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
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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
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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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A country shining bright like a diamond

Botswana’s economic development is a success story built in the 53 years since its independence and founded on diamonds, gold and coal. Bogolo Kenewendo, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, explains that success story and how Botswana deals with the challenge of having built its wealth using non-renewable resources.
Once, in an interview, you called yourself a Diamond Baby. What is the story behind this nickname?

I come from a country which is a diamond-mining country. The diamond revenues have been reinvested in people. In my case, I was born in a government hospital, I went to government schools, I was sent to university by the government and now I am employed by the government. That is why I said I was a ‘Diamond Baby.’ All of this was made possible by diamond revenues.

Botswana went from one of the poorest countries in Africa to a prosperous state. How was that achieved?

Through prudent management of resources and through negotiating the right model of using diamonds. We have a 50-50 partnership with [international diamond company] De Beers, in order to ensure that the ownership of diamonds is not just foreign, but is also shared with Botswana. Prosperity was further achieved by setting up the right legislative institutions, which allowed the economy to do well by working on governance, working on democracy and working on corruption.

What does good governance mean in the case of Botswana?

Good governance is a traditional and cultural aspect of who we are. Even before colonisation or independence, we had institutions called “Kgotla”: The Kgotla system is where people met and they made collective decisions as a community. I believe that is where our good governance comes from. It’s about inclusivity and ensuring that all voices are consulted and they are heard by the time we make a decision.

So adapting a post-colonial approach would translate into Botswana relying on its own, internal resources – rather than on foreign capital?

Yes. Being self-reliant, but also knowing when to ask for help.

When did Botswana ask for capital from outside?

Well, from the get-go. From independence. I do not know if you’ve heard the story: At some point, our government was only left with GBP 12 and they had to share salaries because there was not enough money. I think from that point on, we asked for foreign capital to come in, to help us invest, develop our industry and to make Botswana what it is today.

What is Botswana’s capital situation today?

It is interesting that you ask that question. We did a report a few years ago concluding that we are very rich in human capital, thanks to the reinvestment of diamond capital in education. About 20 to 25 percent of our government revenues are spent on education. There is health capital as well, because we invest about 20 percent of our government expenditures on healthcare. And natural capital, of course: It is incredible. We’re talking diamonds, gold, coal – there really is a lot of capital in Botswana. Not to forget the 360 days of sun each year, perfect for solar mining. The tourism is incredible as well, we have managed to conserve and protect our wildlife, we have some of the most untouched wildlife spaces and the largest herd of elephants on the continent.

Bogolo Kenewendo, born in 1987, is the youngest government minister in the history of Botswana. She obtained a Masters in International Economics from the University of Sussex and holds a Bachelor in Economics from the University of Botswana. Kenewendo worked as trade economist in the Ghanaian Ministry of Trade and Industry and was appointed as specially-elected Member of Parliament in 2016. One of her biggest achievements as Member of Parliament was to raise the age of sexual consent from 16 to 18 years. On April 4, 2018, President Mokgweetsi Masisi appointed Kenewendo as Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry.

So would you say the most important capital in Botswana is its natural capital, which can be transformed into financial capital and in turn used to improve other sectors?

The most important capital is human capital. As the ‘hard capital,’ the mineral capital, depletes, the only thing that you are left with is human capital. So we need to ensure that whatever we get from the hard capital we reinvest in order to develop human capital. That has been the growth story of Botswana. We are making a few changes to ensure that it becomes a story for the future as well.

These changes would mean diversifying the economy?

Yes. It is pretty much reliant on the diamond sector, and we want to change that in order to become a knowledge-based economy. We are not just diversifying away from mining, but diversifying even within mining and finding ways to add value and expand into the services and the manufacturing sectors.

How does this vision of diversification look like?

We are working on some industrial upscaling programs, on a special economic zone that is targeting the automobile industry, the light manufacturing side of it. We are offering incentives so that capital can move to Botswana or that capital which is in Botswana can be invested in those special economic zones. We created an International Finance Service Center (IFSC) where we make sure that we attract foreign direct investment — for instance, for the manufacturing industry, the meat- and leather industries as well as the tourism sector. We have a package of incentives including 17% tax cuts.

How connected is Botswana with international capital and investors?

We are very well connected to the rest of the world, and to capital sources. But unfortunately our international capital investors have been focusing mainly on the extractive industries and we are now looking for international capital that focuses on the service sector, because services are all about human capital. We are going around the world, encouraging investors to come to Botswana.

What part do postcolonial approaches take in your work? Not relying on external partners too much, not being exploited, and keeping resources inside the country, for example?

In the diamond sector, we started a process which saw the sale of diamonds happening from Botswana instead of London and that was very important for us. And when it comes to processing many of our raw materials, we want value to be added in Botswana. That is part of our trade negotiations, because value addition creates jobs and economic growth. It creates money domestically. And that is a very important growth story. The foreign direct investment is not necessarily an evil, but it’s important that we have good institutions ensuring that we do not over-borrow and find ourselves in a trap.

Which role does sustainability play in managing capital?

A key role. In the ‘80s, when the government drew up our investment policies, sustainability was right at the heart of it. We invest in human capital, but we also save something to ensure that future generations do not have to start from scratch once the diamonds run out.

What is the capital for purpose in Botswana that you wish for?

Capital for purpose now is capital for our transformation. We are going through a second wave of transformation, the first was from a heavily agricultural economy to a mineral economy. Now we want a transformation from mineral to a knowledge-based economy. And that transformation definitely needs capital associated with it. It needs capital that is not only looking for profit, but is looking to make an impact. Projects we invest in need to be scalable within Botswana and across the continent so that the investment has a bigger purpose.

Moving away from mere growth and having social impact sounds good on paper, but what does that mean in reality?

Capital for our transformation would mean capital in information and communications technology [ICT] investment, because if you compare Botswana to Switzerland, our Internet is not at the same level, and legislative investment in infrastructure in the ICT space is still not the same. The banking sector for ICT is not the same. So there are a lot of opportunities: On the production side, on the education side, on the logistics and management side. The scope for transformation is big and wide.


Diamond revenues made Botswana’s economy boom: While the government once was left with GBP 12, Botswana’s GDP per capita is now USD 7,500. For Kenewendo, good governance means investing these revenues into education and healthcare. Botswana approaches the challenge of diversifying its economy by industrial upscaling programs.

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