Leading from the emerging future : from ego-system to eco-system economies
Leading from the emerging future : from ego-system to eco-system economies” coauthored by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer (published in 2013 by Barrett-Koehler Publishers)
  • I am extremely grateful to Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer for writing this thought-provoking book. The objective of the coauthors is to contribute some tools to help leaders to understand the current crisis and to be more effective in shifting from “ego” system (self oriented) to “eco” system (collective oriented) economies.
  • The book of 273 pages covers a vast scope : revealing the root causes of current economic, social, ecological, political, spiritual, and institutional crisis and proposing new awareness. I have devoured it in 2 days as the book was well structured and very clear.. I was so pleased to share similar thoughts and analysis, although at my humble level. For me it is essential to strike a harmonious W2-being (W2 = Well and Whole). My personal believe is that we cannot be well if we are not “wholly” well . For me there are 2 levels of the “wholeness”, the whole self and it’s inter-relationship with the outside, the bigger whole. As Plato has put it : “The part cannot be well unless the whole is well”.
  • According to the book, the journey from “me” to “we” as leaders transition from an ego-system to an eco-system model has three facets : the first is relating to others; the second is relating to the self and the third is relating to the system as a whole.
  • To lead from the emerging future, Scharmer and Kaufer suggested that leaders need to « let go » of the past in order to learn from and connect with the possibilities of the future (« let come »). This is known as presencing, which is “a blended world combining sensing (feeling the future possibility) and presence (the state of being in the present moment). It means sensing and actualizing one’s highest future possibility—acting from the presence of what is wanting to emerge.”
  • Throughout the book, Scharmer and Kaufer attempted to answer three fundamental questions: in the face of disruption, how do we lead from the emerging future? What evolutionary economic framework can guide our journey forward? What strategies can help us to function as vehicles for shifting the whole? In doing so, they address the blind spot in today’s global discourse, specifically how to approach the disruptions from a place of connection rather than as a reaction.
  • I enjoy reading this book, it was like a time journey. I hope that this book will inspire more leaders and hence contribute to meaningful societal changes.
About the authors
  • Dr. Otto Scharmer, author of Theory U and co-author of Presence, is a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the founding chair of the Presencing Institute. He also is faculty chair of MIT’s IDEAS program and a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. In 2012 he co-founded the Global Well-Being and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Lab, which links innovators from Bhutan, India, China, Brazil, Europe, and the United States in order to prototype profound innovations in government, business, education, and civil society. He has worked with governments, UN organizations, companies, and NGOs in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, and he has delivered award-winning leadership and innovation programs for clients including Alibaba, Daimler, Eileen Fisher, Fujitsu, Google, Natura, and PriceWaterhouse. Scharmer is currently a vice-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on New Leadership Models. He holds a PhD in economics and management from Witten-Herdecke University in Germany. He lives with his family in the Boston area. More information about Scharmer and his work can be found at www.presencing.com and www.ottoscharmer.com.
  • Dr. Katrin Kaufer is co-founder and research director at the Presencing Institute and research fellow at the Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Her research focuses on leadership, social transformation, and socially responsible banking. She has consulted with midsized and global companies, nonprofit organizations, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme. She currently works with the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a network of twenty financial institutions that focus on relinking finance with a shared intention for positive social change. She also co-developed the Global Classroom concept at the Presencing Institute, an online learning platform that links live-streamed virtual classroom interaction with small-group dialogue and local action. Kaufer earned her MBA and PhD from Witten-Herdecke University in Germany. Her dissertation focused on socially responsible banking. She lives with her family in the Boston area. More information can be found at www.presencing.com.