Dr. C. Otto Scharmer

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, summarizes 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 transformational change involving more than 160,000 users from 185 countries. In March 2020, Otto and his colleagues at the Presencing Institute launched GAIA (Global Activation of Intention and Action), a free, online, deep learning journey, geared toward profound personal, societal, and planetary renewal.  

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