activities to a coherent whole?

Viewed from this angle, we can differentiate four responses to this question, which include the stages of economic development that come with them:

1.0  Organizing around centralized coordination: This involves organizing around hierarchy and central planning, giving rise to centralized economies (socialism, mercantilism), and embodying the traditional forms of values and awareness.

2.0 Organizing around decentralized coordination: This involves organizing around markets and competition, giving rise to the second (private) sector, the free market economy. This embodies the state of ego-system awareness, that is, a concern for the well-being of oneself.
3.0 Organizing around special interest group driven coordination: This involves organizing around stakeholder negotiations and dialogue, giving rise to the third (social) sector and the social market economy (stakeholder capitalism). This embodies the state of stakeholder awareness, that is, a concern for the well-being of oneself and one’s immediate stakeholders.

4.0 Organizing around commons: This involves organizing around awareness based collective action (ABC) as a mechanism to transform stakeholder relationships from habitual to co-creative. This way of operating embodies eco-system awareness, that is, a concern for the well-being of other stakeholders and the whole.

Although each culture and country navigates its own journey through these states and stages, there is a tendency to move from 1.0 to 4.0. There also is a growing complexity through these states, as earlier forms continue to exist in the later stages, i.e., 1.0 institutions (like hierarchies) and 2.0 institutions (like markets) continue to exist in a 3.0 or 4.0 economy, but they do so in an evolved larger meta-context defined by the respective stage. 1

Historic examples for 1.0 include the 18th century mercantilism. For 2.0 we only need look at the 19th century free market or laissez faire economies. The 20th century version of the social market economy or stakeholder capitalism brings us to 3.0. Examples of where the current 3.0 model hits the wall include various types of global externalities. The collapse of the climate talks in Copenhagen and the successful intervention of Wall Street banks after 2008 to prevent effective banking regulation to be passed are prime examples for the systemic failure of Capitalism 3.0 to deal with the major challenges of our time.

Thus, the evolution and complexity of the real economy is calling for an evolution of our awareness from 1.0 (habitual), 2.0 (caring about the well-being of my ego), and 3.0 (caring about the well-being of my ego and some of my direct stakeholders) to 4.0 (caring about the well-being of my ego, all stakeholders, and of the whole eco-system).

In other words, the economic imperatives of our time call for an evolution of our self from ego to eco, from one state of awareness to another. This is not just for moral reasons, but also for economic reasons because getting stuck in the state of the ego no longer makes for good business.

(4) To paraphrase Einstein, the problem with today’s capitalism is that we are trying “to solve problems with the same consciousness that created them.”

The issues of the three divides may be more intense today, but they are not new. So what have we learned in dealing with them over the past 100 or so years?

We treat the symptoms. For each problem we created ministries, academic departments, NGO clusters, foundations, journals, conferences, career tracks, and so on. In short, we’ve established for each problem a silo solution, a small industry that responds to the respective issue on a symptom basis. If we have learned one thing from the past 100 years it might be: We cannot solve these issues by addressing them one symptom at a time. We keep missing the interconnectedness among the three divides and the deeper systemic root issues from which they originate. We are busy doing exactly what Einstein warned us against: reacting to problems with the same consciousness that created them.

We’re wasting our resources by trying to solve 4.0 (eco-system) problems with 2.0 or 3.0 response patterns. And by debating whether our response should be shaped by 2.0 or 3.0 mechanisms, we are wasting our public conversation with false alternatives. The real questions that we should be asking are: How do we advance our economic thought and action to 4.0?  How do we construct pioneering pathways into the co-creative eco-system economy?

(5) Helping stakeholder systems shift their way of operating from ego-system to eco-system awareness is the central leadership challenge of our time.

Helping stakeholder systems to shift their way of operating from ego- to eco-system awareness is “central” not only in the sense that it is shared across systems, but also in that the well-being and survival of our children and future generations depends on our ability to develop such collective capacities now.

Today’s companies can be likened to today’s nation states. Both are too small for the big problems and too big for the small problems. As a consequence, top-level leaders face major multi-stakeholder challenges that require them to link with and influence large groups of key stakeholders in their eco-systems or extended enterprise. The bigger your extended enterprise, the more success will depend on your ability to make the stakeholders in your system see each other, see the whole, and to care about the well-being of the whole.

We have been doing change work in a variety of systems, including business, education, health, government, and community-based organizations. What struck us throughout these experiences is that the fundamental leadership challenges across these systems are basically the same. They deal with convening large, complex stakeholder groups, making them listen to each other, bringing them on a journey of seeing the system through the eyes of other stakeholders, taking them to a place of deep reflection and stillness, and allowing them to connect to their own sources of inspiration and energy.

(6) The shift from ego-system to eco-system awareness requires a journey that involves walking in the shoes of other stakeholders and attending to the three instruments of inner knowing: open mind, open heart, and open will.

What does it take to shift the awareness of a stakeholder system from ego to eco? As described in the book Theory U: it takes a journey. A journey that not only involves walking in the shoes of other —often the least privileged — stakeholders, but a journey that involves the awakening of three inner instruments of knowing: the open mind, the open heart, and the open will. 2

Open mind is the capacity to see with fresh eyes and to suspend old habits of thought. Open heart is the capacity to empathize, to see the situation through the eyes of another stakeholder. Open will is the capacity of letting-go and letting-come: Letting-go of old identities (“Us vs. Them”), and letting-come a new sense of possibility and self.

Fig 2

Figure 2: Theory U: One Process, Three Instruments (Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Will)

The effectiveness of accessing these three instruments depends on the ability to deal with the sources of resistance (“three enemies”):

  • VoJ (Voice of Judgment): The VoJ shuts down the Open Mind by habitually judging self and others. All creativity techniques start with somehow suspending the VoJ.
  • VoC (Voice of Cynicism): The VoC shuts down the Open Heart by offering an easy alternative to making oneself vulnerable. The problem with that easy exit is that it does the same thing as the VoJ: it blocks one’s opening process for accessing the deeper sources of creativity.
  • VoF (Voice of Fear): The VoF tends to shut down the Open Will by not letting go but holding on to old identities, ideologies, and Us vs. Them belief structures.

The better we learn to deal with these three “enemies,” the higher our mastery will be in accessing the deeper sources of our co-creative knowing.

(7) Addressing the current global crisis at its root calls for a 4.0 update of the economic operating system through reframing eight “acupuncture points” of the global economic system.  

When in the late 19th and early 20th century the 2.0 laissez-faire capitalism hit the wall in the form of poverty, inequity, environmental issues, and cyclical financial crises, societies responded by creating a string of institutional innovations that set the stage for capitalism 3.0 (unions, federal reserve banks, legislation for labor, farmers, and the environment). Today, as capitalism 3.0 hits the wall of global externalities, we need another update of our economic operating system to 4.0.

This time the institutional innovations need to involve another set of acupuncture points. Here is a list of institutional innovations that all deal with closing the feedback loop of “matter” and “mind” in the economy, that is, of economic action and the well-being of the ecological-social-spiritual whole (“eco-system”). They are:

  1. Nature:  Close the feedback loop of production, consumption, reuse, and recycling through “earth-to-earth” or closed-loop design.
  2. Labor:  Close the feedback loop from work (jobs) to Work (passion) by building infrastructures that foster and ignite inspired entrepreneurship.
  3. Capital:  Close the feedback loop of capital by redirecting speculative investment into ecological, social, and cultural-creative renewal.
  4. Technology:  Close the feedback loop from technology creation to societal needs in underserved communities through needs assessment and participatory planning.
  5. Leadership:  Close the feedback loop from leadership to the emerging future of the whole through practices of co-sensing, co-inspiring, and co-creating.
  6. Consumption:  Close the feedback loop from economic output to the well-being of all through conscious, collaborative consuming and through new well-being indicators such as GNH (Gross National Happiness).
  7. Coordination:  Close the feedback loop in the economy from the parts to the whole through ABC (awareness-based collective action).
  8. Ownership:  Close the feedback loop from ownership rights to the best societal use of assets through shared ownership and commons-based property rights that safeguard the interests of future generations.

As depicted in Figure 3, the journey from 2.0 to 4.0 (as spelled out in more detail through the Matrix of Economic Evolution in the book) is not only a journey from ego to eco, it is a journey of reframing the essence of economic thought around all eight acupuncture points that reintegrate matter and mind in the economy.

Fig 3

Figure 3: Eight Acupuncture Points of Transforming Capitalism to 4.0

For example, nature, labor, and capital are no longer conceptualized as a mere commodity but reframed as eco-systems, entrepreneurship, and creative capital, respectively.

(8) Shifting the system to 4.0 requires a threefold revolution.

What does it take to put economy and society 4.0 onto its feet? It takes a threefold revolution: an individual, a relational, and an institutional inversion.  Each inversion is a U-type of process as indicated in figure 2. It is a process where some deeper or dormant capacities are opening up or awakening. Inversion means turning inside-out and outside-in.

Individual inversion means to open up thinking (open mind), feeling (open heart), and will (open will) in order to learn to act as an instrument for the future that is wanting to emerge.

Relational inversion means to open up communicative relationships from downloading (conforming) and debate (defending) to dialogue (reflective inquiry) and collective creativity (flow) in order to tune as groups into the field of the future.

Institutional inversion means to open traditional institutional geometries of power from 1.0 and 2.0 forms of coordinating and organizing — centralized hierarchy and decentralized competition — to 3.0 and 4.0 forms of coordinating around co-creative stakeholder relationships in eco-systems that generate well-being for all.

 Fig 4

Figure 4: The Matrix of Social Evolution (all system levels, all structures of attention)

Figure 4 depicts the three transformations for the individual (column 1), the relational (column 2) and the institutional inversion (column 3 and 4) in the form of a Matrix of Social Evolution that integrates all system levels (micro-meso-maco-mundo) and all structures of awareness (1.0 to 4.0).

Some of the first research with this framework shows that many change makers do have level four experiences on the micro and meso level, but that the level four examples for the macro and mundo level are rare and seen as critical bottlenecks in the current development stages of the systems.

(9) We need new types of innovation infrastructures in order to build collective leadership capacities on a massive scale.

Many people think that what’s missing in order to move to a new economy is just a set of better ideas. That, of course, is not the case. We need much more than new ideas. We need new innovation structures and social technologies that will allow groups to move from their habitual levels to the new co-create level 4. These infrastructures will include:

  1. Co-initiating: Creating spaces for convening stakeholders around a shared eco-system.
  2. Co-sensing: Going to the places of most potential and observing with one’s mind and heart wide open.
  3. Co-inspiring: Creating spaces for connecting to the sources of creativity and self.
  4. Co-creating: Creating spaces for exploring the future by doing (prototyping).
  5. Co-shaping: Creating spaces for embodying and scaling the new through practices.

Of these infrastructures, the co-sensing and co-inspiring ones are particularly underdeveloped in society today.  Trying to advance societal innovation by just talking about them or by talking about their final stages (number 4 or 5 of the above infrastructure list) is like playing a violin without a body, or to use another analogy, building a house without a foundation and ground floor.

What would be necessary today is an interconnected set of global sensing hotspots that would allow for local, regional, and global players to connect around specific issue areas in order to co-sense, co-inspire and co-create through multi-local prototyping.

(10) The shift from an ego-system to an eco-system economy requires a global movement that needs to be supported by a new leadership school. That school should create collaborative platforms across sectors, systems, and generations and work through integrating science, art, and the practice of profound, awareness-based change.

We began with locating the root cause of today’s predicament between our ears and in our old patterns of thought, particularly our economic thought.  To shift these patterns takes no less than an intentional global infrastructure (or leadership school) that focuses not only on a new framework, but also on practical methods and tools to realize the shift from ego to eco and how to awaken a new quality of thinking that links the head, heart, and hand.

Such a new leadership school would be a home base for the emerging global movement of 4.0-related transformation journeys. At the same time, it would prototype a 21st century action university that integrates three forms of knowledge: technical knowledge (know-what), practical knowledge (know-how) and transformation knowledge (know-who: self knowledge). Here is a first set of principles that are essential for this type of school and which are designed for global-local replication:

  1. Engage systems at all levels and states: Engage systems by using the entire Matrix of Social Evolution (figure 4).
  2. Engage all levels of intelligence: Integrate open mind (IQ: intellectual knowledge), open heart (EQ: emotional and relational knowledge), and open will (SQ: self knowledge).
  3. Systems Thinking: Integrate methods and tools derived from 30 years of organizational learning research and practice. 3
  4. MOOCs: Use massive open online courses that combine course delivery with interactive personal, small-group dialogue and the presence of a global community of change makers that effects transformative change.
  5. Deep immersion: Use deep dive learning journeys and generative listening practices in order to connect communities and places of most potential.
  6. Science 2.0: Use scientific methods that let the “data talk to you.” The challenges of this century involve extending the concept of science beyond looking exclusively at exterior data (third-person view). We need to bend the beam of scientific observation back upon the observer in order to investigate the more subtle levels of experience of the second- and first-person view. 4
  7. Presencing: Use practices that allow leaders to sense and actualize the emerging future and to clarify the two root questions of creativity: Who is my Self? What is my Work?
  8. Power of Intention: Focus on the capacity to connect with the deeper intention of one’s journey, connecting us more deeply with one another, the world and ourselves.
  9. Prototyping: Link head, heart, and hand in order to create living examples and prototypes that allow us to explore the future by doing.
  10. Power of Place: Complement the massive expansion of online learning with an equally massive global network of vibrant entrepreneurial hubs that focus on activating co-sensing and co-creating as a gateway for unleashing entrepreneurial potential. Great innovations happen in places. Learning how to design and hold spaces for reflection, generative conversation, and system-wide transformation is a mission critical capacity today.

Fig 5

Fig. 5: An Ego-2-Eco Transformation Leadership School—A Set of Global Acupuncture Points

Profound personal, societal and global renewal is not only possible; it is crucial for our planetary future.  What is needed are change makers willing to lead from the emerging future; leaders who are willing to learn about and practice the journey from ego-system to eco-system economies. We have the places, living examples, frameworks and tools in hand. Now what we need is the co-creative vision and the common will to bringing it into reality.

Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies is available from amazon.com.

  1. Notice that the distinctions from 1.0 to 4.0 only apply to the modern economy. Pre-modern states or economic and social development share many same features, but also some significant differences with 4.0. The perspective presented in the book combines both Eastern—cyclical—and Western—linear—aspects, linking them to a spiral or U based integral view.   
  2. Scharmer, C. Otto (2009), Theory U: Leading from the Emerging Future as It Emerges: The Social Technology of Presencing (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler).  
  3. Senge, P., (1990), The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (NY: Random House).  
  4. Scharmer, C.O., and P. Senge (2001), Community Action Research. In: Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury (eds.), Handbook of Action Research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.  

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16 Comments to 10 insights on the Ego-2-Eco Economy Revolution

Heather Lawrence
September 11, 2013

Dear Otto, I just woke in Australia to this generous sharing synthesis.
Thankyou to you and all at the Presencing Institute for sharing your imagination/inspiration and your thinking with such clarity for us. What a task we have….. the time is now. I’m inspired!
Much gratitude.

Paul Hess
September 11, 2013

Very Good Auto! Your thoughts are vital and on the leading edge. Our work has a lot in common. I am developing a model of the firm that is 4.0. I contrast Shareholder, Stakeholder and Sustainable Firms. There are four revolutions in management involving: organizations, economics, science and morality. This involves 9 new principles that apply to 10 areas of organization: marketing, accounting, hr, culture, ecosystems, etc. This is stated in practical and theoretical terms to replace the economist’s model of the firm. I am open to sharing my article on this with anyone who is interested.

September 13, 2013

Dear Otto,
thanks to Joris Claeys I found this fresh blog post, which resonates with so much I do since I first had the copy of “Presencing” in my hand at the International System Dynamics Conference in Boston 2007.

Glad to have been part of the reviewing crowd of the new book “Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies” I have seen more than once the shifts in society, and was personally involved. Beginning from the “Fall of the Wall” in 1989, to the flooding in Dresden 2002 (when a city and its citizens shifted for a short time into a new world eco-orientated behavior) to the establishment of the new BMW Plant Leipzig (where the creative collective action was the main driver to make this project possible in time, on budget, and quality).

What accounted for all three events: it was a short span in time, when the conditions shifted, and behavior of the stakeholders shifted.

However, not for long, and new institutions, regulations, and working groups established behavior across society that was again built on the ego-awareness of the past. Probably a very normal process, because nothing is more wished by human beings as some sort of stability (after the turbulences). In stability business can grow as planned, and business arenas can be established with “unseen” gates.

What Jay W. Forrester described in his 1989 keynote speech at the International System Dynamics Conference in Stuttgart (weeks before the “Wall” crashed) gives hope that what you have in mind, Otto, and other stakeholders (whether part of the establishment, or acting on the edge in rather small areas of impact) envision, a new leadership school, is possible to put into reality.

Here blogpost by myself Jay’s vision: http://bizdesigndd.blogspot.de/2013/02/design-for-21st-century-management.html

Very much interested to join the forces to bring this dream to reality from the edge in Dresden, I am looking forward to hearing more about it, and how to engage practically, and for good.

Joris Claeys (knowledgEnabler)
September 13, 2013

Thanks Otto for sharing this best-ever overview of requirements of the Transition Narrative (ecoNVERGE / @ Econologics) for humanity to evolve to a new Paradigm Shift.
Your views and resolutions are inspiring and are fully in line with what we bring at ecoNVERGE.
While we are building a lattice platform around econologics (germane socio-economic model) we remain mainly an advocacy platform to bring awareness and solutions to the wider public.

In that respect I would like to reach out and see how we can collaborate and join efforts on this journey to a new society.

Thanks for your great contributions and sharing.

ecoNVERGE – Inspire ● Harmony ● Balance
| Inspire one – 1x = X1 – motivate many! WE are Unlimited!
| Interactive Community Building & Econological Lattice Building
| INCISIVE Knowledge Converged© – Ecologically Inspired, Sustainable Disseminated.
ENGAGE DYNAMIC CAPACITY – “Inspire innovation! Embrace Change!”

Transformational changes in social values, resource needs & technological advances.
Realizing Sustainable Balance in Our Social and Economic Circle of Life! – WE are Unlimited!

We change the way we LIVE! – We change the way of LIFE!
Assimilate sustainable growth! Join our CoPs / Think-Tanks.
Be part of the CHANGE! – PARTICIPATE your change!


Laurence J. Victor
September 22, 2013

Otto Scharmer’s blog post may be one of the most comprehensive analysis of humankind from an econo-centric perspective. The economic subsystem is only one of many subsystems that make up the system we call humankind. Econo-centrism is a perspective that elevates the economic subsystem to a very dominant position over all other subsystems – and given that has been the view for centuries most people assume that their (econo-centric) perspective is the natural perspective and are unaware of their centrist focus.

In no way am I proposing that viable economic subsystems aren’t important. Indeed, when economic subsystems are in balance with other subsystems, the economic subsystem would better serve the whole of humankind and be far less threatening to our survival.

For more see: http://nuet.us/2013/09/22/dangers-of-econo-centrism/

September 22, 2013

Dear Otto,
I believe that Theory of U is in essence not so different from the story of Christ, that from a painful process(Voices VOJ,VOC,VOF) the “Ascension” will be achieved.
Nevertheless we are at this precise moment, we are Free of any concepts Ego or Eco or whatever, we are Free to experiment, we are Free to love or to not to Love, we are Free to experiment polarities, because the Sun(thoughts) and the Moon(words) allow us to act freely.

Amanda Roon
September 23, 2013

Many thanks for the generous sharing of these important insights for our time.

Claude Heini
September 23, 2013

Dear Otto
Thanks a lot for these great insights…really on the spot, happy to see/discuss how we all concretely can support this needed transformation

Hubert Kögler
September 23, 2013

Dear Otto,
wonderful I admire as you might know the agility of your thought and the suitability of your expression so much. Some of the concepts have been around long, however, in a clumsy and uncommunicatable fashion.
What bothers me is that with both feet and ears on the ground I sense that the time is not present yet for 4.0. The leaders I work with act differently despite a urge towards 4.0. I think it will come but we need help from spheres that we have little access to, spheres that made slavery to go, interest in global affairs to emerge, etc., etc..
Any idea how to invite the forces of these benign spheres?
Hubert, Lake Constance

Elena Díez
September 23, 2013

Dear Otto:
Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing these key insights. Over the years, I have continued using your and Katrin´s ideas and frameworks in my work in Latin America and elsewhere. They are useful, relevant for our current problems and challenges and inspiring. I have witnessed the development and deepening of your ideas and concepts and admire your perseverance, passion and commitment. I look forward to participate in future lectures. Elena, Guatemala

Ger Jonkergouw
September 24, 2013

Dear Otto and Katrin,

Thanks for this great summary.This will really be useful in many areas.

It provoked the following reflection:
We must be on the way, not just to support and co-create the emergence of a new 4.0 economy. We also must face that we are on the way towards an overall 4.0 society. So we e.g. not just need a 4.0 business school revolution. We also need societal practices and contexts were all human citizens (leaders included;-) can exchange and develop practices and capabilities for shifting society towards the eco-system level. We e.g. need new ‘local’ spaces (hot spots) and ‘rituals’ for encounters and exchanging local communal experiences, for reflecting on how ‘our’ 4.0 neighborhood evolves, for evaluating collective actions of various kinds, for jointly learning to listen, dialogue, create awareness and energize at the we/me 4.0 level.
And, further to the 4.0 society, we also need to consider and learn to understand the impact of a shift from 2.0 democracy and 2.0 political systems, through the 3.0 level, towards creating 4.0 forms of eco-system democracy and ‘organizing’ society. I am sure that we, at the same time then, will discover that in an emerging eco-system society, we will not meet each other as leaders, but as integral humans. It is about all humans/ civilians, and not just leaders that will create and sustainably hold a 4.0 society. The related capacity building, consciousness development and community dynamics should therefor include and build on everyone in the eco-system.
This is not meant to criticize the current focus on economy 4.0. It is just so that your ideas inspired to think ahead and see that the 4.0 challenge is even much broader than revolutionizing the economy alone.
In any case, good luck, good energy and good inspiration. For all.
Ger Jonkergouw

Pieter van der Veen
September 24, 2013

Dear Otto,

since I attended the collective leadership workshop in 2008 I constantly worked on a simple way of how to help leaders prevent from “duality”. I think that is the core issue here and it is not a new one. All ancient traditions and martial arts – even modern quanto physics – know that you only can create an “emerging future” reality (“tangible” result, outcome) when you first go into a commonly shared energy of a wider (endless) field of information (the whole). However, people do not really want to let go what they perceive as “their reality” (we have all the voj, voc and vof in here). The chaallenge is how to shift awareness to the whole while at the same time being able to deal with (perceived) reality. I learned that it is a dance between both, whole and reality – a permanent movement between two ends of a spectrum. To inspire leaders to do this you come to a point where you depend on unconditional trust in order to be vulnerable in front of others. The theory ends here. And the most critical challenge rests with the self and its mastery.

Workin on it.


triarko nurlambang
September 25, 2013

Dear Otto,

I’m now working for several government bodies in developing their master plan. I’m adapting your great ideas to pursue their shifting thought. In reality, they are really driven by politics and administrative matters. It is challenging but need some time to change while they have tight schedule to finalize the master plan. Their willingness mostly trapped by those two matters. Moreover, being rush is always accompanied by “devil advocate”. Some cases show that a moderate result always end up with normative product (Master Plan) not realistic. It needs more “Art-Time” to have a series of (capacity)development phases, as you mentioned above, and in a normal situation, as well. Culture matters do really have significant role at this point. In other words, being rational is really not enough. Probably, Mr Yoto (Head of Bojonegoro District in East Jawa Province)and Jokowi (the Governor of Jakarta)are only two out of hundreds government leader in Indonesia who has the capacity and time to move towards approaching the Emerging Future. I’m just thinking to have a more creative local culture based in adapting the 10th insight. What do you think Otto?
Thank you.
triarko – IDEAS – University of Indonesia

triarko nurlambang
September 25, 2013

Dear Otto,

I’m now working for several government bodies in developing their master plan. I’m adapting your great ideas to pursue their shifting thought. In reality, they are really driven by politics and administrative matters. It is challenging but need some time to change while they have tight schedule to finalize the master plan. Their willingness mostly trapped by those two matters. Moreover, being rush is always accompanied by “devil advocate”. Some cases show that a moderate result always end up with normative product (Master Plan) not realistic. It needs more “Art-Time” to have a series of (capacity)development phases, as you mentioned above, and in a normal situation, as well. Culture matters do really have significant role at this point. In other words, being rational is really not enough. Probably, Mr Yoto (Head of Bojonegoro District in East Jawa Province)and Jokowi (the Governor of Jakarta)are only two out of hundreds government leader in Indonesia who has the capacity and time to move towards approaching the Emerging Future. I’m just thinking to have a more creative local culture based in adapting the 10th insight. What do you think Otto?
Thank you.

triarko – IDEAS – University of Indonesia

monique hillen
October 21, 2013

Dear Otto,

On the 27th of this month I will attend your workshop on Theory U. I am very exciting because your work is the first work I have seen that looks at core problems instead of symptom solving. Your book and this blog about ego-eco are brilliant. It is remarkable to see how much my understanding for real change is aligned with yours. For this reason only I am very excited to attend this coming weekend. Your work is insightful, technically underlined, practical, and shows deep understanding of the world’s problems at hand. For years and years I have been aware that even while so many amazing people are working for change, nothing is going to change until the human species is going through some sort of emotional and conscious evolution, which is the work I do with individuals and couples. I am hoping to bring my work of deep inner core work, inner knowing, inner understanding, and authenticity to larger groups in the near future. So I hope I can learn essential things at your seminars that will prepare me to vent out with my work. I am in the midst of writing a practical handbook on how to help self evolve.
Thank you for all your contributions trying to change the mess in the world, guiding people and leaders who are lost, and help companies operate from a different perspective.
Monique Hillen

George Swan
October 29, 2013

I really enjoyed the three-part webinar we just completed. It’s helped consolidate your Theory U concepts into the efforts I’m involved with (‘transforming healthcare for everyone’). The good news is, we’re not alone! There are so many brilliant programs ‘out there’ with the same ideas of an emerging Future that works for everyone. A meta-map of these programs would be very useful, I think, to create additional synergy though our ‘collective wisdom’. Recently, I came across Prof Martin Selligman’s work with Positive Psychology. He’s created a measurement of optimism, he calls it PERMA. His index of ‘social well being’ is actively used in Europe. See his YouTube videos and his website: http://www.authentichappiness.com

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