Otto co-creates pathways for transformation for individuals, institutions, and larger systems. He and his colleagues deliver these through classes and programs at MIT, Presencing Institute projects, and global MITx u-lab and u-school for Transformation offerings.

u-school for Transformation

In the face of accelerating social and environmental breakdowns, how can we build our collective capacities for transformation? How can we shift our outdated economic and social institutions from an egosystem to an ecosystem awareness? From the beginning, Otto has been inspired to create deep learning infrastructures on a planetary scale. The u-school for Transformation embodies this vision and intention. Its aim is to democratize access to methods and tools for transformation literacy fully. The u-school also serves as a prototype for a new kind of 21st-century university—a school without borders—that integrates science, arts, technology, and the evolution of consciousness with the transformation of society and self.

Executive Champions Workshop

Each year, Otto Scharmer collaborates with Arawana Hayashi, Melanie Goodchild, and Peter Senge to facilitate the Executive Champions Workshop (ECW) at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, nestled in the picturesque Green Mountains. This transformative event centers on the theme of "Reconnecting to Place and Re-shaping our Future," providing leaders and change-makers from diverse sectors a unique opportunity to gather, connect with Mother Nature, and engage in profound reflection and dialogue. ECW, blending elements of a retreat and capacity-building workshop, delves into these themes through a range of practices, including systems thinking, organizational learning, Theory U, Social Presencing Theatre, and indigenous wisdom and ceremony.

MITx u-lab: Leading from the Emerging Future

This highly experiential course is rooted in Theory U, a framework developed by Otto Scharmer, and is offered as a 6-week MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in partnership with MITx Online. The course introduces the variable of consciousness into management and social systems change, blending systems thinking, consciousness and wisdom traditions, and civic action. Known as a "learning by doing" program, it equips you with Theory U tools, methods, and frameworks, enabling you to start applying them to your life and work. The course emphasizes that the quality of results produced in any social system is directly related to the quality of awareness from which participants operate. This approach has gained widespread adoption, with a growing community of change makers and leaders in business, government, and civil society around the world, and boasts more than 240,000 registered users to date.

Ecosystem Leadership Activation in Latin America

Otto Scharmer, as co-faculty, brings his transformative vision to the Ecosystem Leadership Program LATAM. This regional initiative activates personal and collective change across Latin America, blending cutting-edge theory and practical tools. ELP LATAM democratizes access to transformation literacy and serves as a catalyst for building an inclusive network of changemakers. The program equips participants to navigate complex challenges and fosters a dynamic community committed to shaping a more sustainable and equitable Latin America.

IDEAS: Innovative Dynamic Education and Action for Sustainability

The IDEAS Asia Pacific program is a transformative leadership initiative chaired by faculty member Otto Scharmer. Developed in collaboration with United in Diversity (UID), this one-year, practice-based journey engages leaders from the Asia Pacific region across multiple sectors. Participants collaboratively tackle complex challenges in areas such as conservation, education, and social enterprise. Through a deep learning process, the program empowers leaders with essential tools and frameworks to identify root causes and implement effective solutions.

UN: Transforming Systems in the Decade of Action

Together with his colleagues at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Otto has been co-hosting Dialogues on Transforming Systems in the Decade of Action (2020-2021). With his colleagues at the Presencing Institute he also co-delivered two action learning interventions in 2021. The first one, Action Learning Lab, took more than 400 change makers from half a dozen UN agencies on a virtual four-month transformational action learning journey. The second one, SDG Leadership Labs, helps United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in their respective countries. The SDG Leadership Labs are currently delivered in 14 countries across world regions.

GAIA: Global Activation of Intention and Action

Born as a real-time response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, GAIA is a place for radically reimagining and reshaping our path forward, both individually, and collectively. GAIA has been activating a global field of generative local, regional, and planetary connections that function as a precursor to the u-school for transformation and as a vehicle for bringing its vision to fruition.

4.0 Lab

The 4.0 Lab convenes pioneers of regenerative farming and food, holistic health, regenerative finance, economics, and learning. Together we are working to reinvent the future of these systems and their leadership methods. The focus of this Lab is regional.

Transforming Science by Advancing Awareness-Based Action Research

This project aims at making visible the invisible dimension of deep systems change, using the concept of the social field to explore extending scientific research from the outer to the inner realms of human experience. Social fields are social systems that are seen not only from the outside, but also from within. Similarly to mindfulness, methods of awareness-based systems change could also grow rapidly if they were complemented by corresponding research. But today for social systems there is no functional equivalent of what MRI-based brain research does for the individual: making visible the tangible impact of awareness-based action. Creating a blended assessment tool that addresses this methodological gap by making deep systems change visible to the change makers in the field, is the goal of this project.


Otto is a co-founder of the Presencing Institute, which hosts leadership and innovation labs as well as customized programs for organizations and businesses. These offerings aim to support deep system innovation and collaboration in rapidly changing and challenging environments.

Otto is a co-founder of the u-school for Transformation, a capacity-building and action research platform aimed at democratizing access to awareness-based systems change. The platform offers programs, certifications, space holding, and innovation labs that use Theory U and Social Arts to facilitate shifts in individuals and collectives from ego- to eco-system awareness.

Otto is a Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector innovation and is a co-founder of the MITx u-lab.