WU at Forum Alpbach
Every year in August, the European Forum Alpbach brings together hundreds of experts from the fields of science and academia, business, economics, politics, culture, and civil society to exchange knowledge and ideas. The 2018 Forum was dedicated to the topic “Diversity and Resilience.” Participants discussed to what extent diversity encourages dynamic action, offers more options, and inspires innovation within society.
The contributions of WU’s researchers demonstrated the wide spectrum of research at WU. Topics included renewable resources, society and crisis management, diversity as a motor for innovation, manipulation through “fake news,” business education, different decision-making cultures, and anti-trend banking.
Blockchain technology was a particularly hot topic. With the establishment of its Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics last year, WU has positioned itself as a leading institution in this future-looking field of research. WU experts talked about possible applications for the technology and about the social changes it will bring in two working groups at the Forum.
The WU Crypto-Night offered participants a very comprehensive, up-close approach to the field. At this public evening, researchers introduced the new research institute and reported on current projects. The researchers were also available for one-on-one conversations. For recipients of the Alpbach scholarship, three interactive stations on “Wallets,” “Timestamping,” and “Sustainability” were set up to demonstrate real-life applications for blockchain technology.
Vienna Strategy Forum
Internationally successful managers and WU researchers met at WU on May 24 to exchange ideas and thoughts on strategy. Participants discussed the relationship between transformation and innovation with prominent speakers, including Federal Minister Margarete Schramböck, Kathrin Menges, member of the Henkel board of directors, David Gram, co-founder and partner of Diplomatic Rebels and former innovation director for LEGO, and Marc Jalabert, Microsoft CMO Western Europe. All participants agreed that digitalization has to be the driver behind corporate strategy.
Austrian Supervisory Board Day
Transformation was also a key theme at the 8th Austrian Supervisory Board Day. 250 entrepreneurs, functionaries, members of supervisory boards and boards of directors, and university faculty attended the 2018 event and had the opportunity to build up networks and talk about the new responsibilities faced by supervisory boards in the digital age.
Companies are facing the challenge of having to continuously monitor their own business models and the most important production areas and methods and to amend them where necessary. This means that supervisory boards need to have better digital skills and increased knowledge of strategies and technology to be able to adequately perform their consulting and supervisory functions in companies.
Support for Austrian NGOs
WU’s Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship created the NEXT Award in cooperation with UniCredit Bank Austria and the UniCredit Foundation in the spring of 2018. The program, intended to foster social innovation, supports Austrian social enterprises with the further development of their organization or their founding idea. Twelve finalists were selected for three months of expert coaching, and the three final prize winners – Erdbeerwoche, Nut & Feder, and the DoReMi music school – also received a € 30,000 grant.
Blockchain, A.I., and Big Data: A Corporate Revolution
New technologies are changing the world of business like never before. But what do they really mean and what trends are companies facing? On February 27, WU researchers Axel Polleres and Alfred Taudes met with experts Thomas Kolarik from Erste Bank and Bernhard Bauer from Siemens to discuss these questions. Hosted by the WU Executive Academy, the event entitled “Data Science, AI, Big Data and Blockchain. How the digital transformation affects your business” was attended by many alumni and members of the public. The evening was moderated by the dean of the WU Executive Academy, Barbara Stöttinger.
Vienna Week of Dignity
In early May, prominent representatives of government, civil society, and research came together to talk about the question, “What does ‘dignity’ really mean, and how can I apply it to my daily life?” Participants met at different locations in Vienna to discuss the many different aspects of the term, and on May 3, WU hosted an event focusing on the relationship between dignity and business and economics. Talks by Harald Mahrer, former minister of science and current president of the Austrian Economic Chamber, and Irmgard Griss, politician and former president of the Supreme Court, focused on the topics “Dignity and business and economics” and “Values and dignity.” Following the talks, a distinguished panel of speakers explored the topic “Human dignity and management.”
Panel discussion: Leaders of the 21st Century
Together with WU’s Wohlbefinden@WU occupational health management project and the Potential Project, the WU Executive Academy hosted a panel discussion and keynote talk with Rasmus Hougaard, the founder of the Potential Project, on November 27. As part of the Global Peter Drucker Forum 2018, Hougaard introduced his new book, “The Mind of the Leader,” in Vienna. The event focused mainly on humanity in leadership and on the question of how principles like mindfulness, unselfishness, and compassion can help managers master the challenges of the 21st century. The panel was made up of Friedhelm Boschert (Mindful Solutions), Rasmus Hougaard (Potential Project), Michael Müller-Camen (WU, Institute for Human Resource Management), Helga Pattart-Drexler (WU Executive Academy, Executive Education), and Cornelius Pietzner (Mind and Life Europe, Alterra Impact Finance).