Theory U

What you need to know about Presencing/Theory U

The Presencing approach of Otto Scharmer of MIT is a model that is used in across all types organisation for social change by creating the capacity for community wisdom. I frequently underpin the design collaborative change processes and workshops using the model. It has inspired me to invite my clients to look behind the scenes and explore the necessary depth needed to achieve the goals.

Presencing describes a natural flow of actions if something new has to be developed or learned and delivers a framework to re-discover the natural development process.

“Presencing,” a blend of the words “presence” and “sensing,” refers to the ability to sense and bring into the present one’s highest future potential ─ as an individual and as a group.

Theory U offers both a new theoretical perspective and a practical social technology. As a theoretical perspective, Theory U suggests that the way in which we attend to a situation determines how a situation unfolds. As a practical social technology, Theory U offers a set of principles and practices for collectively creating the future that wants to emerge.

The Presencing approach is also called Theory U as the visual model has the shape of a U. Depending on the task the U can go as deep as to the essential openness (e.g. if a long-lasting powerful organising vision and purpose has to be defined) or can stay shallow on the cognitive openness level (e.g. if a successful procedure has to be tweaked here and Presencing-Model-smallthere).

If issues and task cannot be solved after several attempts on one level, they need to be addressed on another level.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein