Creating Change Starts with ‘Getting Out of One’s Bubble’

Book giveaway!!

20 complimentary copies available.

Leave a comment on this guest post by Dr. C. Otto Scharmer to become eligible to win one of TWENTY complimentary copies of Essentials of Theory U.

(Deadline: 3/24/2018)

*International winners will receive electronic versions.

being amazed is about noticing the world


To initiate change, leaders require collective insight outside of their own reality. Co-sensing is a practice for collecting that insight.

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

  • Virtual bubbles: social media echo chambers;
  • Institutional bubbles: organizational echo chambers; and
  • Affinity bubbles: the kind of people we like to hang out with.

Five principles for successful co-sensing

#1. Build a Committed Core Team.

The core team must reflect the diversity of the key stakeholder groups, to bring the talents and competencies needed, and to make the project their #1 priority.

A checklist to get the core team focused during a kickoff event:

  • What—what you want to create
  • Why—why it matters
  • How—the process that will get you there
  • Who—the roles and responsibilities of all key players involved
  • When and where–the road map forward

#2. Take Learning Journeys to the Places of Most Potential.

A deep-dive journey is designed for participants to access a deeper level of emerging reality to the change they want to make by observing hands-on practices. It incorporates a combination of shadowing, participation, and dialogue.

#3. Observe, Observe, Observe: Suspend Your Voice of Judgment and Connect with Your Sense of Wonder.

Only in the suspension of judgment can we open ourselves to a sense of wonder.

Being amazed is about noticing the world beyond how we view it.

#4. Practice Deep Listening and Dialogue.

When connecting to other people and contexts, open all three “channels” of listening: Listen from what surprises you, from the whole, and from what you sense wants to emerge.

#5. Collective Sense-Making.

Whatever process you use to make sense of the learning journey, pay disciplined attention to all you observe. Paying disciplined attention means that you are intentionally holding back all inclinations to mix in your own interpretations or solutions.

 How might leaders generate and gather collective insight?

Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT and co-founder of the Presencing Institute. He chairs the MIT IDEAS program for cross-sector innovation that helps leaders from business, government, civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system.

His just-published Essentials of Theory U serves as a pocket guide for practitioners that distills all of the research and materials found in Theory U and Leading from the Emerging Future.