Methodology: Theory U

Jun 20, 2019

Theory U

Imagine a leap from our current self to our emerging future Self.
We are facing that threshold, gap, chasm or abyss on all levels of scale:
as individuals, groups, organizations, and as a global community.
How can we activate our deeper levels of humanity to bridge and cross that divide?
This is the organizing question and journey of Theory U

This methodology was recommended by Zineb Mouhyi, Catalina de Cock, Noa Lodeizen, Nick Graham and many more!

Theory U is a change management method and the title of a book by Otto Scharmer.

Principles of Theory U are suggested to help political leaders, civil servants, and managers break through past unproductive patterns of behavior that prevent them from empathizing with their clients' perspectives and often lock them into ineffective patterns of decision making.

Around 150,000 have participated in the free MOOC and a third described it as life-changing.


Otto Scharmer expresses theory U concept as a process or journey, which is also described as Presencing, as indicated in the diagram (for which there are numerous variants).

At the core of the "U" theory is presencing: sensing + presence. According to The Learning Exchange, Presencing is a journey with five movements:

We move down one side of the U (connecting us to the world that is outside of our institutional bubble) to the bottom of the U (connecting us to the world that emerges from within) and up the other side of the U (bringing forth the new into the world).

On that journey, at the bottom of the U, lies an inner gate that requires us to drop everything that isn't essential. This process of letting go (of our old ego and self) and letting-come (our highest future possibility: our Self) establishes a subtle connection to a deeper source of knowing. The essence of presencing is that these two selves - our current self and our best future Self - meet at the bottom of the U and begin to listen and resonate with each other.
Once a group crosses this threshold, nothing remains the same. Individual members and the group as a whole begin to operate with a heightened level of energy and sense of future possibility. Often they then begin to function as an intentional vehicle for an emerging future.

More about Theory U

Watch this interview where Otto Scharmer himself explains the theory 


Have you participated in Theory U?

Which elements are most valuable for your weaving project? 

Could you give a masterclass on this topic or something similar? - if so email

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