Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at M.I.T. and founding chair of the Presencing Institute and the u-school for Transformation. He also 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 Peter Senge and others).
He is co-author of 'Leading from the Emerging Future', which outlines eight acupuncture points for transforming our economy from ego to eco. His most recent book, 'The Essentials of Theory U' (2018), summarizes the core principles and applications of awareness-based systems change.
Otto co-founded the MITx u-lab, which has activated a vibrant worldwide ecosystem of transformational change involving more than 200,000 users from 185 countries. With his colleagues, he co-created a global Action Learning Lab for hundreds of change-makers across UN agencies, as well as SDG Leadership Labs in 25 countries.
Otto earned his diploma and Ph.D. in economics from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. He is a member of the UN Learning Advisory Council for the 2030 Agenda, the World Future Council, and the Club of Rome’s High-Level 21st Century Transformational Economics Commission. He has won the Jamieson Prize for Teaching Excellence at MIT and the European Leonardo Corporate Learning Award.
In 2021 Otto received the Elevating Humanity Award from the Organizational Development Network.