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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Breaking the Cycle

The 52nd St. Gallen Symposium and the New Generational Contract

The St. Gallen Symposium has always been about intergenerational dialogue. However, naturally with intergenerational relations come expectations that different age-groups have of each other. With that we realised that things have not been working out they way that they should have and maybe it was time to define a new generational contract.” stated Maximilian Pefestorff, member of the International Student’s Council.

“The St. Gallen Symposium has always been about intergenerational dialogue. However, naturally with intergenerational relations come expectations that different age-groups have of each other. With that we realised that things have not been working out they way that they should have and maybe it was time to define a new generational contract.”

Maximilian Pefestorff, Member of the 52nd International Student’s Committee

The main theme of the 52nd St. Gallen Symposium deals with the concept of “a new generational contract”. Back in 2022 for the 50th anniversary of “The Limits to Growth” study, which was presented at the 3rd St. Gallen Symposium in 1972, the St. Gallen Symposium and the Club of Rome united again and launched the joint initiative of a new generational contract, which fosters cross-generational dialogue and encourage actions that put intergenerational fairness at the centre of today’s decision-making across all sectors (business, policy, economy, education, etc.) in order to tackle pressing issues of today.

Last year’s St. Gallen Symposium gave the mandate to take a year and develop a new generational contract. The project started with quantitative and qualitative global surveys that the St. Gallen Symposium and the Club of Rome conducted to collect voices, concerns, and perspectives from different generations. Also, a lot of research, papers and more than 1000 student essays were collected via the St. Gallen Symposium’s essay competition to gain important insights. The results were all synthesised and used to come up with seven interrelated principles (responsibility, care, voice, regeneration, openness, foresight and hindsight, and collaboration) of a new generational contract which helped to outline the idea of intergenerational relationships and commitment. Different workshops and projects were launched such as the Young Leaders on Board project, the International Skills Share Series, which emphasises systems-thinking or the Global Ranking of Intergenerational Fairness the Next-Gen Value Creation Barometer. Those are specific projects that try to put the new generational contract or at least the principles into practice.

This year’s Symposium is an invitation for others to think of projects that relate to the principles of the new generational contract. Further, it aims to bring this way of intergenerational thinking into other sectors. It is an open initiative that encourages others to collaborate, come on board, criticise, and bring in their own perspective.

Currently the world faces numerous long-term challenges that will severely impact future generations. The most urgent example of such a challenge is the climate crisis with its damaging consequences. However, there is a big challenge of being stuck in a permanent crisis mode due to events such as the Corona pandemic, the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and all the turmoil that came with it, which postpones deep and lasting long-term transformation because short-term crisis management takes precedence. This leads to a vicious cycle because changes which are urgently needed for the long-term are not prioritised and short-term crisis-management will only kick-off the next crisis which will create a negative legacy for coming generations.

Already in 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development in a way that focuses on intergenerational solidarity: “development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own need.” The definition emphasises the need for intergenerational relations and values such as mutual responsibility between generations. That is exactly the point where the concept of a new generational contract ties in because it emphasises intergenerational fairness when making decisions.

The “Limits to Growth” study in 1972 by the Club of Rome is a perfect example for the fact that knowledge usually doesn’t lead to early pre-emptive action. Intergenerational relations and the generational contract could potentially be a driver for motivation for an increased focus on long-term thinking. Usually, the future and respective concepts concerning the future such as sustainability are very abstract concepts which lead to a tendency to overlook or even forget long-term implications. However, future generations such as own future children or grandchildren give those abstract concepts a face. Hence, intergenerational solidarity could be a way of telling the story of sustainability and be a driver among younger and older generations for the motivation to finally focus on long-term transformation, which has been largely disregarded in today’s decision-making.

One has to be mindful of contextual differences and diversity when it comes to looking at generational relations. Maximilian Pefestorff mentioned a few limitations while developing the project such as the impossibility to encompass all the opinions and perspectives that were expressed. The concept of the new generational contract also links to the concept of a social contract which is a western philosophical idea in a way how society is tied together by mutual responsibilities.

When considering putting the new generational contract and its principles into action further limitations are evident: “[…] one must be mindful that it is an idea a vision, in the end it is not a contract in the legally binding sense. The extent by which it will be implemented or lived by depends on our ability to advocate and communicate, engage people in dialogue and induce mutual learning processes between generations but we don’t have the ability nor the aim of this being a legally binding concept.”, states Felix Rüdiger. Still the 52nd Symposium is supposed to be a sounding board for the new generational contract and promote it beyond the footstep of the St. Gallen Symposium.

“The responsibility that we not just have for ourselves or our families but for those yet to be born. We owe it to those because our ancestors gave us what we have for free.”

Mamphela Ramphele Co-President of the Club of Rome

“The key takeaway or the key point to remember is that we are one human family. […] The responsibility that we not just have for ourselves or our families but for those yet to be born. We owe it to those because our ancestors gave us what we have for free.”, comments Mamphela Ramphele Co-president of the Club of Rome. The statement summarises quite well what the new generational contract is about – fostering intergenerational relationships and sharing mutual responsibilities between generations. Hence, intergenerational solidarity becomes a means to tackle pressing issues of today.

As an outlook on the future of the project of the new generational contract the St. Gallen Symposium will definitely continue working with it. A long-term initiative with the Club of Rome and other partners has been set up which is larger than one Symposium, especially considering all the projects such as the Young Leaders on Board initiative or the Next-Gen Value creation. The research around the theme will be continued as well as the various projects. As mentioned before the Club of Rome and the Symposium have planned a set of programs to move the concept of a new generational contract beyond the stage of the St. Gallen Symposium. The programs focus on putting the seven interrelated principles into action. The Club of Rome will try to embed those seven principles into the work they’ve already been doing with young people. Further, it is very likely that the topic will stay relevant for the next Symposium whether it be in the form of a session giving updates on the programs or sharing further insights that have been gained. Next year’s Symposium will focus on a new topic, but the St. Gallen Symposium always aims for an intergenerational relevance and focus.

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