Deep Systems


We host labs and customized programs for institutions and businesses to help lead deep system innovation and collaboration in the context of rapidly changing and challenging environments.


The Presencing Institute

The Presencing Institute was founded to develop the theory and practice of systems transformation and to support individuals, organizations and multi-sector groups to bring about change in their own contexts

One vehicle for this work is the u-school for Transformation, a platform and network of partners that supports capacity-building, research, action labs and movement-building for the advancement of awareness-based systems change, addressing the critical social and environmental challenges of our times.

The Presencing Institute also runs other initiatives with institutions, businesses and governments to make the transformations that will allow them to achieve their highest future potential.

PI works with each organization to co-design processes that shift the behaviours and practices within teams and with key stakeholders in order to generate better results.

Over the past two decades, PI has developed Theory U as a change framework and set of methodologies that have been used by thousands of organizations and communities worldwide to address our most pressing global challenges: climate change, food systems, inequality and exclusion, finance, healthcare and education.

For more information, please contact us.

Our Story

The Presencing Institute grew out of the MIT Center for Organizational Learning, which was founded by Peter Senge and colleagues together with a group of global companies in the early 1990s. 

Senge was interested in the behavioral dimension of change: Why can we develop the skills that allow us to analyze the broken systems of our current society, but the practical impact on changing these systems can be almost non-existent?

Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline was based on blending (1) system dynamics, (2) organizational change, and (3) the creative processes. What emerged from this synthesis resulted in the concept for the MIT Learning Center

Theory U

Otto Scharmer began investigating why some tools worked very well in the hands of some practitioners but were ineffective in the hands of others. He conducted 150 interviews with leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators, many of which were conducted with Joseph Jaworski, as well as actively participated in change processes in companies, governments, and communities.

The result of this work is Theory U - a framework for learning, leading, innovating, and profound systems change. It has been fully described in Otto’s book Theory U and in the book Presence that Otto co-authored with Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers. Over a period of 10 years, a network began to grow among change makers who were cultivating presencing and the emerging practice of ‘awareness-based systems change’ as an approach to deep systems innovation and renewal in organizations, society and self.

The Institute

In 2006, the Presencing Institute (PI) was founded as a platform for advancing research and practice on awareness-based systems change, based on Theory U, and as a movement of practitioners apply these tools to bringing about change in the world.

Since its founding, PI has launched several major learning and innovation initiatives (including u-lab, GAIA, SDG Leadership Labs and u-school) and supported major leadership development programs in partnership with Ubuntu Lab (Africa), Asia-Pacific (United in Diversity) and the finance sector (Global Alliance for Banking on Values). PI's publications, journal and blogs contribute to advancing the field of awareness-based systems change.

u-school for Transformation

In order to complement its work with institutions and organizations, the Presencing Institute has also built a platform for capacity building, action research and deep dialogues for global awareness-based systems change, aiming to activate and support a network of places and hubs for taking action for the healing and regeneration of society and self. Learn more about the u-school.

How We Operate

PI is registered as a 501c3 non-profit organization in Massachusetts, USA and as a gGmbH in Berlin, Germany. PI is managed by a small core team, and co-led by a global network of faculty, specialists and partners. For Further information, please contact Janice Spadafore.


Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges

C. Otto Scharmer

2nd Edition, 2016

The Essentials of

Theory U:

Core Principles and Applications

C. Otto Scharmer


Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economics

C. Otto Scharmer and

Katrin Kaufer



An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society

Peter M. Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, andBetty Sue Flowers


Just Money: Mission-Driven Banks and the Future of Finance

Katrin Kaufer and Lilian Steponaitis

2nd Edition, 2021

Learn, Innovate, Transform.

We can help you as a leader, change-maker, team or organization to initiate and sustain transformational change.

Discover Theory U: a change and innovation framework and set of methodologies that have been used by thousands of organizations worldwide.
Find new solutions in an era of unprecedented disruption and potential for transformation.

Building on the work of the MIT Center for Organizational Learning, Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer and others, at the intersection of science, consciousness, and profound social and organizational change