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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An experience that changed my life

Coming from a low-income farming family in northern Peru, I did not know anything about the world. My world was just my farm and my community. Thanks to my parents’ hard work, I went to college with just one objective in my mind: have a career and make money, a lot of money. That is why I studied business and economics, a career that, according to my plan, would help me develop a successful career in the most important national and multinational companies in my country. Embarrassingly, I should admit that, at that time, the only driver in my life was to make money.

In 1999 I applied for my first symposium in St. Gallen and that was the beginning of a change for me. Just being invited to participate in St. Gallen boosted a lot my confidence; for the first time I felt like I was a good student and capable of accomplishing great things. Also, that was the first time that I took a plane and visited another country.

Impressions of the 30th St. Gallen Symposium

If I had to describe the St. Gallen Symposium with one word, I would definitely say: Inspiring. I had never had the opportunity to meet such a diverse group of people; not only in terms of nationalities, but also in terms of knowledge, capacities, and point of views. It was so exciting to hear different stories from my friends from India, China, Nigeria, Argentina, Spain, and Switzerland, among others; and also learn the successful stories from the speakers and lecturers. However, in all this diversity I could find a commonality: Change. We all wanted to change things, to make things better, to improve the lives of our families, our communities, our countries, and the world. Another great lesson I learnt from the symposium is that we are not alone, we are not islands, we are all interconnected, and we always have to think globally. Successes and failures are shared around the world. Poverty in the global south affects economies in the north, industrialization and pollution in the north change weather patterns in the south; again, we are all connected.

Another of the many lessons I got from the symposium is the power of connecting people and learning from each other; once you know something you can change things. I have organized trips for high executives from companies such as Starbucks, Nestle, and Lidl to visit producers of coffee, cocoa, bananas, and other commodities in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. It was an amazing experience for them to learn how difficult and hard it is to grow the food that we have in our tables every day. Thanks to this learning experience, Nespresso (part of the Nestle group) established a pension plan for coffee farmers in Colombia; Lidl is supporting a climate change adaptation program in Peru; and Starbucks is developing a coffee practice program to improve livelihoods of coffee farmers is Central America. On the other hand, I also organize visits of farmers from the global south to Canada and the United States; from this experience they understand that development is not about charity, instead it is all about entrepreneurship, innovation, passion, and hard work.

If attending one symposium changed my view of the future, three symposia made me take one of the most important decisions of my life: to re-orient my career and work for a change, too but not just for me, a change for everybody. After I finished my undergraduate studies I did not apply to work in a big multinational; instead, I applied to a master program in International Development to combine my studies in business and economics with the concepts of sustainable development.

After my participation in the three symposia, I have dedicated my professional career to advocate for sustainable development, business and social responsibility, and ethical sourcing. And I am a strong promoter of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to researchers, to achieve the SDGs by 2030 an investment of US$ 7 trillion will be needed. International aid from governments and multilateral organization will not be enough (as an example, Swiss international aid for 2015 was US$ 3.54 billion); so, more help is absolutely necessary. Governments, NGO’s, multilateral organizations, but also businesses and civil society groups will play a crucial role to achieve the SDGs.

I always remember one lecturer in St. Gallen who said: “Dreams are only dreams if you do not take any action”. That is why I also do advocacy work for ethical sourcing and fair trade. I have advocated for fair practices in public procurement in the European community, and the governments of Canada and the US. Also, I have promoted the application and legislation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Canada, this is the first corporate human rights responsibility initiative to be endorsed by the United Nations.

Impressions of the 32nd St. Gallen Symposium

I really believe that the St. Gallen Symposium changed my life and is helping me to change the lives of others through my work. I am working on different projects on human rights, gender issues, fight against child labour, promotion of social enterprises, etc. I am happy to see companies involved in social responsibility initiatives and I will keep knocking doors to get more companies engaged in this venture. The symposium taught me that there is no better business than helping others to succeed, and that is what I am doing now.

Finally, I have to make a comment about the amazing people I met at the symposium in St. Gallen. People like me with dreams, who struggled in some moments of their lives, but still with a lot of energy to work for a better world. People who inspire me and help me to believe in myself. People who push me to pass from the dreams to the actions. People who I will never forget. And just as an interesting fact, I met three of my best friends in St. Gallen, and now I am the godparent of the son of the student (my dear friend) who hosted me in St. Gallen during the symposium.

The St. Gallen Symposium helped me to find the right path; maybe I do not have a fancy office in a skyscraper (and I do not have any regret for that) but I am happy with what I do. Thanks to all the ISC-Teams, keep up the amazing work you are doing, and keep changing and inspiring lives of many students.

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