Otto Scharmer joins the IEC world
with Theory U
Theory U: its latest developments and the friendship with Integral
The Theory of U and the U process have become increasingly popular among Integral practitioners in recent years, and though it is not based on Integral Theory itself, it is one of the many other approaches that Integral folks seems to love and use often. It is an approach in which more and more people are waking up to a deeper level of awareness, which can become a turning point for a new creative process, a new reality in life.
It is a framework and a language that allows us to communicate about that deeper level of experience that many of us have but usually don’t talk about because it is not part of normal discussion in organizations and other parts of society.
Collectively, we may create results that no one wants, and that brings up some questions:Collectively, we may create results that no one wants, and that brings up some questions:• What can we do transform this system?• How can we use the power of mindfulness for not only cultivating the entire condition of the individual, but for transforming the collective system?
Our social system can be imagined as the ground, as a social field. One part, the upper part of this field, is visible to the individual, but there is another part that is underneath and invisible — this is the quality of the soil — the quality of relationships, how we relate to each other, to the planet and to ourselves.
The emotional realm of the community’s collective body can expand so that the emotions that some of the members are feeling are felt by the community members individually. This happens when you resonate together and you can feel the pain of the collective body. It is obviously not your physical pain, but you sense it through connectedness with the community.
What can we do to help us to shift this social field? What can help us to change how the social system is operating? It can be only explored by doing, by practical experience.
What are the results we create collectively that no one actually wants?
They can be described in terms of an ecological, social and spiritual divide.
The ecological divide, which is manifest in all sorts of environmental issues, essentially arises from the disconnection between self and nature. The social divide essentially arises from the disconnection between self and other and the fact that the social field is disconnected from itself. The spiritual divide arises essentially from the disconnection between self and self. But what does it mean to be disconnected between self and self? The one self: who I am today; and the other self: who I could be tomorrow. The second self is not as a manifested existence, but it is the space of possibility that, when I access my creativity, I am connected to it. The spiritual divide is the one that is the least noticed because it shows up when you are disconnected from the self you could be tomorrow — resulting in loss of energy, symptoms of burnout and depression and suicidal thoughts.
Otto believes that the most important root cause, the source for all the disconnectedness, originates in our quality of thinking and the mindset we apply to how to approach these situations.
Essentially, the mindset shift from ego-system to eco-system awareness can reconstruct the evolution of the modern economy as an embodiment of an evolving human consciousness that moves from habitual and ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness.
Eco-system awareness is an awareness that is not only focusing on your own well-being, but the well-being of the whole. The question is, what does it take to shift the mindset from ego to eco?
In an organization, the first step needed in the journey is moving the group of stakeholders to the stage of observing — sensing and seeing the system from the point of view of others, from the periphery. In an organization, the first step needed in the journey is moving the group of stakeholders to the stage of observing — sensing and seeing the system from the point of view of others, from the periphery.
Secondly, they need to retreat and reflect in order to allow the inner knowing to emerge and to connect with some deeper questions, such as:
- Who am I?
- Who are we?
- What’s the future that I want to be a part of and toward which I want to contribute?
After thinking about these important questions and some ideas come to mind, they must explore them by doing.
This process works only when you engage and deal with tuning three inner instruments of knowing: the Open Mind, the Open Heart and the Open Will. However, there are also three sources of resistance that you need to learn to deal with, which are the Voice of Judgement, which is shutting down the Open Mind; the Voice of Cynicism, which is destroying the empathy of the Open Mind; and the Voice of Fear that restrains the Open Will.
This move must be applied on the level of the individual; it is called mindfulness. It is the capacity to not only see something but to see your own seeing. The individual must switch to that method of awareness. When this shift is happening on the level of a team or a group, we call that a dialogue, and it facilitates the capacity of the system to see itself, to sense, to connect with itself.
The U.Lab project deals with the revolution of education — moving all learning and all educational content online for free and making it accessible for everyone. It’s about moving the place of learning from the classroom into the real world, and also moving the inner place of learning from the head to the heart and from the heart to the hand.
U.Lab project created an experiment with organizations on the local level, and it was found that in most cases the organizations know they need to (and actually want to) switch to the eco-system awareness, but there are three big barriers holding them back. These are greed, fear and ignorance. After a seven-week cycle, they have been asked, now that they are connected with the future they wanted to create, what does it take to make it happen? The answer was courage, and the qualities they need from others are love, listening and trust.
The transformation of the deeper soil of the global social field is a three-stage transformation, from ignorance to listening and inquiry, from greed and selfishness to empathy and love, and from fear to courage and vulnerability. The transformation of the deeper soil of the global social field is a three-stage transformation, from ignorance to listening and inquiry, from greed and selfishness to empathy and love, and from fear to courage and vulnerability.
The U.Lab’s vision is emerging to reinvent the 21st century’s university and to revolutionise learning and leadership by bringing together three core activities:
- Convene innovation leaps that bring together the key stakeholders across sectors to address the key challenges.
- Support these initiatives with new capacity of cross-intelligences — Open Mind, Open Heart and Open Will — structured ways.
- Capture the knowledge of what’s being learned and turn it into methods and tools that further support the transformational journey.
Theory of U is a methodology that helps you to be more effective, operating from that deeper space. We are here — as a generation — to bring that kind of change more into reality.
About Otto Scharmer :
Otto Scharmer is a senior lecturer at the MIT Management Sloan School and founder of the Presencing Institute. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector innovation, which helps leaders in business, government and civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system.
Scharmer introduced the concept of “presencing” — learning from the emerging future — in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence (the latter co-authored with Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers). He is co-author of Leading from the Emerging Future, which outlines eight acupuncture points for transforming capitalism. His new book, The Essentials of Theory U (2018), focuses on the core principles and applications of awareness-based systems change.
THE IEC REGATHERING 2019
Otto Scharmer joins the IEC world with Theory U: it’s latest developments and the friendship with integral, which introduces the concept of “presencing” – learning from the emerging future.
Showcasing a brand new spiritual documentary movie of 12 shamans from around the globe sharing their wisdom and going to the United Nations New York Headquarters to meet and do a ceremony.
Heart-Based Medicine: towards integral doctoring. With Jan Bonhoeffer, founder of Heart-Based Medicine, an international resource for healthcare professionals and patients, committed to creating a global field of heart-based healing.
The Open Space is calling you to present! 30 other rooms open co-creatively for you and other integral people from the globe facilitated by the Open Space process to bring your best contributions.
Founder of Integral Investments, Dr. Mariana Boesan will lead a session that addresses the tension between progress and disruption. She will also discuss the role, what an integrally informed community can take to ensure a smooth transition to the next level of evolution!
From Self-Management to Self-Organization: Integrating evolutionary tensions given rise through Holacracy, with Christiane Seuhs-Schoeller from Austria Founding Member and Partner at Evolution at Work.
With Love, The IEC team