Otto Laske is a multidisciplinary consultant, teacher, and scholar in the social sciences.
Laske’s central idea as a consultant is that both organizations and the public sphere depend for their strength and agility on supporting people in their life-long endeavor to construct the real world in ever more realistic ways, by moving away from simplistic emotional and cognitive models of themselves and their “world”, and making them aware of their own psychological profile as a potential barrier against their development as adults.
Grounded in Th. W. Adorno’s, Hegel’s R. Bhaskar’s, and R. Kegan’s, work, the focus of Laske’s empirical and theoretical studies updates Critical Theory through Bhaskar’s Critical Realism, in the direction of agile thinking.
Laske has come a long way. He studied with the founders of Critical Theory (M. Horkheimer and Th. W. Adorno [1955-1966]), as well as with H. Simon, M. Minsky, R. Kegan, E. Jaques, and most recently R. Bhaskar. He is internationally known today as the Founder and Director of the Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM) where since 2000 he has taught a generation of international students – consultants, coaches, and managers – new tools for bringing about culture transformation in organizations an institutions.
As an associate professor of computer science and a consultant, in the 1980s Laske embraced artificial intelligence as a tool for creating collaborative intelligence in teams by building expert systems. In the 1990s, he deepened his knowledge of human functioning in organizations by studying clinical and developmental psychology at Harvard University’s Kohlberg School and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (1992-1999), proceeding to establish the scholarly and pragmatic foundations of evidence-based developmental consulting and coaching by creating CDF, the Constructive Developmental Framework (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructive_developmental_framework).
Through empirical assessment research on individuals’ and teams’ meaning-making, emotional intelligence, and levels of complexity thinking – fed back to clients in deliberately developmental dialog — after 2000 Otto deepened his understanding of how people mature as adults, by delivering high-quality work individually and in teams. He did so by strictly distinguishing between horizontal learning and vertical development, and within the latter between social-emotional meaning-making and cognitive sense-making (dialectical thinking). In following Jaques and Bhaskar, Laske forged cutting-edge tools and practices for establishing and scaffolding agile, open-systems organizations.
Striving to understand technologically driven changes in the nature of work, Laske developed a consulting practice for supporting deliberately developmental organizations (DDOs), teaching in English, Spanish, and German in Europe and South- and North America.