Steffen Walz

Steffen is a designer, creative director and explorer of novel types of engagement and intervention, across media, technologies and genres. He holds a PhD in Computer Aided Architectural Design (ETH Zurich), and a Master’s in Cultural Anthropology, Rhetoric and Political Science (University of Tuebingen). Steffen is Adjunct Professor of Design Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology (AU), Fellow at the University of St.Gallen’s Executive School of Management, Technology and Law (CH), and Visiting Professional at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (US). 

Steffen has been traversing academic and industry worlds: from Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) based, theatrical multiplayer performances donning polarized 3D glasses in 1998; to creative direction for German Web 1 agencies and brands’ websites (incl. one where you navigate by playing mini games); to performing satirical download hit song „Angie (Nein, Nein)“ for the German Greens’ electoral campaign in 2004; to having co-founded the first (and still existing) Game Design study program in German speaking countries in 2004, at Zurich University of the Arts; to co-developing a location-based, motion-detecting magical mobile sightseeing game rental service in the UN World Heritage city of Regensburg, Bavaria, powered by Nokia Research, in 2006; to directing the GEElab at RMIT University, an academic games and experimental entertainment R&D laboratory, with projects including the initial prototypes for, the in-vehicle Metaverse/Mixed Reality platform spun out of carmaker Audi, as well as Mission: Schweinehund, an evidence-based and fitness-inducing mobile game for patients suffering from Lifestyle Diseases such as Diabetes Type 2, sponsored by pharma giant, Novartis; to the FutureDeck, a card game to support co-inventing „stories from the future“ and to train entrepreneurship, as applied by Deloitte Digital, Google, Fresenius, Code for Australia and many others, including universities worldwide; to co-editing the book edition, The Gameful World (MIT Press, 2015); to co-designing, an award-winning alternate reality recruitment game for Mercedes-Benz, together with Melbourne-based indie game studio 2pt Interactive (Heavenly Bodies) in 2018.

More recently, and having returned to industry work, again, Steffen has been an Explorer for Volkswagen Group’s digital transformation subsidiary diconium/CARIAD, where he connects the dots between topics such as next-generation mobility-based content, health & wellbeing, and emerging technologies, for clients including Volkswagen Group Innovation, Kodak Alaris and Bosch. 

Steffen co-owns patents in areas as diverse as intelligent mobile first-aid; in-car gaming; and object-recognizing, location-based Augmented Reality; he is a partner at angel impact investment company, Infinite Digital; and provides R&D consultancy to e.g. Dutch anti-disinformation game studio Bad News/Adtac (with clients incl. the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization, and NATO), as well as to RoX Health, Roche Pharma’s digital health & wellbeing start-up incubator based in Berlin. Steffen is the curator of bizplay, an annual congress on the potential of games, play and creative media for business, design and society, now in its 10th year; and, last but not least, the co-founder of the creatables initiative (see, which links game and creative media makers with institutions and organizations to jointly achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.