Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 | Uncategorized

This is the blog of Otto Scharmer, Senior Lecturer at MIT, a founding chair of the Presencing Institute, and author of the book Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges – The Social Technology of Presencing.

Please enjoy the posts and comment as you are inspired.

3 Comments to Welcome!

George Por
August 31, 2008

hi Otto,

First of all, let me just tell you that I am truly thrilled by your joining the blogosphere! This is a time when the world needs that thought leaders of transformation make their voice and art travel faster than the speed of publishing well-polished articles and books or giving workshop, alone, would allow.

Your blog is also a gift to your students, colleagues, and readers because sensing what inspires you to write, we may get a more intimate understanding of what is like thinking, feeling, ad acting from a presencing perspective.

In addition, the friendly gesture, your welcoming us to comment on your posts, opens the way for the global field of presencing to become more aware of itself, and can add velocity to learning from/with each other in the presencing community. The blog is a first step, and definitely in the right direction! Thank you again for opening it!

Why I am so “obsessed” with the idea of a self-organizing community of presencing practice, accessible to all practitioners from anywhere in the world? Because it would let us grow capacity deeper and faster to facilitate the U journey in self and society, a capacity that is much needed in these times.

That’s just to tell you what is the broader context in which I hold your blog: a wishing it to realize its full potential. Actually not only wishing, but whenever you need one more thinking partner about how to make the blog more useful to more practitioners around the world, I offer to be on call…



September 12, 2008

thanks for your comment george. i agree with all you say on the global community of presencing practice. we are currently working on a global community space of that type that will be prototyped soon at the http://www.presencing.com. we may then take you up on your generous offer!
all the best–otto

Martin Siesta
December 21, 2008

Otto; I attended your workshop in Toronto in April and your global classroom this fall and I am using the model in the finacial area in the US. We will be convening to redefine wealth and to sense what new tools need to replace the old ones. I recently came across this letter from Don Beck which is critical of the scenerio work of Adam and others in South Africa. It also refers to U Theory in a critical manner but I think misses the point about sensing the field on a large scale. I am including it below and wondered about your observations

Martin Siesta

I would like to share with you the outcome of one of the first
Meshworks application at the large-scale. Given the nature of our
emerging problems (we are seeing Problems “G” and even Problems “H”
that will require what we call Second Tier Conditions that will
require systems “T” and even solutions “U.” This use of many of the
Turquoise thought structures will be without the heavy metaphysical
elements that many are now relying on, for good reason for them. I
will write on that situation a bit later because it is so clear what
is happening in”spiritual” communities as they are now talking about
“culture” and even value-systems. Amazing.

As more and more functions in this country, at least, are
moving into a situation where “the government” is beginning to own
many of our resources that were once in the domain of the invisible
hand of the free market, this means that new criteria for complex,
decision-making will require new processes. We will, at first, bring
back the old wineskins to deal with the new wine, but they will leak.
We have yet to create these new wineskins. We will soon
describe MeshWORKS Solutions in greater detail, along with
Transpartisan methodologies. Of course, Clare Graves predicted all of
this in his rather innocent title to his l974 article in the Futurist
publication of the World Future Society (we thought at the time)
“Human Nature Prepares for a Momentous Leap.” That statement, in
itself, caused me to make contact with Professor Graves because I
knew intuitive that here was something unique and powerful. I could
not put that concern into words but I acted anyway. I doubt if any of
us would have heard of Graves otherwise. I once asked him when this
sort of thing would be required, did he have a time frame, and he
would response: “Well, Don, no, I can’t tell you when but you will
know when it happens. You will feel it for sure.”

I am now for sure, as are many of you. Many are constructing
global-wide happenings, or are gatherings that bring together the
“wise ones” — usually those in the elite Orange-Green “enlightened”
class who will meet in circles, express individual perspectives,
“view with alarm,” and then begin to generate a list of things to do
which, alas, are based on certain assumptions regarding the capacity
of people and their habitats to actually do things. We will see these
meetings proliferate all over the place and that is a good thing, of
course. Yet, I have a strong sense that these collective processes,
as in Theory U and others, will be unable to get to the core problems
and solutions. The same group that was so proud of the role it played
in the scenario process in the early l990s in South Africa, have now
returned because their processes simply found ways for the privileged
few who had tickets to the negotiation table to simply enriched
themselves. The needs of the vast population were not met in housing,
education, health care, and standards of living. Reality has now
returned after the euphoria of the blood-less “revolution” and the
magic of Mandela as the crime rate has escalated and political
instability appears to be on the horizon. The African National
Congress has now split into two camps and will be warring against
each other. Unhappily, I had the image of the sinking of the Titanic
as the wealthy class climbed on the life boats but the “second class”
were locked down in steerage class and could not escape. That thought
and image continues to haunt me. That spells “revolution” in no
uncertain terms and I wonder if we are seeing the evidence of that in
the violence in Greece. I don’t think all of that is about the death
of a 14-year old boy. and, have you seen the new taxes in New
York which will be put on the population, much like a taxation
without representation from an earlier day in our history. An 18%
tax on a soft drink? Wow! And on bottled water?

I believe we are at a major tipping-point. Our financial systems are
presently frozen because, among other things, the lack of trust, the
high levels of deceit and corruption, dirty money, and the
repression of technologies that need to be released. Clearly our
entire educational complex needs to do some serious soul
searching. We still have options but they will come at a price.
Either we step over into a new paradigm or we hang back with at least
one foot in the old one, often because of our financial need and
fears, and our lack of being able to answer the question: Change FROM
what but TO what? We all know that President-Elect can’t walk on
water, in spite of some expectations, but come January 21 he, too,
will confront a reality. I see some evidence of complex thinking in
him in how he has selected cabinet members and even presenters at the
Inaugural event on January 20. That is reassuring to me but I’m no
fool when it comes to national politics and, of course, the media. We
probably should invest in concession stands in Washington DC because
I have an idea the mall will be full of demonstrations on the part of
people and groups who have had their expectations raised for a better
life, only to have them dashed by the spring or summer.
We have inherited and, to some extent, benefited from a “bubble
economy” in that worth and value were not connected to the “reality
economy,” He were trading in hypes. This has been so clear in Iceland
where Bjarni Jonsson and others are really struggling to find a new
basis for survival in that difficult place. It was all “bubble.”
Solutions will come out of families, communities, counties, churches,
and other groupings and will ultimately reach state-wide and
country-wide domains. This is the revolution that needs to happen.
Our current system simply cannot be reformed. It is passing away
quickly and short term fixes only waste precious resources on a sinking ship.

What kind of future do you think our post-teen kids are seeing for
themselves? That age group in Chile has come up with a novel approach
based on what they call the Penguin movement. Apparently, the high
schoolers virtually shut down the schools recently and because their
uniforms looked like Penguins, they were identified as the Penguin
generation. We have early plans to respond to that fear and
desperation as soon as we can. The world, now, is full of unique
“change” opportunities if we just had the wisdom and resources to
respond to them. They are everywhere.

In any case there are tough decisions just ahead and we might as well
get ourselves ready to play a positive role. You all know that I am a
very positive person with great optimism for the future, but I also
have a historic memory of the Great Depression in the l930s because
of stories my parents and grand parents used to tell me. To his dying
day my dad would NEVER use a credit card for anything thing other
short term needs. He would only pay cash for a new motor car, and
simply had no debt.

It is within this context that new decision-making models MUST and
WILL appear, at least they will be generated by these Life
Conditions, and it will be up to leadership, if we have any today, to
see the opportunities, grasp the moment, and be courageous enough to
enter the fray. And, we must be in a position to get involved
ourselves. Maybe things are not yet bad enough while we enter the
festive season, but if the Dow reached 500 sometime in 09 we would
all feel the pain. It might take that, alas.

This is why I want to applaud the Center for Human Emergence in the
Netherlands, for Peter and Anne-Marie for their leadership, and for
the role of others to push ahead with the new models, usually against
both political correctness and vested interests, even in the NGO and
governmental worlds. It is also timely that Dr. Marilyn Hamilton’s
new book – Integrated Cities — is now in the market place since so
much of it reflects this new model, especially, the MeshWorks design
and implementation. No one can predict the future, or identify the
most probable trend-lines, but we can certainly begin, now, to
prepare ourselves to respond to any contingency. It makes no use to
play the “blame and be blamed game,” or even the false security
assumptions behind gated communities with a live and let live
philosophy. Only the values and methods of the “thrive and help
thrive” mentality can see us through. Meshworks is one of those processes.

Be of good cheer.



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