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.
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.