Otto Scharmer
Otto Scharmer
Born1961 (age 61–62)
Alma materWitten/Herdecke University
Known forTheory U

Otto Scharmer (born 1961) is an American academic who is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and co-founder of the Presencing Institute (now seemingly subsumed into u-school for Transformation).[1] At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he chairs the IDEAS Global Challenge program for cross-sector innovation[2] and is the author/co-author of several books. He focuses on action research.[3]


Scharmer studied economics at Witten/Herdecke University in Germany, where receiving his diploma and PhD.[4]


In 2015 Otto co-founded the MITx u.lab,[5] a massive open online course with more than 140,000 users from 185 countries.[6]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2023)

Awards and honors

He received the Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching at MIT (2015),[7] and the EU Leonardo Corporate Learning Award for the contributions of Theory U to the future of management (2016).[8] In 2017 he was ranked #1 of the world's top 30 education professionals by[9]

Selected publications

Theory U diagram


  1. ^ "People – Presencing Institute". Archived from the original on 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  2. ^ "Otto Scharmer – MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning". Archived from the original on 2016-07-27. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  3. ^ In his own words: Otto Scharmer – Theory U: Emerging Futures. 2021-12-15. Event occurs at circa 6m00. Retrieved 2023-02-21 – via YouTube.
  4. ^ "Otto Scharmer bio". Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  5. ^ "Awareness-Based Systems Change with u.lab - How to Sense and Actualize the Future". Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  6. ^ "EPH Conference". 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
  7. ^ "Photos: Instructors in accounting and operations management recognized at annual teaching awards – MIT Sloan School of Management". Archived from the original on 2017-05-03. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  8. ^ "Thought Leadership » Leonardo Award 2016 » Leonardo". Archived from the original on 2017-02-15. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  9. ^ "Education Gurus 30 – Global Gurus". Archived from the original on 2017-05-03. Retrieved 2017-02-15.