Whether we want to bring change in the society or change in the organization, this notes based on Theory U by Dr. Otto Scharmer of M.I.T can throw new light in your thinking process.


First we can see the current reality. You can call it the Symptoms. The symptoms are in the form of the results, the impacts, the behaviors and experiences.

All these symptoms are in the background of the 3 Divides. The 3 Divides are : 1. Ecological Divide: Human Beings are disconnected from Nature 2. Social Divide: Human beings are disconnected from each other 3. Spiritual Divide: Human beings are disconnected from themselves.

3 Divides

Ecological divide is about how we are disconnected from nature and as an expression of this disconnect we are using around 1.79 times the regenerative capacity of planet Earth. Of course, if everyone starts living the way U.S. citizens are living, we would need 5 planets to match up to our consumption.

Social divide is about how we have disconnected from each other under many pretexts – caste, creed, religion, education, geography, money, gender, politics and many more. Financially the inequality has reached the level that 8 Billionaires on the planet have more wealth than almost 4 Billion people.

Spiritual divides is about human beings being disconnected with them selves – their highest future possibility and that is leading to people living hollow lives, being addicted to one thing or the other, running after some thing or the other. Stress, fear, anxiety, loneliness, broken relationships etc., take a toll and around 800 K people are committing suicide every year. A number which is larger than the number of people killed by others as well as by natural calamities combined.

(The above data can be seen at https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/planet-earth/state-of-the-planet/overuse-of-resources-on-earth)

The core issue behind the 3 divides is human beings operating from ego centric (thinking within a boundary) Vs eco centric (thinking from the whole).

We need to see the current reality of any system – whether it is the financial system, education system, healthcare system, education or any other system – with the background of the 3 divides.

4 Rules of bringing System Change:

From the 4 rules, one can understand that to bring a system change – one needs to transform the consciousness. How do we go about transforming the consciousness?

  1. List down all the stakeholders of the current system. Look for the invisible, unheard, voiceless, ignored, peripheral stakeholders also. Any group of people who affect the system or affected by the system.
    • E.g. 1 : In an education system, students, teachers, parents may be some of the visible stakeholders; but grandparents of the students, teachers’ families may not on the top of mind. Also the administrative staff, the education departments, the various companies working in the education field etc., can also be relevant stakeholders.
    • E.g. 2: In an organization, shareholders, top management, middle management, front line, workers, their families, customers, vendors are important stakeholders. Depending on the industry – the family members of the customers and vendors may also be relevant. Ofcourse, there also various kinds of competition, regulatory authorities, banks and financial institutions, and the neighborhood, society, state and country could be other important stakeholders.
  2. Interact with them and start to see the system and its workings as well as impact through their eyes with open mind and open heart. No judgements.
  3. Organize many multi stakeholder dialogues such that all stakeholders can see the current reality from the eyes of all other stakeholders.
  4. The realization that one is looking for is OMG! We have collectively created this current reality! We have collectively created this mess; the unworkable situations and results/impact that we don’t want. It is not blaming, but a realization.

With this transformed awareness, new openings for thinking and acting will open up.

It will require the capacity of the people concerned to practice deep listening and suspending one’s opinions, judgement, cynicism and fear.

Please experiment on the above lines and you can write to us for further support.

Best Wishes – Manoj Onkar. Management Innovations & Emerging Futurz. http://www.managementinnovations.co.in ; http://www.emergingfuturz.com manoj@managementinnovations.co.in ; manoj@emergingfuturz.com

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