These days, most learning methods focus on reflecting on issues that played out in the past. However, management teams in the business world, the government and in civil society are being confronted with a new category of challenge. Reflecting on the past does not offer enough answers. New solutions will have to arise from anticipating the future.
Is this a fairy tale? No, actually, it isn't. Where can I learn to 'anticipate the future?' For this, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, in the United States, created a successful course called U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society and Self. The objective of this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is to provide change makers with the necessary tools and to give them a sense of empowerment. Via U.Lab MIT Professor Otto Scharmer presented his ground-breaking method for leading deep innovation, based on his book Theory U. Leading from the Future as it Emerges.
'Some people are enthusiastic and will thank you. But there was another type of reaction, one where people virtually become silent. These were the people who were moved deeply, beyond words, and it was really touching to see that. This went beyond being excited and enthusiastic, it was about a deeper level of awareness or a deeper way of being present with yourself and who you really are. That was what touched them and inspired them. It was in their eyes, even though they were unable to find the words. That moved me and the fact that at the end people said: ‘it can’t be over already!'
Otto Scharmer, Senior Lecturer, MIT, and Founding Chair, Presencing Institute, on U.Lab 1.0
In January and February of this year, the pilot, U.Lab 1.0, ran. With 28,000 participants from 190 countries it was really popular. Reason enough for a follow-up: on 10 September this year, U.Lab 2.0 is will start. Not just a continuance but also an upgrade: in 2.0 the tools for deep change have been expanded, with stakeholder interviews for example. But the most effective method in U.Lab for shifting from concept and to practice is the coaching circles. A coaching circle is a group of five participants who meet, virtually or otherwise, on a weekly basis, on the one hand to practice the learned leadership skills and on the other to support each other in developing new ways of thinking about and dealing with current leadership challenges.
Has your interest in U.Lab been triggered? Sign up via www.edx.org!
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