The dominant response to problems in modern society is to "fix it". When faced with current levels of complexity and uncertainty, rushing to solutions is rarely wise. Theory U offers an alternative approach. It is based on the work of Joseph Jaworski, Otto Scharmer. This work encourages taking a detour and acknowledging that we don't yet know the best way to proceed. It can define a simple pathway to powerful collective discovery. It begins with exploring the system in new and diverse ways to understand the system, creates a space for collective retreat, where insight and commitment can emerge
and allows the insights to be tested, experimented and eventually scaled up.

Theory U emerged from conversations with dozens of top innovators around the world as an archetypal path to systemic renewal that can be intentionally stewarded. It has 3 key movements: 1) sensing: a deep immersion to understand the system cognitively, emotionally and intuitively from many angles. 2) presencing: retreating from the chaos to a quiet place where inner knowing and commitment can surface. 3) realizing: bringing new interventions and approached into being through creating small experiments that can scale up into the new normal for a given system.

Meadowlark Institute staff are experienced in working with Theory U and its approach to innovation and change. If you are interested in initiating a project based on Theory U contact Jerry or Joe.

Change lab

Reos Partners, building on the work of Scharmer and Jowarski have developed the Change Lab as an approach to discovering collective action. The Change Lab is a multi-stakeholder dialogic change process designed to generate the shared commitment and the collective insight needed to produce breakthrough solutions to complex social problems. Each Change Lab is convened around a particular problem that appears to be stuck with no obvious solution in sight. Change Labs often bring together 25-35 key stakeholders who represent a "microcosm" of the system. These people are influential, diverse, committed to changing the system, and also open to changing themselves.

If you are interested in initiating a Change Lab contact Jerry or Reos Partners directly.


pdf logoDownload "Theory U Overview"

pdf logoDownload "Theory U: Leading From The Future As It Emerges" Brochure