The September 2018 live session dove into detail about awareness-based systems change: an approach to leading profound change in social systems, that focuses on creating new outcomes by facilitating shifts in consciousness for the stakeholders in a system.

Otto Scharmer opened the session by defining the essence of change and observing how the divides of our times — the ecological, social and spiritual disconnects that riddle our civilization — are in fact the outward symptoms of a buried structure of mental models that we need to uncover and transform. By diving deeply into the inner place from which we operate, through listening methods and exploring our intentions and actions at the source level, we are able to access our embodied knowing, and reach the place of presencing as explored in the Theory U process.

Otto looked at the various ways in we can respond to disruptive change:

  • muddling through in the same old ways,
  • turning backwards in a freeze reaction (by closing the mind, heart and will) — absencing, or
  • leaning into the unknown future (by opening the mind, heart and will) — presencing.

Otto noted that the Transforming Capitalism Lab was launched last April to create a global digital platform of change, enabling the system to “see itself” by mirroring back to its participants the existing nascent facets of transformation that are often still too tiny and hidden to be perceived as a whole. Its stated mission is “to curate stories that illustrate where and how change is already happening; connect people with fellow change-makers around the world; and equip people with methods and tools for leading the shift toward a new economy in their own local context.” The underlying belief is that change is already there, that it’s already happening, but needs to be made visible.