Peter Senge

Co-founder

Peter Senge has been at the forefront of organizational learning since publishing his classic text The Fifth Discipline in 1990, which provided theories and methods to foster aspiration, develop reflective conversation, and understand complexity in service of shaping learning-oriented organization cultures. In 1997, Harvard Business Review named the learning organization as one of “the seminal business ideas of the prior 75 years.”

Throughout his career, Peter has been asking, “how do we create the conditions for people to work together at their best, cultivating the innate systems intelligence that is our birthright but is all but lost in modern culture?”  As an engineer by training, his work has always emphasized tools and methods, not for their own sake but as vehicles for building individual and collective capacities. 

Starting with the creation of SoL (the Society of Organizational Learning) in 1997, he has focused on developing learning communities within and especially among organizations, as a way to bring about deep change that individual organizations are unable to achieve working alone.  This resulted in the SoL Sustainability Consortium in 1998, pioneer businesses who saw social and ecological imbalances shaping the future, the Sustainable Food Lab in 2002, many of the world’s largest food companies and NGOs working together to make sustainable agriculture the mainstream system, and numerous learning communities in primary and secondary education, leading up to the present global Compassionate Systems community.

For this work Peter was named by the Journal of Business Strategy as one of the 24 people who had the greatest influence on business strategy in the 20th century.  In addition to being the founding chairperson of SoL, he is co-founder of The Academy for Systems Change and a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT, based at The Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) and focused on systems leadership in education.

Peter graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in engineering. He holds an M.S. in social systems modeling and a Ph.D. in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management. His publications include The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (1990), The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (1994), The Dance of Change (1999), Schools that Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares about Education (2000, 2010), Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future (2004, 2008),  and The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World (2008).

diane@systemsawareness.org