Theory U – Part 2

Hello! Let´s continue with the Theory U!

As we saw in the last post, “Presencing,” a blend of the words “presence” and “sensing,” refers to the ability to sense and bring into the present one’s highest future potential—as an individual and as a group. Theory U offers both a new theoretical perspective and a practical social technology. As a theoretical perspective, Theory U suggests that the way in which we attend to a situation determines how a situation unfolds: I attend this way, therefore it emerges that way. As a practical social technology, Theory U offers a set of principles and practices for collectively creating the future that wants to emerge (following the movements of co-initiating, co-sensing, co-inspiring, co-creating, and co-evolving).

Now we will see the five movements of U journey:

1. Co-initiating: build common intent. Stop and listen to others and to what life calls you to do

At the beginning of each project, one or a few key individuals gather together with the intention of making a difference in a situation that really matters to them and to their communities. As they coalesce into a core group, they maintain a common intention around their purpose, the people they want to involve, and the process they want to use. The context that allows such a core group to form is a process of deep listening—listening to what life calls you and others to do.

2. Co-sensing: observe, observe, observe. Go to the places of most potential and listen with your mind and heart wide open.

The limiting factor of transformational change is not a lack of vision or ideas, but an inability to sense—that is, to see deeply, sharply, and collectively. When the members of a group see together with depth and clarity, they become aware of their own collective potential.

3. Presencing: Connect to the source of inspiration and common will. Go to the place of silence and allow the inner knowing to emerge

The essence of presencing is the experience of the coming in of the new and the transformation of the old. Once a group crosses this threshold, nothing remains the same. Individual members and the group as a whole begin to operate with a heightened level of energy and sense of future possibility. Often they then begin to function as an intentional vehicle for the future that they feel wants to emerge.

4. Co-creating: Prototype the new in living examples to explore the future by doing

The prototype is not the stage that comes after the analysis,  is part of the sensing and discovery process in which we explore the future by doing rather than by thinking and reflecting.

5. Co-evolving: Embody the new in ecosystems that facilitate seeing and acting from the whole

The co-evolving movement results in an innovation ecosystem that connects high leverage prototype initiatives with the institutions and players that can help take it to the next level of piloting and scaling.

Following is the figure with the five movements of theory U:

And another inspiring video with Otto Scharmer:

PS:  Good news! I was approved in a PhD about Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability in Netherlands! I will research about conscious leadership for sustainability! I´m very happy and will keep sharing at this blog interesting issues about sustainability, and now improved with the different visions that I will learn and research!

Kind Regards.

About Ana Marques

Woman, scientist, consultant. But above all, a common human being, willing to help, share, transform!
This entry was posted in Sustainability Concepts, Sustainability in practice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Theory U – Part 2

  1. hi there, i have just about finished my doctoral work on corporate social responsibility. i am an independent management consultant having worked with the likes of world bank, sarc, usaid etc. i would like direct contact. i have come back to India recently and taken up some teaching assignments. rgds prof m d saha

  2. Léon Evers says:

    hi Aaa,

    much succes with your resorg phd appointment. i am a resorg phd’er myself (started 2010), have my own company on strategic hrm and of interest on csr / sustainable development especially in the strategising processes involved. will probably see each other next few months to come at radboud university in nijmegen. greetz Léon Evers

    • Ana Marques says:

      Hi Léon,
      Thanks for your nice message!
      Great to know that you also study at RESORG!
      I have had just few classes until now, and I´m enjoying very much!
      All the best and until soon, Ana Marques

  3. E. R. Osagie says:

    Hi Ana,
    i also just started my PhD project on CSR-related competencies. So I would like to keep in touch..I see you’re appointed at RESORG…with Prof. dr. van der Heijden of Prof. Jonkers (he is I think a expert on CSR, isn’t he?)… so maybe we will see each other one day:)

    • Ana Marques says:

      Hi, thanks for your message!
      Nice to know that you started your PhD project on CSR!
      I agree, he is a expert on CSR and I´m honored to learn with him.
      All the best and until one day

      • E. R. Osagie says:

        Hi Ana,

        I was just wondering. I spoke to one of my supervisors (Renate Wesselink). She told me that during her PhD-project there was something like a PhD-CSR academy/network/group/platform. She remembered that Prof. Jonkers was (one of the) chairmen. Do you know anything about this? Does it still exist? I would like to join this group!

    • Ana Marques says:

      Sorry, but I don´t know about this PhD-CSR academy/network/group/platform.
      Let me know if I can help you in another way.
      All the best,

  4. Good success with your research Ana!

    I’ve just posted a question to LinkedIn which might be of interest to CSR researchers like you who want to go deeper and arent interested in downloading!

    The marginalisation of the CSR/SRI agenda is clearly unintentional. But is it a predictable consequence of how we organise?

    Best wishes

  5. Great review! You actually touched some interesting news here. I came across it by using Yahoo and I’ve got to admit that I already subscribed to the RSS feed, it’s very great 🙂

  6. Dana says:

    Good Luck Ana,
    This is the work that is needed in the world! I commend you. Warmest regards, Dana

  7. Jordi Morrós says:

    Hi Ana.

    Very interesting the program of Ph. D. at Resorg Center.

    Good luck in your doctoral trip.

    Best wishes.

  8. jeroen van lawick says:

    Dear All,

    Thanks for the great discussion. Hopefully this may add to the thinking, feeling AND doing: an article on the alignment of Theory U and CSR 2.0: or

    Enjoy and happy to hear your comments or questions.

    Jeroen van Lawick

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