A digital monument challenges those who are confronted with it to provide their own personal response to a question that defines the cultural identity of the community that values that monument. A big dilemma that stimulates the start-up of a process of individual change in the direction considered correct and rewarding by the community. Often this question emerges from an individual need or intuition and takes shape within a small circle of people. The first phase of the Art of Crowddreaming method facilitates the definition of such dilemma, using the tools of Theory U by MIT Presencing Institute. Theory U's principles are very well described by their own words.
The Presencing Institute was founded in 2006 by MIT Sloan School of Management Senior Lecturer Eight Scharmers and colleagues to create an action research platform at the intersection of science, consciousness, and profound social change.
The U: One Process, Five Movements As the diagram illustrates, we move down one side of the U (connecting to the world that is our institutional bubble) to the bottom of the U (connecting to the world that emerges from within) and up the other side of the U (bringing forth the new into the world). On that journey, at the bottom of the U, is an inner gate that requires us to drop everything that is not essential. This process of letting-go (of our old self and self) and letting-as (our highest future possibility: our Self) establishes a subtle connection to a deeper source of knowing. The essence of presencing is that these two selves — our current self and our best future. Once a group crosses this subtle threshold, nothing remains the same. Individuals and members of the group begin to operate with heightened level of energy and sense of future possibility. Of which they begin to function as an intentional vehicle for future emerging markets. Seven Leadership Capacities The journey through the U develops seven essential leadership capacities. 1. Holding the Space of Listening The foundational capacity of the U is listening. Listening to others. Listening to oneself. And listening to what emerges from the collective. Effective listening requires the creation of open space in which others can contribute to the whole. 2. Observing The capacity to suspend the "voice of judgment" is key to moving from projection to focused and peripheral observation. 3. Sensing Seeing the system from the edges. The preparation for the experience at the bottom of the U requires the tuning of three inner instruments: the open mind, the open heart, and the open will. This opening process is an active “sensing” together as a group. While an open heart allows us to see a situation from the current whole, the open will enables us to begin to sense from the whole that is wanting to emerge. 4. Presencing The capacity to connect to the deepest sources of self—to go to the inner place of stillness where knowing comes to surface. 5. Crystallizing When a small group of change makers commits itself to shared purpose, the power of their intention creates an energy field that attracts people, opportunities, and resources that make things happen. This core group and its container functions as a vehicle for the whole to manifest. 6. Prototyping Moving down the left side of the road; moving up the right side requires integration of thinking, feeling, and in the context of practical applications and learning by doing. 7. Co-Evolving A prominent violinist once said that he couldn’t simply play his violin in Chartres cathedral; he had to “play” the entire space, what he called the “macro violin,” in order to do justice to both the space and the music. Likewise, organizations need to perform at this macro level: they need to convene the right sets of players in order to help them to co-sensing and co-create at the scale of the whole.
As it emerges from the description that the Presencing Institute provides of itself and of Theory U, although based on universal principles, the language adopted betrays its origins in the business sector of research and it can be difficult, when brought to the world of school and above all to very young students. The Art of Crowddreaming proceeds to simplify and to hide this language into the process of co-creating a blockbuster story. Among the many tools in the Theory U toolbox, the coaching circles are the most immediately adaptable to school and youth reality in general. Their highly structured context makes it easy to offer them to children and teachers