Biography: C. Otto Scharmer, Ph.D.

Otto Scharmer is cofounder of the Leadership Lab for Social Responsibility in Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he also lectures. He is a visiting professor at the Center for Innovation and Knowledge Research, Helsinki School of Economics and a faculty member of the Fujitsu Global Knowledge Institute in Tokyo. He studies leadership, organizational learning, and the dynamics of multi-stakeholder dialogue, collaboration, and change.

Otto is co-author, with Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers, of Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, published by the Society for Organizational Learning in 2004. In a forthcoming book, Presencing: The Blind Spot of Leadership (working title), he describes the theory and practice of sensing and actualizing emerging futures in the context of personal, institutional, and global change.

He is also the host of a global webcast series on science, wisdom awareness, and global change at the beginning of the twenty-first century, a program co-sponsored by the new Library of Alexandria, Egypt, and the Society for Organizational Learning, of which he is a founding research member. He holds a Ph.D. in economics and management from Witten/Herdecke University, Germany. His article “Strategic Leadership within the Triad Growth-Employment-Ecology” won the McKinsey Research Award in 1991.

With his colleagues, Otto has used presencing to facilitate profound innovation and change processes both within companies and across societal systems. He lives with his wife and two children in Boston, MA.

The Future Wants to Emerge

Listen to 90-sec clip Listen to full 30-min interview

Selected Books

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future with P. Senge, J. Jaworski and B. S. Flowers (The Society for Organizational Learning, 2004)

Selected Articles

“The Presence of the Circle Being” a conversation with the Circle of Seven, Ashland, OR, Sept. 2003
For more on what Otto Scharmer calls “the circle being,” see

MIT Open Course Ware, Sloan School of Management Leadership Lab for Corporate Social Innovation
A sample of Otto Scharmer's corporate course ware developed for MIT's Sloan School of Management. 15-974Leadership-LabSpring2003/CourseHome/index.htm


Professional Affiliations

The Society for Organizational Learning
SoL fosters collaboration among corporations that are committed to fundamental organizational change and to building learning organizations.

Generon Consulting
An international consulting firm that helps clients create new realities by sensing and actualizing emerging opportunities.

Global Leadership Initiative
This institute is dedicated to building leadership capacity, tackling critical social issues, and producing concrete results.