Otto Scharmer: Leading From the Emerging Future [Transcript]

in dialogue with Walter Link


Watch the Video ‘Otto Scharmer: Leading From the Emerging Future’ HERE.

Otto Scharmer - GlobalLeadership.TV


Otto Scharmer


[00:00:13] You could say the manager’s job, the leader’s job today in the 21st century organization is transforming awareness. In my view the key leadership challenge of our age is to transform ego system awareness to ecosystem awareness. In order to operate in the complexity of this century we have to do some inner work.


Walter Link

[00:00:37] Welcome to GlobalLeadership.TV, my name is Walter Link. I’ve always been fascinated by the question of how we move from our many challenges into our full potential as individuals, organizations and whole societies. In this television series I inquire with some of the most innovative leaders from around the world about how they manage to move from inspiration to real change. Please join us in this exploration because we all make a difference and we all can get better at it. Therefore, on our website, we not only show other dialogues and publications but also the kind of practices that these leaders and their organizations use to move from inspiration to real change.

[00:01:33] Please join my inspiring dialogue with MIT professor Otto Scharmer. He helped to formulate the now widely used you process which significantly enhanced the fields of leadership and innovation by integrating a much deeper dimension of our individual and cocreated humanity. Otto cofounded the Presencing Institute, consults internationally for business civil society and government and wrote several books including Theory-U as well as Presence co-authored with Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers. And most recently, leading from the emerging future which his wife Katrine Kaufer. Join us as we explore how to use the you process to lead from the emerging future.


[00:02:31] How did you discover in your own work with many organizations, companies, nonprofit organizations, the public sector, how did this discovery of the U-process happen for you?


Otto Scharmer


[00:02:43] I did an interview project with my colleague Joseph Jaworski from Generon who is the author of Synchronicity. So we did for a big client for who we had to reinvent basically their innovation and leadership structure, we went and we thought, well how could we go about that? We should really talk to the people who have done it. In companies, in science, in society. Entrepreneurs, people who have created some new things.


[00:03:17] And as we did this interview process we really started to listen to a deeper structure, a deeper process. A different process which wasn’t just kind of what people tell you at a business school which is how learning works. Which is the traditional best practices of learning by reflecting on the experience of the past. And as we tried to understand this deeper and different type of learning process we came across one interviewee, his name is Brian Arthur <phonetic 00:03:51>, and he put in a very simple and accessible language this deeper process that really articulates what many other entrepreneurs had told us before. And he basically said this.


[00:04:14] He said, look, in any kind of deep innovation process the first thing you need to understand is that there are really two fundamentally different processes of cognition. One is you use existing frameworks and you apply them onto a situation. So that’s kind of normal learning approach in school. But then he said there’s a deeper process. There’s a deeper process of cognition that he referred to as knowing. And then when we asked him, so okay, how does this knowing work? He walked us through these three elements which is three elements of a deeper process which is observe, observe, observe which is really, which means kind of stop our habitual ways of thinking and totally immersing ourselves in a situation and really connecting to a situation. Not just from here but from all the different levels that are available to us.


[00:05:14] Number two – so number one is observe, observe. Number two, retreat and reflect, allow the inner knowing to emerge. So it’s basically not just attending but connecting to a deeper source of knowing. And number three, so as kind of maybe a spark or an idea or an inspiration is coming up through this attending to the deeper source of knowing, act in an instant. So that was the third thing. Act in an instant means really learn by prototyping. Not learn by thinking but kind of take this idea, move it into something – some explorative action very quickly, generate feedback from other stakeholders, take that feedback to iterate your ideas.


[00:06:08] It’s really kind of bringing the new into reality as it emerges. As it kind of – as it comes up kind of through this deeper source of knowing. And then, you know, explore and evolve that new idea based on the feedback kind of the universe is giving to you. So that was really the other moment. So I drew it up kind of as an iteration of that earlier sketch and that’s how we moved into that. And I think the reason why it really connects with so many people is that it articulates a deeper experience that many people have – actually not only – at first we thought, it’s just kind of the famous guys, kind of the people who created Bic. Significant changes like in organizations or otherwise – but then we found it’s actually much deeper, it’s much more significant. It’s many more of us.


[00:07:07] It’s actually – and I presented – basically what I did, a lot of what I did the last 10 years is I take the slide, I put it out and then I share a story or two around the wall and then I ask people, so, now turn to your neighbor and share your own story. And then there is a little kind of a drawing from that later on. And very much, to my own surprise, there are many, many people who have the experiences. Although most of them at first say, well, I don’t have a story like that. But then you listen to someone else’s story and you think about more of the experiences that you have had, kind of important experiences. Kind of threshold experiences in your own life. And it turns out that many of us have these experiences. Yet in everyday organizational life it’s very often not present and that’s kind of where – and that’s been kind of one of the areas of work. So that’s how I stumbled into that.


Walter Link


[00:08:31] And I think one of the important innovations which in a sense is not an innovation it’s just a more profound observation of what’s happening anyway but I think the innovation is that often people were thinking observe, observe, act. Maybe observe, plan, act. But the so-called bottom of the ‘U’, going into this deep place of knowing and listening to an emergent reality, a creative impulse, I think to even give recognition to that and to give permission to that I think is one of the important innovations that you are bringing. And maybe you can say more about how that is happening for people and how people can support themselves and each other also in the organizational setting to actually allow this unusual movement into the depths and to come out then on the other side.


Otto Scharmer


[00:09:30] Well, at first it’s really true what you say. The normal model is that you skip the middle part. The normal model is that from observation you directly move into action. What do we call that? That’s reacting. Reacting. So you see a situation, you immediately react to that based on what? Based on our habits of action. On our habitual routines. Now, if that’s okay, if that creates the results that we want, that’s fine. But what we see today in a rapidly-changing world around us is more often than not the results that we have by just reacting to change aren’t the ones we want. Are a mismatch to what we want to create.


[00:10:26] So that then, noticing that I think is the first source of why we would even consider kind of another process. Kind of noticing that we actually need a different process. So what is it that helps people? Well, I think in one word it’s awareness. You need to become aware. You need to become aware. You need to step out of just reacting to stuff and notice the bigger picture and say, well, maybe I need to do something different. And what we have found is that this type of awareness, how to build that, that’s really what the manager’s job is. You could say the manager’s job, the leader’s job today in the 21st century organization is transforming awareness.


[00:11:27] That’s the core business leaders are in. So when, for example, you have a turnaround situation and kind of a new CEO comes in and gives a big crisis speech and the threats and the opportunities, what we need to let go, where we need to go – all of that. What is that person doing? Shaping awareness. Kind of shaping the fields of collective attention. How we attend to a situation. And in many cases kind of getting out of these habits of the past requires a number of methods and tools and also requires a helpful environment.


[00:12:10] For example, what we found is one of the most simple and effective mechanisms is to take… Well I would say three things. One is any kind of reflection and learning infrastructure. So to create places in organizations where you stop doing and where you look at the bigger picture. So you can use organizational learning tools, you can use other tools, but basically you stop your habits and you look at the bigger picture.


[00:12:51] The second one is going on learning journeys. Kind of going – getting out of your own organizational bubble and moving into the places of most potential. For example, when I am in manufacturing I would – or like any kind of production industrial company – I would spend a day in the life of the users. Of the customers. I would spend a day in the life of kind of other key stakeholders of the organization. And thereby I would change my own perspective on what’s going on and getting new information.


[00:13:35] Yesterday, for example, we had a talk here from Barbara Stocking, the CEO of Oxfam UK. Kind of one of the most influential NGOs worldwide. And she was asked, okay – and she kind of presented one of the greatest projects they ever did – and then somebody said, how did you come up with that? How did that really work? And she said that there was – before they came up with that there was a real battle in the management team. There was one group wanting one thing, the other group another thing that didn’t know what to do. And then they went out. They went out to the stakeholders, they were really listening to around the world to what people saw coming and what was really necessary.


[00:14:17] And through that listening, through that going out beyond the boundary of your own organization, listening to the stakeholders, then in bringing that back together, a new idea emerged of what was really necessary. What could really kind of integrate some of the opposing options that they had been debating before. So that’s a second method we found highly helpful in changing the mindset and moving out of more of the same which is from observing and direct to action. So sensing journeys, shattering kind of stakeholder interviews – basically getting beyond the boundary of your own organizational bubble and beginning to see the situation through the eyes of some of the other stakeholders.


[00:15:35] And the research that I mentioned before that I did with Joseph Jaworski, we were actually surprised to see how many of our interviewees, all people who had quite an impressive track record in terms of creating innovations in their own fields, how many of them had their own reflective or contemplative practices.


[00:16:01] What is that? A practice is stuff I do every day. So what, for example, would these people do? Well, a practice is when, for example, every evening you go on a run. So when once a day you spend a particular period of time in nature. Or when, what many people actually do, you get up a little earlier than everyone else and just spend the first half an hour of the day in stillness by contemplating for example on what is it that’s most essential really for you. In your life, in your work and basically focusing on what’s most essential and allowing everything else that is not to go away. Kind of allow the noise to go away. Or using contemplative practices.


[00:16:57] Whatever you do – and people really do very different things – but what we notice is that really many, many of these people who have really impressed us with their work have their own practice. Have their own kind of contemplative practice. So that’s one. They also often have like small circles of support and that would be maybe like a fourth point. So it’s kind of personal practices that allow me to – what is a personal practice to it? It allows me to operate from a different place. It allows me to connect more with who I really am, with my authentic self. And as we all know, many of us in leadership jobs these days face network leadership challenges.


[00:17:53] What is that? So a network leadership challenge is when, in order for me to be successful in my job, I depend on other people and I depend on changing the behavior of other people that I cannot control. Not through hierarchy and probably I can also not bribe them. So what’s left for me as a mechanism of changing behavior? It’s the quality of my relationship. And how do I develop that? Through the quality of my listening. Kind of through the presence, like the quality of myself, of my attention that I can bring into a situation. So this dimension kind of, am I like my fake self or am I my authentic self? Well, people notice. We know that from our families. So how much of my real self, with how much of my real self can I show up in a situation? Can I show up in my work and in my life?


[00:19:09] If you look at the field of leadership, what is it? The last 15 years, most of the things aren’t really new. What are the few things that are really new? One of them is – I would say one of them is emotional intelligence. And the other one is a whole dimension of mindfulness. A whole dimension of you could say authentic leadership. The whole dimension of that as a leader, to be a good leader I have to connect with my real self. It’s not good enough to show up with my fake self. I mean that works when I have a traditional organization, traditional business environment.


[00:19:52] But the new world, all the cares around us, requires us to show up more with our full self. And that’s something that we as leaders, as managers, as changemakers we need support structure for. And what is that support structure? Well, one is kind of having a practice. And another one that we found… many people use and we, including myself, have found makes a huge difference if you have it is basically to have a small circle of friends that you get together with once in a while. Maybe two, three times a year, it may be for a day or something. Or a weekend. And where then as a small group usually it’s not more than five people, it’s a small group that, over dinner or in whatever form, you’re not just socializing and having a good time and exchanging stories but you are really listening to each other’s lives journey and the issues that we each are facing and the evolution and kind of really in the leadership edge that I’m dealing with.


[00:21:13] So what is leadership edge? It’s kind of in my own development, what is it that I need to let go of? Or what’s the old self I need to shed? That I need to let go of? And what is it that I really need to learn? What are the capabilities or what is the space I need to move into more fully? So that of course is kind of the deeper challenge that we all have. But what we don’t have is a good support structure for that and kind of having a small group of people who do that with each other. Who apply deep listening to each other.


[00:21:53] What is deep listening? Deep listening is listening with no judgment but with full empathy and with an orientation that doesn’t pay attention to me where I am failing… where I’m failing and basically dying kind of where the old self is dying. So noticing that. But then really paying attention to the other part of myself that is wanting to be born but that isn’t there quite yet. It’s maybe a space of possibility I can connect with and maybe in my best moments I can show up with that, but very often I cannot. And so what can I do to connect that, my best possible future self, my highest future possibility?


[00:22:47] And it turns out that so that’s really like a birthing process. The other aspect of my emerging self.


[00:23:18] One of the most important resources for connecting with this emerging self that we as human beings can give to each other is to have a few – what do we call that? It’s friends. So it’s not the Facebook friends, of course. The many. But it’s the few friends that really can hold you in that regard. No judgment, full empathy and paying attention until you are really noticing your highest future possibility and not just where you are failing. And what do we have in normal relationships? So a lot of judgment. Because, particularly when we have a long history with each other, I know all the wrong things. So all the things where the other person screwed up.


[00:24:12] Then the empathy may not be always there. And the letting go is very difficult. So because there is so much history, particularly if we are in conflict, we pay attention to those aspects of the other person that we don’t like, that’s like – and by paying attention to that we are reinforcing it. So this is – so what I just described, this deep listening is a rare capacity. If it happens, if it’s applied to me it changes me, who I am. If I kind of practice, if I have an experience like that for an evening, for a half day, I return from that session a different person. I am no longer the same person.


[00:25:00] So why? What does that mean? I am more my real self. Who I really am. I operate on a different level of energy. I am there a little different, a little more with who I really am. That’s the feeling. So that’s kind of this deeper dimension of, that’s really what I call with this kind of funny word: Presencing.


Walter Link


[00:25:45] You spoke about the importance to having a contemplative practice but also a group of people that you can practice with. And that you can digest your life with, that you can get feedback from. And to do that in a process that goes beyond the normal way of being together into a deeper way of listening, into a deeper sense of feedback. But also into a joined discovery of who we are individually, collectively. And that also sounds very much like the process that you used to write the book Presence together with three other authors which was a process over a long period of time where you from time to time met, digested your life and advanced this whole concept further. And the practice further. Can you say a little bit more about that experience?


Otto Scharmer


[00:26:50] Two months ago or so I happened to be at the world economic forum in Davos and it was actually interesting. So I was invited to three sessions. The third session was the most interesting one. And that was on the leaders inner work. It was on mindful leadership.


[00:27:13] And as part of that I had the opportunity to lead the audience through a 45-minute guided meditation which was – I was told that was the first time that that happened at the world economic forum. And it was very interesting that not only was that whole session immediately oversubscribed but it was also many people after that session they said, oh, that was the best thing they ever did in the whole forum. So that particular session. So it wasn’t like in the transforming capitalism, very contested, it was a deep experience for many.


[00:27:49] So since the whole economic forum in Davos really is for where the elite of the institutions in business but also government and partly NGOs meet, if even there a session like that happened and has that type of resonance, it tells you something. It tells you something that there is something shifting globally. That there is a deeper – that doesn’t mean that it’s everyone’s thing but it means that – it’s no longer a fringe thing that only can afford a few crazies outside. And when we did the book Presence a few years ago, that still – back then it still was much more at the periphery I would say. Today I would say – and that’s why I’m sharing that story – I think it’s moving more and more mainstream. Because of two reasons. I think there are two driving forces that make it more mainstream.


[00:28:50] One is we face new challenges that the old methods of operating aren’t addressing. So there’s like an objective dimension out there. New challenges that require new methods of leadership, of change. And the other one is that there is a deep inner need. There is a deep inner – you could say longing – for more meaning, for connecting what I do in my work with what I really care about.


[00:29:28] And it’s actually interesting. I mean I’m actually thinking about that more and more since what I hear from leaders across institutions is more and more something – the other day I heard someone in a workshop in Vienna, he described it like this. He said, look, I need to, in my job – he was the CEO of an international organization – I need a country – of a country organization – he said, look, I need to kind of drive all these processes of change and so on. So his institution is making him things do. That he is doing. But his heart isn’t part of it. So there is a gap between him and his real self and what he really would like to do and what he’s actually doing. As what the institution, what the system makes him do. Another round of efficiency and streamlining and making things more lean and so on.


[00:30:34] Yes, he’s doing it but there is this inner gap. And I think the presence of that gap, that there is actually a felt need for a more deep-felt connection with what I’m doing so that I can link what I’m doing in my work with what I really care about, with who I really am and kind of what my real core values are. I think that is ever more present. That’s the other force. So it’s like an inner – you could say predisposition, openness, awareness. Awareness for being part of a story that’s bigger than just my small self, then just my ego self.


[00:31:49] So in my view what the leader’s job is today is very simple. It kind of goes back to the beginning of our conversation. And you know a way of saying that is that in my view the key leadership challenge of our age is to transform ego system awareness to ecosystem awareness. So ego system awareness is that say, okay, I have an organization and this department is fighting with that department and they need to collaborate, part of the same core process, but they are just fighting against each other. Those are two ego system awarenesses fighting with each other around resources and so on.


[00:32:30] So what do I need to do? As a facilitator, change maker, as a CEO, what’s my job? My job is to bring them together and to say, look, it’s neither you – it’s not about you or you, it’s about this bigger process that you’re a part of. So you need to open up your awareness and just see the bigger picture that you’re a part of. So that’s what you really do as a change maker. What is that? You transform awareness.


[00:32:57] And today – so that was the old days where we had two departments. But today, we not only have two departments, we have like the entire supply chain kind of all the way from the small holders, the farmers, to the consumers in the very end. Kind of the whole ecological challenge, the social challenges that we face require us to really extend our awareness across the entire supply chain and the social ecological context.


[00:33:27] So that’s why the leader’s job today to be effective is transforming ego to ecosystem awareness. Now I can say as a leader, well, I don’t believe in that. So I’m seeing Nike and I say, when they do child labor over there in Asia that’s not my job. And guess what? The NGOs are going to nail you. And you have a brand risk that you have no choice. So it’s good business. So what I’m talking about is not like some law, some obscure, spiritual side interest.


[00:34:07] What I’m talking about with ecosystem awareness is core business. In order to save your brand value, your brand identity, you have to deal with the child labor issue, you have to extend your awareness all the way to Asia, all the way to the practices kind of that your entire supply chain is engaged in. Because all of that is connected. And the same – of course it applies to us as consumers and so on and so forth.


[00:34:38] So that’s where I see this kind of drive from kind of moving from these smaller islands of ego awareness to extending it to the whole ecosystem, that’s very much what the challenge is and where we as a community of leaders just begin to find the tools, the resources, the examples and so on. And what we have found is kind of the contemplative practices, the small learning groups but also kind of the sensing journeys. Outside of your own organizational bubble that’s kind of among the things that are really helping.


Walter Link


[00:35:40] What are the contemplative practices that you are using and that really helped you and how has that use impacted you over the years of practicing?


Otto Scharmer


[00:35:49] In my case… I would say probably three things. So the first practice that I – and that only happened gradually – that I would mention is that helps me to connect with my own sources, is actually listening. And it’s kind of the work itself. It is kind of doing what I am happy enough to developing as my own so to speak core business which is listening to people, listening to their stories, kind of unearthing and helping them to connect with their own deeper sources of creativity.


[00:36:45] To the degree that this happens – and sometimes it happens one-on-one that may be in a coaching or in a big community as we did this week and where we work kind of a whole week with 75 people from 25 countries. So when you see kind of where a community is moving from many small egos to really beginning to operate from the sources of their collective creativity, that is an enormous kind of – so it’s called work and, yes, I guess I’m being paid for that. At least kind of often enough I am.


[00:37:24] But in reality it’s nourishing me. So I should even pay for that, doing that. So it is a practice. So the practice is kind of to connect partly on a community but also partly on an individual level to that deeper level of creativity. Secondly, so the second one is that I am kind of on a daily level kind of I do two things – I try to do two things.


[00:37:57] Actually every morning I actually take a period from 10, 20, 30 minutes of stillness. Of slowing down, of connecting with what’s most essential for me and just kind of being in the moment. Kind of just being present in the moment and allowing kind of – and using that as an entry point to mindfulness. To being really present. And it helps me to slow down, it helps me to be more calm with responding to the next crisis that’s going to hit you. And it also helps me to be more focused, more able to respond from the world that I really want to create rather than reacting against what I don’t want.


[00:39:07] And the third practice or the third element that really – sorry – so that’s kind of the morning. And so the other really helpful element that I try but not always, am able to realize, is every day to the degree possible spend some minutes in nature. So even if you’re like doing a workshop or being in a building the whole day, try to – and get out like at least for half an hour – be in nature. I find that enormously helpful as a gateway to just open up, just kind of distance yourself from – it’s like a gateway into connecting with the bigger picture.


[00:40:04] Probably the most useful things I ever did was to take awareness training with a man named John Milton who basically uses kind of nature as a gateway. And what he does is he basically puts people into nature. So there’s a little kind of preparation – and then in this case it was a week – kind of he puts you in a certain spot in nature and you are there. Usually kind of you are fasting or just taking liquid to yourself and basically stay there for a week and really let go and let go of all your other concerns and over time begin more and more kind of to connect with who you really are.


[00:40:55] And you don’t really notice kind of the changes that happen with you as you are kind of there over the week. But the moment kind of I returned from this two-week workshop back home I noticed that I no longer was the same person. And no longer the same person that entered that training.


Walter Link


[00:41:32] So we are speaking about developing awareness and supporting conditions that are conducive to the emergence of presence and a deeper understanding, a deeper connection to our self. Now these of course are things that for millennia, spiritual traditions, philosophical traditions around the world have attempted to do as also the psychology and understanding coming from brain sciences and so forth was in a world that is separate of the world of action, generally. At least for the last few centuries in the West.


[00:42:13] And you were using for example the concept of the three centers in your work of the U-process which is found in Buddhism and some aspects it’s found in Sufism which is the spiritual tradition of Islam. And of course it’s also in anthroposophy. And I think you have worked with anthroposophy which is a very profound philosophical spiritual teaching and practice. Can you say something about how the depths of such a very dedicated research, body of research about human development and human nature kind of flows into something that is then applied to management and to modern day secular life without losing the depths and yet having it simple enough so that you can put it into a management process and a leadership process?


Otto Scharmer


[00:43:14] Well, you’re right. So the – you could say the essence of the U-theory and the essence of that deeper view of management and leadership and change and systems thinking that has been emerging through our work over the past years really, you know, my way of summarizing that is with these three terms. It is about kind of this leader’s inner work that is required to kind of operate. And not only the leaders but really the changemakers and everyone is kind of – in order to operate in the complexity of this century we have to do some inner work and that inner work has to do with tuning three instruments. The open mind, IQ; the open-heart, emotional intelligence, EQ; and the open will. And the open will you could say, that’s about the deeper layers of self-knowledge. So SQ. Sometimes it’s also referred to as kind of spiritual knowledge.


[00:44:45] Now what is spiritual knowledge? It’s essentially the sources of self and the sources of creativity. The deeper sources of creativity. Yes, it is related – kind of you can now go to all wisdom traditions around the planet and you find different articulations of these fundamental principles. How to open the mind, suspend judgment, how to open the heart kind of to exercise empathy and how to – actually the third one is actually less developed in these – to some degree it is there in these kind of different contemplative wisdom traditions.


[00:45:36] So there is a great body of knowledge and of practices that we can draw on as now we live in a century where this deeper knowledge is no longer a prerequisite say for your inner journey but becomes more and more like a prerequisite to be effective in the outer world work. And I think it’s not just kind of the old wisdom that’s being called upon in this century. It’s really a new path. It’s a new – you could also say – you could even say it’s a new spiritual path. Why?


[00:46:19] Because the path that we are talking about here is a path of doing. It’s a path of kind of being in the world. It’s a path of being part of a societal change process where first and foremost I try to be in the service of the evolution of the social process, the evolution of an initiative that I am part of. The evolution of a community project that I am participating in. And as part of that I realize this will only work – kind of all these complex multi-stakeholders will only work if I engage in this deeper work.


[00:47:04] So it is – you could say it’s a path of inner development that is initiated and that is kind of revolving around the doing. Not – which is moving into the world as opposed to moving out of the world and spending all your life kind of in separation from. So in that way we see a reconnection with these deeper wisdom traditions. But also in a new way. And in a way that connects very interestingly to many professionals, particularly those of us kind of who are in the more advanced areas of mastery in professions.


[00:47:52] All kind of people related or all leadership, all education, all advanced professions deal with these deeper dynamics of relationship, of holding the space, of dealing with different views and of changing the social field of stuff working against each other toward kind of collective creativity. And those dynamics require these deeper skills. So that’s I would say linking back to these wisdom traditions and also bringing them into the world in the new way. So I have found through anthroposophy and through other wisdom traditions a lot of very useful insights of kind of unearthing this dimension of leadership and work that previously was really not attended to at all.


Walter Link


[00:49:21] And so we could call this kind of integration vertical integration in which we bring together the head, the heart and the belly or the hands, the will. Where we bring together the thinking and the intellectual capacity and these deeper forms of knowing of which there are many different kinds. Another thing that I’m seeing happening is that we are used to look at the world in different sectors. You have the business sector and the civil society and the public sector and then within the civil society you have the human rights movement, the environmental movement, you have different sectors of business.


[00:50:05] And everything had its more or less a neat box. And still people very much are seeing and acting as if these parts were separate. But I think there’s also now a horizontal integration where really when you look at the world and you really want to face the challenges you see that everything is related. That human rights cannot be separated from the environment, that business cannot be separated from civil society. And that there is, in the same way as we need this vertical integration, we also need a horizontal perspective in integration which I think you are also addressing with your work on capitalism 3.0 but in general also of course with the multi-stakeholder aspect and so forth.


Otto Scharmer


[00:50:52] As you said, we have all these challenges and problem areas, negative externalities as the economists put it. What is our response as a society? We have for each problem one ministry in government and then we have NGOs that focus on that, we have foundations, we have journals, we have kind of professional disciplines, conferences for each of these. And they are like neatly organized in silos. And each of that is one – they have their own funding mechanisms, it’s all working somehow. They’re all doing valuable work. But as you said, it’s like a silo. It’s not really looking at the whole picture. And I think there is really – the whole picture needs to be looked at in two ways.


[00:51:48] Number one we need to look at them horizontally. How is all of that interconnected? And of course it is. We cannot use – we cannot reinvent health just by looking at hospitals or health care. Really the economy, it’s the larger context. But then we also need like kind of more on a structure level we need to ask kind of the question, what really are the deeper root causes? What is it? Why is it that we keep re-creating all of these negative externalities? And that is the more recent work I have been doing and that really deals with the very interesting and challenging transformation of capitalism that I think in society that we are in worldwide from a mode where we mainly organize around ego system awareness and organized interests, special interest groups that maximize their special interests versus the health of the whole.


[00:52:50] So a new form of business and society where we would operate from an ecosystem awareness that includes kind of the interests and the perspective of all the other stakeholders. And that’s really how to do that I think is the big challenge that we face as changemakers, as generation kind of – at the beginning of the century, across all societies and across all cultures. That’s a huge opportunity but also a huge task of course.


[00:53:21] And I think how that connects to the earlier parts of our conversation is that we have no chance of ever getting there if we do not succeed in connecting with the deeper source of awareness and connecting with what people really care about, what they really care about in the context of the larger community. And that awakening awareness, kind of being part of a bigger story, really wanting to make a positive impact on the larger social and societal whole that we are a part of, that is a big need all over the place. It’s in the business community, in the NGO, in the government community. But it’s not leveraged and kind of how to really activate that space into collective action, that’s one of the biggest challenges and the most interesting opportunity that we have and I look forward to working on that together going forward.


Walter Link


[00:54:26] Thank you.