U Lab Donostia turns 5 years

29 Jan 2020 | Impact Hub Donostia


U. Lab Donostia turns 5 years

A journey through Theory U

On Thursday, January 23 we celebrate the anniversary of U. Lab Donostia in an event  – We begin by meditating, observing ourselves from the inside, being aware of the present: Opening the heart, mind and will, the basis of the Theory U.

We celebrate five years of traveling through Theory U, a theory of social transformation developed by Otto Scharmer of the Presencing Institute of the MIT.



We cannot think of a better way to start this little trip on the U than from the inside, speaking of the concept of full presence that resides under the name of Theory U and which its creator Otto Scharmer calls presencing:

Presencing is a combination of the words presence and sensing. It is a journey of transformation towards a new way of advancing and changing the world from the collective individual consciousness. The main axis being to open the mind, heart and will, with the intention of operating with the future possibilities that may emerge.

Undoubtedly, talking about presence is the way that brings us closer to the essence of Theory U and U. Lab Donostia. With the aim of traveling together along a path of transformation, Theory U puts tools within the reach of its participants, on the one hand, for going deeper to the problems present in the groups, organizations and in society as a whole and, on the other hand, in the abilities and vocations of each person to solve these questions. All this in a collaborative space and an ecosystem of social entrepreneurship: U. Lab Donostia.

Stories to tell

If something characterizes this methodology, it is the power of collaboration and contributions made from the mind, heart and open will of its members. We think that the best way to celebrate this anniversary is to tell stories born here at U. Lab Donostia:


Elkarrekin Gehiago Gara

Elkarrekin Gehiago Gara is a project promoted by Jone Lorenzo, participant of ULab 2017. Already in 2016, she brought the project of free emotional education for young people, the Akademia, conceived by Borja Vilaseca to Impact Hub Donostia. In 2017, Jone wanted to go one step further and developed this project during her participation in U.Lab.

The first edition of Elkarrekin Gehiago Gara took place during the summer of last year 2019. An intensive 3-week experience during the month of July aimed at 16 young people (8 boys and 8 girls from Gipuzkoa) between 15 and 18 years to enter their Exciting inner self.

The purpose is to invite them to look inside with the incentives of the personal adventure that this entails and awakening ones eagerness for novelty and the desire to live experiences to the limit taking advantage of ones energy and passion. With the ultimate goal of creating different reality in which they draw their own conclusions, letting them feel, be guided by the heart and developing their intuition.



Aitor joined the U.Lab and with the idea in mind to take advantage of gourmet societies to “democratize local and sustainable food.”

His approach is to create neighborhood dining rooms that are organized as groups of prepared food consumption. The goal is to reduce expenses through the efficiency of work, transportation and food purchases, which involves cooking for many people instead of everyone in their home. It also seeks to create the neighborhood community that offers to eat in company.

They are currently working on the communication of the project and appreciate ideas and support, so do not hesitate to contact Aitor.


Schadenfreude theater company

Cristina and Paul met at the U.Lab 2019 and it was there that they connected for their interest in the theater as a transformation tool. Black humor is their favorite language. Moved by this common passion and supported and inspired by the journey and dynamics of the U.Lab 2019, they created a micro-theater play in the three months of the course.

The play is called “Politically Incorrect” and was released in December at La Farandula. Stay tuned for the programming of La Farandula, as there will be more performances by Cristina and Paul in the coming months.


 U.Lab 2X in companies

The U.Lab that has been lived for 5 years now in Impact Hub Donostia, is only the 1X part of the U experience. Since 2018 there is a second part that is titled 2X and is aimed at teams already created with a shared intention.

To that part of the trip Ibon, manager of the Urrezabal electricity company will be added along with 2 other companies in the same sector. Their objective is to co-create the future together of the 3 companies in a participatory manner and from the essence of each participant, in line with the principles of Theory U.


 Beyond Waste and U Theory

Erica Mazerolle of Impact Hub Lausanne inspired us with the Beyond Waste initiative carried out in Impact Hub Lausanne.The objective of this program is to explore the potential of generative awareness to facilitate the co-creation of solutions for the transformation towards the circular economy.

Erica defines co-creation as a generative state in which ideas and actions “emerge completely”, which means that the social field (relationships between people, organizations and institutions) determine the behavior of individuals and the collective.

Each part of the set has a specific function that can only be performed in a beneficial way if done collectively. She underlines the importance of perceptions being in tune with their surroundings.

3D presentation and round table

We innovate the round table concept representing everything that was spoken instantly in a “3D presentation” based on deep listening and co-creating, from an open heart, mind and will. The result described a participant with “colorful and chaotic”. ¿A symbol of our society? Since the questions addressed at the table were the following:

1) What are the deepest systemic forces we ask that we recreate results that nobody wants?

2) From the idea that there is a world that is wanting to emerge, from each of your areas, where and what do you see that is wanting to be born?

3) What is your motivation to be immersed in this change?

We thank our roundtable participants for the interesting discussion, all the ideas and inspirations:

Itziar Calvo Garmendia, Chief of Service of the Citizen Participation Directorate of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa

Ibon Urretavizcaya, Manager of Electricity Urrezabal

Ainhoa ​​Garayar, Professor of Financial Economics at the University of the Country Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

Erica Mazerolle – Sustainable Living Lab Director at Impact Hub Lausanne (Switzerland) and Facilitator of the Beyond Waste Lab


Thank you

An anniversary is always also a place to render thanks:

  •   Thanks to the participation department of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa for co-financing 2 years of the U’s experience. And for joining us at the round table with ideas regarding the transformation of society from the point of view of the institution.
  •   Thanks to Sayuri Alvarado, co-founder of Impact Hub for bringing the U to Donostia and thanks to all the people who facilitated sessions and meetings.


We continue: Towards 5 more years

These are some of the many projects that were created during these 5 years at U. Lab Donostia. Personal transformations, contacts created and projects driven, however, are more difficult to account for, but they always motivate to continue promoting, impacting and co-creating for a better world.

Do you want to bring a U.Lab to your company or do you simply want to know more about this social transformation tool? Get in touch with Verena Hammes.

Do you want to participate in the U.Lab course? Save your Thursday afternoons from September to December 2020 and stay tuned for Impact Hub Donostia communications.

See you soon.

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