Otto Scharmer

Senior Lecturer, MIT Management Sloan School

Co-Founder and Chair, Presencing Institute

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 seven 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 annual innovation infrastructure called Societal Transformation Lab that supports place-based teams on reinventing economies, advancing democracies and regenerating learning and leadership systems worldwide. 

Otto earned his diploma and PhD in economics from Witten/Herdecke University in Germany. He received the Jamieson Prize for Teaching Excellence at MIT, and has been working with global companies, international NGOs, governments and various UN organizations worldwide. The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General appointed him to the UN Learning Advisory Council for the 2030 Agenda.

He is a Member of the World Future Council since September 2019.