Otto Scharmer

Senior Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT School of Architecture and Planning

Senior Lecturer, Organization Studies at Sloan School of Management


  • Sloan School of Management
  • MIT School of Architecture and Planning
  • Human Capital Leadership Institute
  • Presencing Institute




MIT School of Architecture and Planning

He is founding chair of the Presencing Institute, and chairs the MIT IDEAS program. Scharmer helps groups of diverse stakeholders from business, government and civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system. He co-founded the Global Wellbeing and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Lab, which links innovators from Bhutan, Brazil, Europe, and the United States in order to innovate beyond GDP. He is working with governments in Africa, Asia, and Europe, and has delivered award-winning leadership and innovation programs for clients including Alibaba, Daimler, Eileen Fisher, Fujitsu, Google, Natura, and PriceWaterhouse.

Scharmer 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, J. Jaworski, and B. S. Flowers). His new book Leading From the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies (co-authored with Katrin Kaufer) focuses on transforming business, society, and self (published in July 2013).

He currently is a Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Leadership Models. He holds a PhD in economics and management from Witten-Herdecke University in Germany. More information about Scharmer and his work can be found at: and

Sloan School of Management

Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan, a Thousand Talents Program Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and cofounder of the Presencing Institute. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector innovation that helps leaders from business, government, civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system. He is the author of Theory U (translated into 20 languages) and coauthor of Leading from the Emerging Future, that outlines eight acupuncture points of transforming capitalism.

In 2015 he cofounded the MITx u.lab, a massive open online course for leading profound change that has since activated a global eco-system of societal and personal renewal involving more than 100,000 users from 185 countries. With his colleagues he has delivered award winning leadership development programs and cofacilitated innovation labs on reinventing education, health, business, government, and well-being. 

Otto received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching at MIT Sloan (2015) and the EU Leonardo Corporate Learning Award for the contributions of Theory U to the future of management (2016). In 2017 he was ranked #1 of the world's top 30 education professionals by


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