The Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), is a not-for-profit, intentional learning community “devoted to the interdependent development of people and their institutions in service of inspired performance and meaningful results. SoL serves as a space in which individuals and institutions can create together that which they cannot create alone.” SoL is composed of organizations, individuals and local communities around the world.
In August 2005, Doubleday released a new edition of Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society in which SoL’s founding chairman and organizational pioneer Peter Senge and his colleagues outline a comprehensive theory of change and transformation.
From the SoL’s website:
Presence is an intimate look at the development of a new theory about change and learning. In wide-ranging conversations held over a year and a half, organizational learning pioneers Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers explored the nature of transformational change—how it arises, and the fresh possibilities it offers a world dangerously out of balance. The book introduces the idea of “presence”— a concept borrowed from the natural world that the whole is entirely present in any of its parts—to the worlds of business, education, government, and leadership. Too often, the authors found, we remain stuck in old patterns of seeing and acting. By encouraging deeper levels of learning, we create an awareness of the larger whole, leading to actions that can help to shape its evolution and our future.
Drawing on the wisdom and experience of 150 scientists, social leaders, and entrepreneurs, including Brian Arthur, Rupert Sheldrake, Buckminster Fuller, Lao Tzu, and Carl Jung, Presence is both revolutionary in its exploration and hopeful in its message. This astonishing and completely original work goes on to define the capabilities that underlie our ability to see, sense, and realize new possibilities—in ourselves, in our institutions and organizations, and in society itself.
As 'The Information Age' continues to develop, our species will be faced with some invaluable opportunities to explore and design more adaptive understandings, collaborations and practices. It is the responsibility of every conscious agent to embrace these opportunities and extend our compassion to family, friends, community and the world.
We would love to hear your ‘story’. What resources have you discovered or built in your efforts to affect change? Is there a specific tradition or methodology you think can make a real positive difference? Let us know!
[see also: Business As a Human Community - An Interview with Peter Senge]