Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Theory-U and Emergent Innovation. Presencing as a method of bringing forth profoundly new knowledge and realities

Peschl, Markus F. and Fundneider, Thomas (2013): Theory-U and Emergent Innovation. Presencing as a method of bringing forth profoundly new knowledge and realities. Published in: In O. Gunnlaugson, C. Baron, and M. Cayer (Eds.), Perspectives on Theory U: Insights from the field, pp. 207–233. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference/IGI Global (2013): pp. 207-233.

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Abstract: One of the big challenges in the field of innovation is to create something radically new and at the same time something that has been “waited for”, although nobody has explicitly known or seen it; something that—despite its perhaps radical newness—appears just in the right time at the right place (“kairos”) and organically fits in the existing environment (be it a market, an organization, a culture, or society). This chapter introduces an alternative approach to innovation and presents both its theoretical foundation and a concrete well-proven innovation process: Emergent Innovation. Besides other concepts from the fields of innovation, cognitive science, and epistemology, this approach is based on C.O.Scharmer’s Theory U. It will be shown that a new kind of “cognition and epistemology of potentiality” is necessary in order to accomplish such processes as “learning from the future” and “listening to the future as it emerges”. It involves a whole new set of cognitive abilities, attitudes and epistemological virtues, such as radical openness, deep observation and understanding skills, reframing, etc. The second part of this chapter presents the Emergent Innovation approach that applies these theoretical concepts in a concrete process design. It is a socio-epistemological innovation technology bringing forth profoundly new knowledge and innovations having the qualities explicated above. The practical concepts, the implications as well as the learnings from and for Theory U will be discussed.

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