Innovating from the Future – Part 2: Co-Sensing

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

Having initiated a common intention with a core group, the next step is to form a team to take a deep-dive innovation journey through the stages of co-sensing, presencing, prototyping and institutionalizing.

The Core group which often includes the executive sponsors and the team(execution team) tend to overlap. In small systems, the overlap could be 100 %. In larger systems, the over lap will be less.

The essence of co-sensing is getting out of one’s own bubble.

Our virtual bubbles(social media echo chambers), our institutional bubbles (organizational echo chambers), and our own affinity bubbles(the kind of people we like to hang out with) keep us in the world of downloading: same old, same old.

At its core, co-sensing is about immersing yourself in new contexts that matter to your situation and that are unfamiliar to you.

Outcomes of Co-Sensing:

Whatever you do in the co-sensing phase, make sure that you generate the following:

  1. A revised set of driving forces that reshape the system at issue.
  2. A revised set of core questions
  3. A set of insights into opportunities related to each of them
  4. A set of personal connections to those opportunities
  5. A core team that is ‘Switched ON’ to sensing profound opportunities
  6. A mapping of the systemic barriers that keep the system on its current track
  7. An improved capacity for building generative stakeholder relationships

PRINCIPLES:

  1. Building a Highly Committed Core Team
  2. Take Learning Journeys to the Places of Most Potential
  3. Observe, Observe, Observe: Suspend your voice of Judgment and Connect with Your Sense of Wonder.
  4. Practice Deep Listening and Dialogue: Connect with Your Mind and Heart Wide Open
  5. Collective Sense Making

Next Topic: Presencing

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Innovating from the Future – Part 1: Co-Initiating

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

Co-Initiating: Uncovering Shared Intention:

The starting point of the process is to build a container (a holding space) for a core group that is going through the process together.

This first stage lays the foundation for the later process and its impact. This first step of co-initiating focuses on uncovering common intention.

Listening is the Key.

  • Listening to your own intention or to what life calls you to do (listening to oneself)
  • Listening to your core partners in the field (listening to others)
  • Listening to what you are called to do now (listening to what emerges)

Outcomes of Co-Initiating:

Whatever you do during the movement of co-initiation, make sure that by the end of that stage you have established the following:

  1. A Shared intention of what you want to create
  2. Critical questions you need to explore
  3. A core group that guides the initiative
  4. A core team to dive into the U process
  5. Deep Listening and Conversation Practices
  6. An effective support structure
  7. Resources: People, Place, Budget
  8. An initial set of driving forces to explore
  9. An initial list of possible learning journeys.
  10. An initial roadmap for the way forward.

Principles:

  1. Listen to What Life Calls you to do.
  2. Listen and Dialogue with Interesting Players on the Edges
  3. Clarify Intention and Core Quesions
  4. Convene a diverse core group around a shared intention
  5. Build the Container (holding space)

Next writeup will be on Co-Sensing.

This write up is abed on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

No. 1 Leadership Challenge in the World

Possibly the number one leadership challenge in the world of business, government and civil society is the same:

It is to enable stakeholder groups that need each other to change the system to move from ME to WE – that is, from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness.

How do you do that?

Innovating from the Future: One Process, Five Movements

Presencing is an innovatin method that enables groups and stakeholders to co-sense and co-create the future. Profound innovation requires us to suspend downloading patterns in order to activate generative social fields.

THEORY U - Escola de Redes

The 5 movements of the U Process are:

  • Co-Initiating: Uncovering shared intention – building a first container.
  • Co-Sensing: Seeing reality from the edges of the system – establishing the horizontal connection with various stakeholders.
  • Co-Presencing: Connecting to your highest future potential – establishing the vertical connection
  • Co-Creating: Prototyping to learn by doing-bringing the new into reality.
  • Co-Shaping: Embodying and institutionalizing the new – evolving the larger eco-system.

Please find separate write ups on each of these 5 movements on the same blog.

This writeup is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer.

The Eye of the Needle: Transformation Threshold

In the whole change process, there comes a process that feels like a threshold. If that threshold is not crossed, all the talk about change is hollow and disconnected.

Dr. Otto Scharmer calls that threshold – the eye of the needle, referring to the gate in ancient Jerusalem.

Jerusalem: The Eye of the Needle Gate

When people go beyond the threshold, there is an immediate impact. People start seeing themselves from a higher vantage point, and they look at the journey as a whole instead of as a series of daily situations. They recognize their habitual problems, their deeper intentions, what matters most to them, their aspirations for themselves and for their community. In short, nothing is the same.

Crossing that threshold means to be willing to let go. To let go of old patterns, assumptions and even our old ‘ego-self’. Only then it is possible to step into our dormant potential, our emerging ‘Self’.

Many of us have had this transformative experiences that have altered the path of our lives.

Re-Integration of Matter and Mind:

When revered Master Nan, the chinese Zen Master was asked by Peter Senge: “Do you think that the industrial age will create such environmental problems that we will destroy ourselves and that we must find a way to change industrial institutions?” His response was:

“There is only one issue in the World. It’s the reintegration of matter and mind.”

Essence of Systems Thinking:

The essence of systems thinking is to help people close the feedback loop between the enactment of systems on a behavioral level and its source on the level of awareness and thought.

The shift at the bottom of the U in the U Process is not a singular event. It is an awareness and presence that is always accessible to us. The journey of the U is a journey to that deeper place and encounter.

The more we can sustain this deepend connection, the more we find that our relationship to the ‘system’ to the social field is shifting.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

21st century problems cannot be addressed with the 20th century vocabulary of problem solving

Society 1.0: Co-ordinate around Hierarchy.

The core characteristic of this stage of societal development is a strong central actor that holds the decision making power of the whole.

The positive accomplishment of a state-driven society, is its stability. The central power creates structure and order, with a calming of chaos that preceded it.

The downside is its lack of dynamism, and in most cases a lack of individual initiative and freedom.

Society 2.0: Co-ordinate around Competition:

Society 2.0 can be described as an awakening ego-system in which the self-interest of economic players acts as the animating force.

The dark side of this stage includes negative externalities such as unbounded commodification and its unintended side effects including child labour, human trafficking, environmental destruction and shocking levels of poverty and inequalities.

Society 3.0: Co-ordinate around Interest Groups:

The great accomplishment of the laissez-faire, free market economy is growth and dynamism; the downside is that is has no means of dealing with the negative externalities that it generates.

Measures to correct it include introduction of labour rights, social security, environmental protection, and federal reserve banks that protect the national currency, all of which are designed to limit the unfettered market mechanism in areas where it doesn’t work.

The limitations of 3.0 societies and their bias in favour of special interest groups, its negative approach to negative externalities and its limited capacity for intentionally creating positive externalities.

Society 4.0: Coordinate around Common Awareness of the Whole

In the emerging 4.0 stage of our economy, the natural self-interest of the players extends to a shared awareness of the whole eco-system.

Eco-system awareness requires us to open the heart and to internalize the views and concerns of other stakeholders. The results is decisions and outcomes that benefit the whole system, not just my part of it.

Field 1 to Field 4: A Journey of Inversion:

Moving down the matrix from level 1 to level 4 takes us through a process of opening and deepening.

Opening‘ means to take what is inside our microcosm and make it part of the larger macrocosm around us: As we open the mind, the heart and the will, we begin to connect with the intelligences that are surrounding us:

  • The Mind of the Collective
  • The Heart of the Collective and
  • The intention or Will of the Emerging Field.

Developing’ means to internalize what is outside, to deepen our own interiority. The combined process of turning inside-out and outside-in is what is referred here as Inversion.

To be an effective leader or change maker, we need to go through the same inversion. What does such a generative field experience look like from a first person perspective?

  • Time Slows down
  • Space widens
  • The Self-Other boundary collapses
  • The Self begins to ‘de-center’
  • Materiality Changes: The quality of matter and sensual perception also shifts.
  • Agency Changes: From rule repeating to rule-generating( operating from the source)
  • Thinking Changes: From habitual thinking to thinking from source: Presenencing.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

Organizational Evolution: Org 1.0 to Org 4.0

Global organizations are a new species on the face of our planet – a species that in less than 2 centuries has progressed to rule the world.

Organizations are essentially geometries of power.

They structure our collective decision making.

When we look at the evolution of organizations, we see 4 different stages which reflect different stages or qualities of how organizations operate.

  • Centralized
  • Decentralized
  • Networked
  • Eco-System

The leadership challenge is to develop tools that allow the organization to change and evolve into these different stages, depending on what is needed.

Organization 1.0: Centralized:

In 1.0 Organizations, decision making power is located at the top of the pyramid. It is centralized, top-down, often with formalized roles.

These 1.0 structures work well as long as the guy (or core group) at the top is really good and the organization is relatively small and agile.

However once organizations or companies begin to grow, they need to decentralize in order to move decision making closer to the markets, customers or citizens. The resulting 2.0 structures are defined by both hierarchy and competition.

Organization 2.0: Decentralized:

In a 2.0 organization structure, decentralization enables the source of power to move closer to the periphery. The result is a functionally, divisionally or geographically differentiated structure in which decisions are made closer to the markets, consumers, communities or citizens.

The good thing about 2.0 structures is the entrepreneurial independence of all of its divisions or units, its accountability and its focus on meritocracy.

The bad things is that no one is managing the interdependence, the white space between the units. Which brings us to Org 3.0

Organization 3.0: Networked:

In 3.0 organizational structures the source of power moves even farther from the center. It originates from beyond the boundaries of the organization. The result is a flattening of structures and the rise of networked relationships. Power emerges from the relationships to multiple stakeholders across boundaries.

How many people report to me matters less than the quality of my stakeholder relationships inside and outside the organizations including relationships through social media.

A good thing about 3.0 structures is empowerment and net-worked stakeholder connections.

A bad thing is the increased vulnerability in the face of disruption or being sidetracked by vested interests, because small groups can organize their lobbying activities much more easily than large groups.

Organization 4.0: ECOSYSTEM:

4.0 structures operate by connecting and cultivating the entire living eco-system that is organized around a shared purpose. “Swarm” organizations and Agile or Teal based organizations are all based on self-organizing circle structures in the context of shared purpose and institutional interdependency.

As the decision making is being pushed even further to the frontline of organizations (empowering), these flattened and fluid structures of decision making only work well to the degree that the mindset of the participants has shifted from ego-system to eco-system awareness.

This means that the decision making circles develop the capacity to act from local knowledge while being aware of the cross-organizational inter-dependency and aligned by a shared purpose.

Institutional Inversion:

The evolution of today’s organization structures show a clear pattern: institutional inversion, that is turning inside out and outside in.

In the organizational context, institutional inversion applies to many of the core functions of management, as evidenced in the rise of crowd-sourcing(inverted R & D), crowdfunding (inverted finance), swarm intelligence and other ways of harnessing collective intelligence by inverting top-down, silo structures to distributed organizing.

What is in it for your organization? Where are you and where do you need to move?

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer