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The number of visitors says it all. gamescom, held in Cologne between August 17 and 21, 2016, recorded 345,000 visitors, making it the world’s largest event for computer and video games. WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management has been a partner of gamescom, which is organized by the German Trade Association of Interactive Entertainment Software BIU, since 2015.

Explaining the motivation for this partnership, Dr. Peter Kreutter, Director of the WHU Foundation and Managing Director of the Wipro Center for Business Resilience at WHU, says, “The effects of digitalization and gamification are already reaching into areas like industry, medicine and even the charity sector. Virtual and augmented reality or serious gaming are only a few of the keywords. We wish to provide our students, alumni, friends and donors with access to this exciting growth industry. On the other hand, we also wish to actively help the games industry to further develop using our research and training expertise in the area of general management.”

Dr. Maximilian Schenk, Managing Director of the BIU, welcomes WHU’s commitment, “The significance of gamescom as a 360° event for the future of digital entertainment and the digitalization of our society is constantly growing. With WHU as a leading business school, we have found a partner that understands the dynamics and global dimension of our industry like few others. WHU’s expertise and its outstanding network among businesspeople, alumni and non-profit organizations are a huge enrichment for our work – not just during gamescom.”

For example, at gamescom congress WHU held a panel discussion entitled “Growth in Digital Industries: Leadership, Strategy, Staff Development”, where Marie-Blanche Stössinger from Wooga, as a representative of the games industry, discussed the various opportunities in these areas with Christopher Suff, digitalization specialist at Wipro, and Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director WHU Executive Education.

The “WHU Executives & Kids @ gamescom” event, successfully established in 2015, was expanded at this year’s gamescom and was able to welcome over 90 participants over three days. Together with the foundation Digitale Spielekultur, the WHU Foundation, the Haniel Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation had invited directors and CEOs of foundations and non-profit organizations together with their children to “Foundations @ gamescom”. The aim was to establish gamification and serious gaming for the third sector by turning children into mentors for digital game environments. This was supplemented by discussions and an exchange of views with management representatives from leading games producers. Olaf Coenen and Martin Lorber from Electronic Arts, Ralf Reichert (ESL) and Jan Miczaika (Wooga) accordingly reported on the latest developments and strategies in their respective fields.

The highlight, however, was undoubtedly a meeting with prominent YouTubers LeFloid and two members of PietSmiet, who informed the foundation representatives about their social projects and fund-raising campaigns. Last year, LeFloid together with other YouTubers raised 76,000 euros in the second round of their “Loot for the World” campaign. YouTubers associated with PietSmiet collected in excess of 100,000 euros for charities in twelve hours with their #FriendlyFire charity streaming event.

The next joint event between BIU and WHU is already scheduled to take place on October 27, 2016, in Berlin in the shape of the “WHU Hauptstadt-Dialog”. WHU Executive Education will also be offering a continuing education program entitled Design Thinking on October 26 and 27, 2016, for all those interested in the subject of “Digital Transformation”.

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