How should COVID-19 be used to re-shape broken global systems?

GLF Live with Otto Scharmer

See the full GLF Live series here.

In this GLF Live, Landscape News editor Gabrielle Lipton spoke with renowned author, MIT lecturer and creative thinker Otto Scharmer, who coined the term “presencing” about using foresight to understand and change the present. The conversation addressed how COVID-19 can and should affect behavior change and be an impetus for re-shaping broken global systems.

Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a senior lecturer in the MIT Management Sloan School 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 co-authored with P. Senge et al). He is co-author of Leading from the Emerging Future, which outlines eight acupuncture points for transforming capitalism. His most recent book, The Essentials of Theory U, outlines the core principles and applications of awareness-based systems change.

In 2015, Otto co-founded the MITx u.lab, a massive open online course (MOOC) for leading profound change, which has since activated a global eco-system of societal and personal renewal involving more than 140,000 users from 185 countries. In 2019, he launched an innovation infrastructure called u.lab 2x that supports place-based teams on reinventing economies, advancing democracies and regenerating learning and leadership systems worldwide. Altogether, u.lab 1x and u.lab 2x form the Societal Transformation Lab annual cycle which aims at co-creating a worldwide movement for deep societal renewal using awareness based systems change practices and methods.

Otto earned his diploma and PhD in economics from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. A member of the World Future Council, he received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching at MIT, and the European Leonardo Corporate Learning Award. The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General appointed him to the UN Learning Advisory Council for the 2030 Agenda. 

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