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Pioneers of the 21st Century

What is the program about?

This program helps you and your organization to (re)discover what you stand for, how you can keep pace with this seemingly crazy global environment, how you motivate yourself and inspire others to be creative and innovative to discover new markets and opportunities, and how you bring more passion to your life and workplace.


The program is a path towards re-inventing yourself, your team, and your organization. It is tailored to unleash the full potential of individuals and organizations in the light of disruptive change in the political, economic, technological, environmental, and societal spheres.


A fresh look at management concepts

Ever since the financial crisis 2008 we all know that volatility, uncertainty and complexity call for a fresh look at managerial concepts and techniques.


We need bold, agile organizations that drive change, act swiftly, and learn continuously from their experience. We need organizations that use collaboration and collective wisdom to transform themselves into organisms reflecting and serving human needs, be it from a co-worker’s, a  customer’s or business partner’s perspective. We need organizations whose business models are sustainable and in line with the requirements of our environment.


Courageous leadership

On a personal level, we need leaders with the urge of breaking free from the rat race in which they find themselves locked in many organizations. We need leaders who dare to question conventional wisdom and who are courageous to explore new terrain where no organization has been before. We need leaders that are grounded and self-anchored in light of a paradigm shift at the beginning of this century, away from the focus on profit maximization and orientation towards material gains, towards a more integrative and balanced approach that aligns profits with the needs of our planet and people.


The program provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to be a “Pioneer of the 21st Century”.

    • Schedule

      1.    Introduction (3 days)
      November 5 – 7, 2018 (WU Executive Academy)
      Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Kathrin Köster

      2.    Global Strategy and Innovation (2 days)
      December 10 – 11, 2018 (WU Executive Academy)
      Lecturers: Dr. Bernhard Scherzinger, Dr. Thomas Funke

       3.    Co-Creation in Agile Structures (3 days)
      February 2018, dates will be announced
      Lecturers: Univ.Prof. Patrick Kenis (Vienna University of Economics and Business), Lorenz Huber, MAS, Prof. Heike Mensi-Klarbach (Vienna University of Economics and Business)

      4.    Developing Self-Awareness – Be an Effective Leader (2 days)
      Date: March 11 – 12, 2018 (quiet venue close to Vienna)
      Lecturers: Prof. Kathrin Köster

      5.   Driving Turbo Change (2 days)
      April 16 – 17, 2018 (WU Executive Academy)
      Lecturers: Dr. Bernhard Scherzinger, Dr. Thomas Funke

    • Target group

      The program is for leaders from all spheres of society with all levels of managerial experience who are self-responsible, curious, and open-minded, and who strive to shape the 21st century: Corporations, NGOs, Social Businesses, Governmental Organizations.

      This program is not for individuals without managerial experience.

    • TeilnehmerInnenstimmen

      Markus Brunnthaler, Geschäftsführer der Miraplast Kunststoffverarbeitungs GmbH erzählt in einem Interview über seine Erfahrungen im Pioneers Programm.



    • Topics

      Module 1: Grundlagen agiler Führung

      Module 2: Innovation und Strategie

      Module 3: Co-Creation in agilen Strukturen

      Module 4: Inspirierend und transformierend führen

      Module 5: Den “Turbowandel” vorantreiben

    • Learning architecture


      During the modules, teaching usually takes place every day from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm at WU Executive Academy. Module 4 takes place at a quiet venue close to Vienna.

      Pioneers Project

      During the program you will work on your personal business project with coaching from the experts and peer to peer coaching. You will transfer your know-how into business.


      Two coaching sessions are included in the program to promote individual and personal development.

      In line with the non-conventional content, we have chosen an adequate mix of blended learning to ensure the best learning result for the participants. Academic pioneers and experienced early-adopter practitioners combine state-of-the-art academic approaches with hands-on teaching methods:

      1. Face to face / classroom learning
      2.  Community-of-practice based online learning
      3. Project-based learning
      4. Individual personal development (Coaching)
      5. Special events with guest speaker
    • Certificate

      You will receive a university certificate from WU Executive Academy, which certifies your program participation and the details of your course performance.

      Prerequisite for the reception of this certificate is your successful participation. This is defined by your attendance at each of the five modules as well as the completion of your business project. The biggest merit, however, will be what you take away personally and how you develop individually within the course.


Nikolaus Franke

Professor | Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation | WU Vienna | Austria

More information

Thomas Funke

Co-Director, TechQuartier Frankfurt

- Start-ups & Company Formation
- Entrepreneurship & Innovation
- Idea Development & Implementation



Kristin Hanusch-Linser

 Hanusch-Linser Management GmbH | Austria

- Transformation by brand
- Organisationale Achtsamkeit
- Service Design

Prof. Dr. Patrick Kenis

Professor | WU Vienna | Austria

More Information

- Organizational Design
- Networks
- Public Management



Kathrin Köster

Professor | Heilbronn University | Germany

- Transformational leadership
- Awareness-based learning
- Diversity Management



Lorenz Huber

Conductor, Trainer, Business Coach | Austria

- Conducting and leading
- Learning Organization
- Teambuilding

Wolfgang Mayrhofer

Professor | Interdisciplinary Institute of Management and Organizational Behavior | WU Vienna | Austria

More information

- Human resources management
- Teams
- Leadership

Christof Miska

Institute for International Business | WU Vienna | Austria

More Information  

- Responsible Global Leadership
- Ethics &  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
- Organisational development

Heike Mensi-Klarbach

Assistant Professor | WU Vienna | Austria

More Information

- Diversity and Corporate Governance
- Leadership
- Identity

Phillip C. Nell

Professor | Institute of International Business | WU Vienna | Austria

More information

- International Strategic Management
- Strategic problem-solving
- Organisation of multinational companies

Bernhard Scherzinger

Executive Director | Management Results Consulting GmbH | Austria

- Strategic corporate management
- Process and project management
- Corporate structuring




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