10 Break-Out Sessions

  • Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

A Demographic Revolution: Young India Takes Charge (with All India Management Association)
Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, OYO Rooms
Pranjal Sharma (Topic Leader), Economic Analyst, Advisor and Author, India

India is undergoing its economic, technological and demographic transition simultaneously. An old country is becoming youthful and adventurous with the passage of time. Young Indians like OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal are quietly taking charge of Indian ethos by becoming icons of audacious aspirations and tangible proofs of its potential, spawning startups that are becoming most valuable and famous than many legacy companies. How can young revolutionaries find ways to carry the older generation of investors, regulators, workers and consumers with them and what can other economies and founders learn from India’s momentous transition?

Collaborative Advantage Across Generations: Reflecting on the SGS Experience (ISC Alumni)
Former Members of the International Students' Comittee
Christoph Loos (Topic Leader), Chief ­Executive ­Offi­cer, Hilti AG
Vivian Bernet (Topic Leader), Head of the Organising Committe, International Students' Comittee
Watch Here

For over 50 years teams of student have volunteered to organise the St. Gallen Symposium. They have written countless invitations, met thousands of partners, and welcomed some of the most important personalities of their time on stage. Together with former members of the ISC we will reflect on the St. Gallen Symposium experience of cross-generational dialogue and collaboration, the lessons they have learned for their lives and on how the symposium has evolved. This session is organised together with ISC Alumni.

Collective Genius? Cultivating Creativity in the Arts and Beyond
Susan Goldsworthy, Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change, IMD Business School
Gerry Hofstetter, Light Artist & Film Producer Hofstetter Marketing
Javiera Estrada, Artist
Tatjana Rupp (Topic Leader), Member of the International Students' Committee

As the need for innovation is growing, the routinisation of well-structured creative processes within organizations is key for concurrent value creation. Prof. Susan Goldsworthy of IMD, this year's St. Gallen Symposium artist Javiera Estrada and Light Artist Gerry Hofstetter will discuss the role of collaboration in the creative process. Together, and in conversation with the audience, they’ll explore the way collaboration can drive creativity in various organisational contexts, and, on the other hand, the role of introversion and lone contemplation in creating something new.

Connecting Business with Purpose: The Potential of Skills-Based Volunteering
Curdin Duschletta, Head Community Impact Switzerland & Foundations, UBS
Christopher Jarvis, Executive Director, RWInstitute
Prof. Amanda Shantz (Topic Leader), MBA Director and Professor of Management, University of St.Gallen

Many employee volunteering and giving programs are presented as an employee perk, similar to casual Fridays or a team-building event. But treating workplace giving and volunteering this way fails to fully capitalise on the great potential of such programs: to foster employee personal growth, and address key societal challenges. The panel will particularly explore the potential of skills-based volunteering, its benefits, and the unique challenges that arise when moving from merely transactional volunteering to something far more transformative.

Financing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Patrick Zhong, Founding Managing Partner, M31 Capital
Makram Azar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Full Circle Capital
Prof. Julia Binder (Topic Leader), Professor of Sustainable Innovation and Business Transformation, IMD Business School

The investment landscape over the next twenty years will be radically different from previous generations. While there appears to be greater access to capital, there also appears to be much more volatility and debt with no clear dominant financing mechanism. Entrepreneurs, VC, Private Equity, and banks will have to find new ways to work together to create growth and stimulate innovation. How can investors and entrepreneurs better collaborate and find mutually beneficial agreements that balance risk and return?

Hacking the Fashion & Luxury Watchmaking Industry towards more Sustainability (with Condé Nast College)
Martina Bonnier, Editor-In-Chief, Vogue Scandinavia
Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO, Omega S.A
Carmen Jenny, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CLOTHESfriends AG
Johannes Reponen (Topic Leader), Director of Post-Graduate Programmes; Academic Affairs; Research & Knowledge Exchange, Condé Nast College

The fashion industry accounts for 10% of humanity’s annual carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. For long, the fashion and luxury watchmaking industry drove, together with the fashion media industry, unsustainable dynamics in the sector: generating more and more demand through an artificial cycle of new collections and seasonal trends. Businesses’ marketing, media as well as influencers thereby create a constant longing and demand for their products. How can designers, fashion houses and publishers exit this vicious cycle and, collaboratively, drive the transition towards more sustainable and ethical fashion and luxury watchmaking?

M100 Sanssouci Colloquium@St. Gallen: Media’s New Power: More Impact Through Collaborative Journalism
Mathias Müller von Blumencron, Journalist, Member of the Board, Tagesanzeiger and Advisory Board Member M100 Sanssouci Colloquium
Joanna Krawczyk, Chairwoman, Leading European Newspaper Alliance
Paul Radu, Investigative Journalist, Co-Founder OCCRP
Astrid Frohloff (Topic Leader), TV Presenter and Journalist, Advisory Board Member M100 Sanssouci Colloquium

Media diversity, freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Europe are currently under threat. Journalists and independent media companies are increasingly joining forces across borders to respond to such challenges as well as to be able to continue to offer independent quality journalism in the future. This session will identify learnings from new media partnerships such as the Leading European Newspaper Alliance (LENA) and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to identify how media can most effectively work together.

Democratizing Access to the next Generation of Technology and Innovation: Communities and Radical Transformation
Gina Loften, Member of the Board of Trustees, TIAA
Luzius Meisser, Chairman, Bitcoin Suisse
Tycho Onnasch, General Manager, Trust Machines
Shuo Chen (Topic Leader), General Partner, IOVC

Technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key drivers of the modern economy and social mobility. Given their importance, we should strive to improve accessibility to tech, education and entrepreneurship across all backgrounds. Creating open and inclusive communities, especially with tech is important to accomplishing this goal, but it is easier said that done. Simultaneously, a third iteration of the internet – Web3 – has the potential to radically transform the internet of things and reduce barriers to access. How can these forces be effectively harnessed and directed for the benefit of all people and move the world forward?

Varieties of Tech Capitalism: Europe's Approach to Innovation and Regulation in a Global Context
Julian Teicke, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, wefox
Lisa-Marie Fassl, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Female Founders
Christoph Keese (Topic Leader), Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, hy

Over the past decades, the tech sector, especially the internet of things, has become a central component of modern economies. Trying to catch up with the exponential pace of technological development, the US, China, and Europe are crafting rules of the game on digital markets. What are the emerging characteristic differences between regulatory regimes of digital markets, in the US, Europe and beyond, and how do they balance innovation and regulation? In light of strategic competition over tech dominance between the US and China, what are the opportunities and challenges for Europe in particular?

Changed for Good? Engaging with the New World of Work
Petra von Strombeck, Chief Executive Officer, New Work SE
Jean-Christophe Deslarzes, Chair of the Board, Adecco Group
Nat Ware, Founder & CEO Forte
Prof. Heike Bruch (Topic Leader), Director, Institute for Leadership and Human Resources Management, University of St. Gallen
Watch Here

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world of work forever. The fast and widespread adoption of remote work and an ever-increasing concern of employees with purpose and meaning on their job have intensified the war for talents. Reaching out to and concurrently engaging employees is key for businesses across sectors and regions. What learnings can be drawn from the pandemic as regards our approach to work? Has the world of work changed for the better? And what role does leadership culture and a new approach to hiring play going forward?

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9 to watch

Aisha Addo

Founder and CEO of
DriveHER Ride-sharing App

In 2016, Toronto-based entrepreneur Aisha Addo founded DriveHER, a ride-sharing service for women by women. The service provides women with a transportation alternative that’s safe from harassment by male drivers while creating jobs for women.
The idea came after many women shared their experience of being harassed – either verbally or physically – by male cab drivers. “The purpose of the company is not to bash men, it is more about empowering women to take their safety into their own hands and give them a choice,” Addo says.
Before starting the ride-sharing service, Addo – now 28 – founded the Power to Girls Foundation, a non-profit organisation working in the greater Toronto area and in
Ghana. For Addo, being an entrepreneur is not about making a profit. Instead, she focuses on the social impact of her work. “When founding my company,” she says, “I thought of how to make it a social enterprise.” In 2018, her ride-sharing service really took off. DriveHER now has 60 women drivers; about 3,000 customers downloaded
the app and signed up during the beta-phase. — Franziska Andre

Akshay Ruparelia

Founder and Managing Director of

In 2015, five years after his family had to pay thousands of pounds in fees to sell their home, Akshay Ruparelia founded Doorsteps.co.uk, a UK-based online real estate agent. In its early days, he worked during lunch breaks in school and knocked on people’s doors to ask them if they wanted to sell their house.
His hard work paid off. Today, his startup is the tenth largest real estate agent in the UK and is valued at GBP 18 million. In 2018, Akshay was included in the London Power 100, a list of 100 most influential people in London.
Doorsteps’ “unique selling proposition” is its low fees. In an industry where even online estate agents charge at least GBP 800 upfront, Doorsteps charges just GBP 99. Instead of hiring full-time professionals, “mums and dads” across the UK freelance for him. Then, using the Internet, he made it super-easy to list properties. He backed this with responsive customer service – which helped him get positive reviews online — and word-of-mouth. “When the public saw the need for a service, they got behind it,” he says. — Sankalp Khandelwal

Sahar Mansoor

Founder of Bare Necessities

Three years ago, Sahar Mansoor, 27, turned her zero-waste lifestyle into a profitable business. Her company ‘Bare Necessities’ sells recyclable home and personal care
Mansoor, who grew up in India, calls herself an “accidental entrepreneur.” The inspiration for her company came in 2015, when she moved home after studying in the UK. Her sister had just had a baby, and Mansoor was shocked at how much waste is produced when raising a child. “That’s when I decided to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution,” she says.
Sahar began leading a zero-waste life, producing her own soap, shampoo and toothpaste. When people started asking where they could buy the products, she founded ‘Bare Necessities’, a company that balances profit and sustainability by selling environmentally-friendly goods in reusable, recyclable and biodegradable packaging.
The Bangalore-based company now has six employees. “My goal is for less waste to end up in the landfill,” Mansoor says. “That’s my mission.” — Silvia Ellena

Shady M. Qubaty

Co-founder of Adalah

What does capital for purpose look like in post-war Yemen? “Taxes,” Shady M. Qubaty says.
The 22-year old is the first Yemeni undergraduate
admitted to Yale University.
These days, he’s working on a plan for Yemen’s post-war economic recovery. He co-founded Yemen’s first non-aligned, legal non-governmental organisation in 2016. Adalah (“Justice”) works as the official secretariat for the UK parliament on Yemen-related issues.
Qubaty hopes the future brings peace – and prosperity. “As soon as the war ends, that is the beginning of the new Yemen,” says Qubaty. “Economists have predicted that [post-war] Yemen could have the highest GDP growth in the world.”
How can this capital be used for a sustainable future? “Tourism [could be] a huge resource to employ people and generate sustainable income,” Qubaty says.
Another sustainable way for the government to run itself could be raising taxes. “In Yemen, just 5 to 10% of GDP is taxed – a very low amount.” Cutting corruption, too, would free up capital for other purposes. — Julia Neumann

Marie Kitano

Tokyo Medical & Dental University doctor

Tokyo clinician Marie Kitano is the Wonder Woman kids didn’t know they needed. She works as a medical doctor on weekdays, and as a mental health researcher on weekends.
“I study the effects of toxic stress on children,” says Kitano. “It happens when they are under pressure for a long time, and can cause irreversible effects to the brain.” The stress can be induced in many ways, from parental neglect to bullying, natural catastrophes, verbal, physical and sexual violence, and more.
Although stressors can be hard to control, Kitano aims to raise awareness about their consequences. “I want to contribute to research from a medical point of view by measuring the stress and seeing how it affects the brain,” Kitano says.
She shifted her field of interest from developmental disabilities to child abuse a year ago, when she read about a five-yearold in Tokyo who died because of neglect. “When I was her age, I didn’t even have a conception of death,” Kitano says. She decided to make children a priority. “Nobody stands up for them,” she says, “so I had to.” — Laurianne Croteau

Rani Khodija

Founder of AMBIZ

In Indonesia, unemployment for college graduates is a serious issue. Each year, half of the country’s 1.5 million graduates can’t find a job. The obstacle isn’t job skills. “It’s because there isn’t a good match between the employer and the employee,” says Rani Khodija, a 23-year-old Indonesian entrepreneur.
To solve this problem, Khodija co-founded a platform called AMBIZ, meaning ambitious. The idea is that by providing good internships, AMBIZ can help college students find a job after graduating.
Because it is difficult for young but fast-growing companies without name recognition and recruiting budgets to attract graduates, AMBIZ focuses on startups. “At young companies, your contribution really matters,” Khodija says. “Our generation needs flexibility, real projects, and real empowerment. We can provide them with these experiences.”
Meanwhile, Khodija tries to convince companies that training interns is an investment, not an expense. “When you teach them much-needed skills, they will be thankful and loyal to you,” Khodija says. — Hongtao Hao

Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

Founder of Sahara Sparks

Africa is on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and the way its policy-makers embrace technology to develop its industries will determine whether or not it can be a leader, according to Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike.
The young Tanzanian entrepreneur founded his consulting firm, Sahara Ventures, five years ago. After studying in India, one of the world leaders when it comes to start-up incubators, Rajabu Mtambalike noticed the lack of innovation hubs in Tanzania. “I wanted to create a platform that would help to build Tanzania’s innovation ecosystem,” he says. He co-created Sahara Sparks, an event that brings entrepreneurs, investors and policy-makers together in Dar es Salaam and other African cities to discuss innovation.
The event is a chance for start-ups to pitch their businesses and find mentors. Rajabu Mtambalike is convinced Africa is ready for a change – and that the rest of the world has a role to play. “We don’t want aid,” he says. “Don’t consider giving us grants. Instead, let’s discuss what kind of business we can do together.” — Laurianne Croteau

Hannah Safford

Environmental engineer at the University of California, Davis

Partly due to climate change, water resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Relying on existing water supplies is not enough. At some point, we have to find ways to reuse dirty water.
Hannah Safford, a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Davis, is exploring the potential of a technology called flow cytometry to monitor waterborne viruses. “If we’re ever going to achieve widespread recycling of wastewater into drinking water, we need fast and reliable ways to ensure
that treatment processes are working as intended,” Safford says.
The former White House aide sees herself as a bridge linking “the science and the policy-making community.” But, she says, you don’t need an engineering degree to make a difference. Everyone can step up and contribute to a more sustainable environment. “You can show up to your city council meeting and you can provide comments about what issues you care about,” Safford says. “ It’s amazing to me how many opportunities there actually are for people to get involved in policy processes, and how few people take advantage.”— Hongtao Hao

Wladimir Nikoluk

Co-Founder and CEO of ImmerLearn

Wladimir Nikoluk wants a new approach to the use of algorithms in the social sector.
Immerlearn aims to build ethical and transparent data solutions. “Algorithms can cause a lot of damage,” the Ukrainian-born, German-raised entrepreneur says. Improperly implemented, “they create biases against ethnic minorities, biases against religious minorities, biases against genders, and so on.”
Nikoluk’s experience working with victims of the Syrian crisis in Amman, Jordan helped crystallise his thoughts. “People lacked the insights to know which programmesto fund,” he says. He met his future co-founders in Amman and began to work on software solutions.
Multiple insights emerged to help Nikoluk and his colleagues tackle their goals, such as “segmentation,” which considers the needs of distinct groups in different populations and how their services are experienced. Data-based predictive algorithms, meanwhile, calculate the odds of events such as famine and predict who will suffer, in order to prepare for them and mitigate the consequences. — Connor Bilboe

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