Theory U is a social science theory developed by Otto Scharmer, a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The theory is based on the idea that we can create positive social change by shifting our consciousness and the way we pay attention to the world around us.
According to Theory U, this shift in consciousness involves moving from a state of ego-system awareness (where we are focused on our own individual goals and agendas) to a state of eco-system awareness (where we are open and receptive to the needs and perspectives of others). This shift can help us better understand the root causes of social and organizational problems and can lead to the development of more effective solutions.
Theory U also emphasizes the importance of collaboration and co-creation in driving social change. It suggests that positive change is more likely to happen when individuals and organizations are willing to work together, share ideas, and learn from one another. This approach is based on the idea that the best solutions often arise when people from different backgrounds and perspectives come together to tackle a problem.
Theory U has been applied in a variety of settings, including business, education, and government.
Overall, Theory U is a powerful social science theory that can help us create positive social change by shifting our consciousness and the way we pay attention to the world around us. By fostering collaboration, co-creation, and a willingness to learn and adapt, we can unlock our potential to create a better future for ourselves and others.
To know more
Otto Scharmer has written three books:
- The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applications
- Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges
- Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economics
There is also a MOOC on the subject offered by MIT: u-lab: Leading From the Emerging Future.