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Other titles in the BK Currents series:
Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies (BK Currents)by Otto Scharmer
Synopses & Reviews
Our Time Is Now
We have entered an age of disruption. Financial collapse, climate change, resource depletion, and a growing gap between rich and poor are but a few of the signs. Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer ask, why do we collectively create results nobody wants? Meeting the challenges of this century requires updating our economic logic and operating system from an obsolete “ego-system” focused entirely on the well-being of oneself to an eco-system awareness that emphasizes the well-being of the whole. Filled with real-world examples, this thought-provoking guide presents proven practices for building a new economy that is more resilient, intentional, inclusive, and aware.
"If the title sounds a little grandiose, don't be fooled: it's a lot grandiose. This heavy-handed, confused look at life in the age of disruption from Scharmer (Theory U) and Kaufer, stakeholders at the Presencing Institute, is aimed at anyone trying to effect change: business, governmental, or societal. The authors distinguish between undesirable 'ego-system awareness' — a worldview in which one cares only for oneself — and the ideal 'eco-system worldview,' which expands to include everyone. The book provides intriguing examples of eco-system worldview shifts, such as the Arab Spring, but also includes loftily stated and too-vague worksheets and questions for self-improvement: 'Where do you experience a world that is dying (in your society, in your organization, in yourself)?' Readers looking for a high-level way to reshape thinking around their companies may find this a helpful exercise in identifying the blind spots that block transformation, but most will find themselves playing buzzword bingo, frustrated by the lack of concrete strategy and chapter headers like 'The Evolution of Capitalism as an Evolution of Consciousness.' The book's good ideas are lost in a scrum of overinflated writing and self-importance. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In his trailblazing book Theory U, Otto Scharmer described a powerful process for sensing the future that is emerging so we can align ourselves with it and help it to come into being. Now he shows that this same U process is the key to finally resolving the multiple crises we face today.
One of the key insights of Theory U is that form follows awareness: the quality of the results in any kind of system is a function of the awareness that people in the system are operating from. Even though our world is interconnected in ways unimaginable even a decade ago, in many cases our awareness—whether as individuals, organizations or nations—is still limited and local. To use an analogy from biology, even though our actions affect the larger ecosystem of which we are a part—in fact the multiple interacting economic, social, political and environmental ecosystems—we sill behave as though our actions are narrow in scope and impact. We see ourselves as part of a far smaller, more isolated ego-system.
Scharmer and Kaufer explain why actions based on this “ego-system” awareness not only result in recurring crises, but doom any attempt to resolve them—we are trying to meet new challenges with an obsolete mindset. To show the shape of the emerging future they bring this ecosystem awareness to bear on areas such as labor, capital, production, technology, leadership, ownership and many others, offering a blueprint for a new society based on a profound understanding of how the actions of each affects the many.
This book’s journey is about a path and a method of dropping the baggage of old habits of thought and then crossing through the gate to an economy that operates more consciously, inclusively, and collectively.
We have entered an age of disruption. Financial collapse, climate change, resource depletion, and a growing gap between rich and poor are but a few of the signs. Collectively, despite our best efforts, we are producing results that nobody wants.
Having worked in hot spots of societal innovation and conducted interviews with thought leaders, innovators, and change makers worldwide, Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer argue that we need to jettison the old frames and habits of thought left over from the 19th and 20th centuries. Meeting the challenges of this century requires updating our economic logic and operating system.
We must move away from an obsolete “ego-system” awareness that focuses entirely on the well-being of the individual—be it a single person, group, organization, or country—to an eco-system awareness that emphasizes the well-being of the whole. To free ourselves from outmoded ways of perceiving the world, we need the capacity to sense and actualize emerging future possibilities, both individually and collectively. Scharmer and Kaufer here describe a method they call presencing (a combination of the words presence and sensing). It enables the development of institutional innovation and new leadership capacities that enable leaders to connect to the highest future possibility and become part of what brings it about.
Scharmer and Kaufer take readers on a thought-provoking journey filled with real-world examples that will help leaders and change makers transform and renew business, society, and the self. They present a proven program for developing leadership skills that will bring about innovation in all sectors and create an economy that works in more intentional, inclusive, sustainable, and inspired ways.
About the Author
Otto and Katrin live in Arlington, MA
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